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16% of Americans have a credit score of below 579. This is the lowest level of the FICO score and is categorized as “very poor”.
A poor credit score can have a serious impact on your personal life and can affect your business negatively as well.
While no one can guarantee that you will hit an exceptional score, there are steps you can take to improve your credit score.
Here are seven tips to raise your credit score quickly.
The very first step to take is to get a copy of your credit card report. This is the only way to know where you stand before you figure out the specific actions to take to make things better.
This is, however, not all you will be doing with your report. Go through it carefully, checking for any error and omissions.
Look for things like a repaid debt that’s been listed as a default or a loan you repaid on time that is not listed.
If you identify any of these issues, move to have them corrected. This action in itself can add a few points to your rating.
You will be surprised at how helpful your creditors can be. Unfortunately, if you never ask, you will never find out.
If you are having trouble making payments, make contact with your credit card issuer and communicate this with them.
Most providers have temporary hardship programs you can take advantage of. The benefit of this is that you can have your repayment amounts reduced until you get back on your feet.
Smaller, more manageable installments mean you can pay a lot more comfortably. This is better than skipping payments and having a creditor send a negative report that sheds a few points off your score.
This is a great way of giving your credit score an immediate boost. This works particularly well if you are just starting out and have little information on your credit rating.
You do this by getting someone with a high credit card limit and an even greater repayment history. Their card issuer sends them a card with your name on it.
Legally, you are not obligated to make payments on any debt accrued on the card. But its usage reflects positively on your credit score.
The key is finding someone with above board transactions. In a sense, you inherit the person’s positive credit history.
However, not all credit card companies report authorized users. Before you get on it, do your research and find out if it will be reported.
It’s not uncommon to fall behind on payments from time to time. However, these small mistakes lower your credit score.
If you are in good standing with your creditors, it does not hurt to request them to delete some of the reported late payments. Financial institutions regularly communicate with Credit Referencing Bureaus, and all it would take is a quick phone call on your behalf.
If the request goes through, then you will have fewer negative reports, which will add some points to your credit rating. Nevertheless, try and restrict your late payments to 30 days. Creditors will not report late dues failing in this time frame.
If your issue is forgetfulness, rather than availability of funds, you can have your banker or employer make direct payments if this facility is available. If not, there are numerous software tools you can use to remind you when your payments are due.
You might be eager to forget about your car loan or student loan debts once you make the final payment.
However, as long as you completed your payments promptly, those records may help your scoring. The same is true for credit card debt.
All you need to do is keep these debts on your record. If they were entirely left out, then provide all the information to the credit Reference Bureau so they can use it to calculate your credit score.
Bad payment histories are deleted with time. However, bankruptcies stay on your report for 10 years and late payments for seven years. You don’t have much leeway with these.
Credit utilization is the amount of credit card balance you have compared to your credit limit.
This is the second largest factor affecting your credit score. The first is your credit repayment history.
The more credit you use on your credit card, the further down your credit rating drops. This trend indicates you are spending a significant portion of your income to repay debt, which makes you likelier to default on payments.
The best credit utilization is 0, which means your credit card limit is untouched. This defeats the purpose of applying for a credit card in the first place.
As a rule of thumb, keep your credit utilization ratio at 30%. This means using less than 30% of the credit limit availed to you. Anything above this can cause your rating to drop.
Under the FICO system, people with the highest scores have a utilization rate of 7%. The lower your utilization, the better.
The average age and number of accounts you have held are an important consideration in evaluating how you handle debt.
This tends to disadvantage people with a limited credit history.
UltraFico and Experian Boost allow people with limited credit histories to puff it up using other information.
Experian requires access to your online banking data and allows Credit Referencing Bureaus to add utility payments to your history.
In the same way, UltraFico allows you to give permissions for savings and checking accounts to be used alongside your report when calculating your credit score.
All in all, while it is possible to raise your credit score quickly, expect a few bumps along the way and allow yourself some time.
At First Financial, we understand that while you work on your credit rating you might still need help from time to time. No matter your credit score, we have a financing solution for you. Contact us today for more information.
Go from bad credit to good credit without beating yourself up
Can there be any joy in monitoring your finances? Your bank balance is disappointing more often than not. Trimming expenses doesn’t bring any joy. Reminders of irresponsibility can be a gut punch.
Still, a different mindset can help you make the changes to put you on the path to good credit.
Begin by forgiving yourself for financial mistakes
The shame and blame we heap upon ourselves for not being where we want to be financially can make our situations worse. It leads us to avoid confronting credit spending, recurring debits from bank accounts, balances on personal loans or car loans, and important conversations with family members.
Shame springs from an idea that the individual has departed from social norms. Start dismissing your shame when you understand that one in three others you’ll meet today also have credit under 601. That’s right—one-third of Americans today have bad credit.
The individual experiencing bad credit has lots of company. And is this all their fault? With aggressive companies relentlessly bombarding us with messages that we deserve their products and that we must keep up with our peers, it’s no wonder we overextend ourselves.
If you can grab your financial issues “by the horns” so to speak, you have made the first
step on the path to success. Some psychologists tell us that, “a willingness to endure discomfort and capitalize on challenge is a trademark among successful, fulfilled individuals.” While it will require a little effort, put a budget in place, inform those who may impact it, stick to it. You’ll quickly find positive feelings about yourself and your financial situation multiplying. As Benjamin Franklin told the framers of our constitution, “Once begun, half done.” Those quill pens got to writing, despite their enormous task.
Gamify Your Savings
Rather than tracking every $3 coffee, focus more on a positive indicator: your savings level. As that rises, set a reward after reaching certain amounts. The reward could be you get to buy a new piece of clothing or 10 shares of SnapChat stock. Set these levels up ahead of time and stick to these commitments. These rewards can offset the sense of loss from avoiding day-to-day overspending.
Take the pressure off when you avoid social media
First and foremost, understand that social media is simply carefully selected snippets of your friends’ and family members lives. What they choose to share is designed to elicit envy. Those of us here at First Financial are constantly surprised at friends’ life-is-so-great posts and how these compare to what we know are their real struggles.
What’s more, when you focus on others, you remove your attention from your own issues. If you have bad credit, all your attention needs paid to your spending and savings plans.
Let the social world turn without you when you use a religious tradition, mindfulness, meditation or good old smart reading to understand how pointless it is to compare yourself to friends, relatives.
Deepen Your Relationships when You Lay It All Out for Loved Ones
Serious conversations with loved ones can be intimidating, particularly when they’re about money. Strategize how to take the sting out of belt-tightening before you tackle it with those you love. In other words, have alternate plans to take the place of lavish habits so that your new financial regimen doesn’t translate as 100 percent loss.
First, explain how it’s important now to join forces for common goals and how these efforts will unite you. Emphasize that working together for financial fitness by cooking meals together, going to resale and thrift shops and competing for better money saving strategies will get you talking and sharing more. Also, make sure you include your family members’ long- and short-term goals in your planning. Study after study reveals that children and spouses prefer experiences and time spent together over material goods anyway. Shared experiences just connect us better and for longer than shared material consumption. Use that research if you have to!
Your new financial fitness system may benefit from gratitude journals. Everyone should jot down at least one thing they’re grateful for every day. Sharing is optional, but when these grateful moments that include others are shared, it strengthens bonds. These journals, particularly effective when an individual is feeling particularly short-changed, have proven to increase happiness significantly.
Prepaid debit cards can help cardholders to control overspending. Prepaid Credit Cards Prepaid credit cards allow you the convenience of using plastic with the security of prepaid funds. Prepaid credit cards are most advisable for people who do not want to take the risks of unwanted bills at every month’s end. Prepaid Credit / Debit Cards Apply for one of these cards to get the convenience of a charge card that you can reload whenever you like. Prepaid credit cards are popular among those who suffer from high debts. Prepaid cards with low rates and flexible rewards without all the fees. Prepaid credit cards are in essence no more than debit cards.
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