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5 Steps Towards Healthy Credit

Smiling African American woman shopping online with credit card and laptop

Credit Tips from your Credit Union and TransUnion

5 Steps Towards Healthy Credit:

  1. Pay your bills on time every month. Late payments, collections, and bankruptcies have the greatest negative effect on your credit scores.
  2. Check your credit reports regularly and remove inaccuracies. Visit annualcreditreport.com to obtain a free copy of your credit report. If you find an inaccuracy on your report, contact the creditor or the credit reporting agency to correct it immediately.
  3. Manage your debts. The amount of your overall debt and number of active credit lines will be taken into account when determining your score, so keep your credit card balances below 35% of your available credit limits. 

    credit card

  4. Give yourself time. Time is one of the most significant factors that can build healthy credit. Establish a long history of paying your bills on time and using credit responsibly. Your credit score takes your entire history into account, so if you have chronically paid bills late, you will need to change your habits over a period of time to see a significant change in your credit score. Paying on time and keeping low balances on revolving lines of credit will help your credit standing. Beware of credit repair agencies; a quick and easy credit fix is more than likely too good to be true.
  5. Avoid excessive inquiries. A large number of inquiries occurring over a short period of time may be interpreted as an indicator that you are overextending yourself by taking on more debt than you can easily repay.

Visit www.truecredit.com for more information on managing your scores.

Tips for repairing your credit:

  1. If you have to make a late payment, contact your creditor. Stay in touch with them to work out a payment plan and let them know what you plan to do.
  2. If you have outstanding collections, start by paying the collection item of the largest amount first and work your way down to the smaller amounts. The largest collections have a bigger impact on how your credit report is scored.
  3. If you have a bankruptcy in your credit history, begin building credit again by starting with a small secured credit card.
  4. If you need to use a credit counseling agency to get started on a debt-management plan, be sure to do your research and choose the right agency for you. Avoid agencies that use aggressive marketing techniques to get clients; consider getting recommendations from friends and family. Find an agency that will customize counseling and action plans for your situation with your goals in mind. Make sure that your counselor fully discloses any fees, creditor concessions, length of the debt-management plan, and possible impact on your credit report.
    For more information, visit www.nfcc.org (National Foundation for Credit Counseling) or aiccca.org (Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies) for more information.

Hopefully these tips can help you achieve healthy credit. If you ever have any questions, we are here to help!

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