Jennifer Wallis is a certified consumer credit counselor and the Vice President of Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Central Oklahoma. To learn more about Consumer Credit Counseling Services of Central Oklahoma, visit www.cccsok.org or contact Jennifer Wallis at (405) 789-2227.
According to the Fair Isaac Corporation, 58 percent of Americans have credit scores above 700, which is considered a really good score. If you are among the other 42 percent, it may feel like you will always be stuck with a lower score. Fortunately, credit scores are just a snapshot of your credit at one point in time and can change frequently. In just a few short months, you could notice a big increase in your credit score if you work to improve it. Bad credit is not a life sentence.
Poor credit and the resulting low credit score may mean that you can’t borrow money from traditional lenders like banks and credit unions. If you are able to borrow money at all, you may have to pay increased interest rates and higher overall prices. Because of this, studies have shown that people with poor credit can pay $250,000 more over their lifetime more than people with good credit.
A credit history that reflects late payments, collection accounts, judgments, and liens may feel like it will haunt you forever. The good news is that there are things you can do to begin improving your credit and reducing your debt right now. With a better credit score, you will have more options if you need to borrow money for a car or home loan in the future. You will also be able to qualify for lower interest rates. Here are some ways to begin today improving your credit:
- Get a free copy of your credit report: the only truly free report is at www.annualcreditreport.com. Review it to know exactly what it says. Dispute any incorrect information.
- Pay bills on-time: Your payment history makes up the largest portion of your credit history. If you are behind on loans or credit cards, do your best to bring them current.
- Pay off collection accounts and old debt: Start with the smallest ones. Make payments on the others.
- Stay out of debt: If you have credit cards, charge small amount to boost your score. Pay them off each month.
- Attend Bootcamp: Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Central Oklahoma and Tinker Federal Credit Union team up to offer Fiscally Fit Bootcamp three times per year. This six-week course will teach you everything you need to know about whipping your wallet into shape www.fiscallyfitbootcamp.net for more info.
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