credit report http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/68/all en-US 9 Money Moves to Make the Moment Your Credit Cards Are Paid Off http://www.wisebread.com/9-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-your-credit-cards-are-paid-off <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-your-credit-cards-are-paid-off" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_happy_credit_card_000089299163.jpg" alt="Woman making money moves after credit cards are paid off" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It may have taken years. It may have required an unprecedented level of discipline and patience. But you finally have your credit cards paid off.</p> <p>Congratulations! Now, what do you do?</p> <p>With a good chunk of your high-interest debt no longer weighing you down, you can truly start to work your way toward financial freedom. Here are some key financial moves you can make immediately.</p> <h2>1. Tackle Any Other High-Interest Debt</h2> <p>Okay, so you crushed the credit card debt. What else do you owe? Take a look at things like auto loans, student loans, and your mortgage, and begin chipping away at that debt, as well. Go after the debt with the highest interest rate first. It's one thing to free of credit card debt, but to be totally, 100% debt free? That's an amazing feeling.</p> <h2>2. Assess Your Emergency Fund</h2> <p>When you're in debt, there's a good chance you don't have a lot of liquid savings. But now that those credit cards are paid off, you can start building up funds in case of a major unexpected expense or loss of income. By maintaining an account with at least three months of income, you can handle any financial crisis and know that you won't go back into debt.</p> <h2>3. Open a Retirement Account</h2> <p>It's impossible to think about retirement when you're huddled under a mountain of debt. But now that you've shed that high interest debt, you can start thinking about your long-term financial goals, including your retirement. If your employer offers a 401K plan, begin contributing now and seek to maximize the company match. (Usually, this is somewhere in the neighborhood of 5% of your income, though you can always contribute more.) Also consider opening an individual retirement account, or IRA. Opening a Roth IRA, which allows your money to grow tax free, is perfect for people who are self-employed, but is also a great complement to a 401K.</p> <h2>4. Find a Good Online Budgeting Tool</h2> <p>If you haven't already done so, consider using a service such as Mint or <a href="http://track.flexlinks.com/a.ashx?foid=1029882.216060&amp;fot=9999&amp;foc=1&amp;foc2=582907">Personal Capital</a>, which allows you to view all of your account information in one place and track your spending &mdash; even set up budgets and goals. Using one of these services will allow you to see exactly where your money is going, so you can adjust your spending, if needed.</p> <h2>5. Stop Using Your Cards for a While (But Don't Close Them)</h2> <p>Credit cards got you into trouble, so it might be good to just put them on ice for a while. But don't start canceling all your cards. If you close credit cards, you may actually hurt your credit score. You'll no longer have accounts with a long history, and your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-one-ratio-is-the-key-to-a-good-credit-score">credit utilization ratio</a> will go up because you'll have less available credit. If you feel the need to get rid of cards, shed the one with the lowest credit limit. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=seealso&amp;utm_campaign=cc_article">Best 0% Balance Transfer Credit Cards</a>)</p> <h2>6. Develop a New Charging Philosophy</h2> <p>If you successfully transitioned from carrying a credit card balance to being debt-free, you probably made an adjustment to how you use your cards. Now it's time to evaluate again how you use credit to ensure you stay out of the red. Do some research to find credit cards with favorable interest rates (and maybe even some good <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=cc_article">cash back rewards</a>). Set up automatic transfers to pay off balances in full each month, and come up with rules to guide which purchases will be made with credit and which will be made with cash. It takes discipline to get out of debt, but it's just as much work to stay out. So set up a plan and do your best to stick to it.</p> <h2>7. Begin Saving for Big, Important Things</h2> <p>You may be out of debt, but you know that it could come right back if you don't save responsibly for the big ticket items. Whether it's a new house, car, or home appliance, it's best to try and pay for these things without taking on a lot of new debt. Consider taking whatever you were paying in credit card interest and setting it aside into a savings account, or even an index fund. Being able to pay cash for the pricey purchases will keep you from falling into the abyss of debt again.</p> <h2>8. Review Your Credit Reports</h2> <p>Looking at your credit report can be depressing when you're in debt. Who needs another reminder of how much they owe? But now that the debt is gone, it might be a good time to examine your credit reports to see if there are any errors, or even old debts you may have forgotten about. Your goal now is to improve your FICO credit score, and cleaning up your reports can play a big role in that. Each of the three major credit bureaus (TransUnion, Experian, Equifax) provide a copy of your credit report once a year at no charge.</p> <h2>9. If You Have a Mortgage, Think About Refinancing</h2> <p>Your credit score may not improve right away after paying off your credit card debt, but if you keep yourself debt-free, it will rise over time. And that means that you'll be in a better position to negotiate with lenders for a better interest rate on your home loan. Mortgage rates are still historically low, so you might save thousands of dollars over the long-term by reducing your rate even slightly. And you could have enormous savings by reducing your loan term, as well.</p> <p><em>Have you paid off your credit card debt? What money moves did you make?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-your-credit-cards-are-paid-off">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-get-a-promotion">8 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Get a Promotion</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-why-you-shouldnt-freak-out-if-you-miss-a-payment-due-date">Here&#039;s Why You Shouldn&#039;t Freak Out If You Miss a Payment Due Date</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-financial-decisions-youll-never-regret">8 Financial Decisions You&#039;ll Never Regret</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-things-you-dont-know-about-your-credit-report-but-should">13 Things You Don&#039;t Know About Your Credit Report — But Should</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-your-credit-score-affects-your-job-search">Here&#039;s How Your Credit Score Affects Your Job Search</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance credit report credit score emergency fund high interest debt refinancing retirement saving money Wed, 11 May 2016 10:30:05 +0000 Tim Lemke 1705411 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Times You Must Freeze Your Credit Report http://www.wisebread.com/5-times-you-must-freeze-your-credit-report <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-times-you-must-freeze-your-credit-report" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_identity_theft_000023163541.jpg" alt="Man learning when to freeze his credit report" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>No one should have access to your credit report without your consent. A security freeze can help prevent a credit reporting company from releasing your credit report, which prevents new creditors and third parties from being able to view your report and score. Consider the following circumstances in which freezing your credit report might be appropriate.</p> <h2>1. You're a Victim of Identity Theft</h2> <p>If you believe you have been a victim of identity theft or that someone is making charges to your accounts without your consent, then it's time to place a freeze on your credit report. In fact, depending on your state security freeze law, you may even be eligible for free security freeze services.</p> <p>On average, victims of identity theft need to spend about 40 hours to clean up their credit once a thief has opened an account in their name. With the security freeze in place, you won't have to worry about that, because it prevents new accounts from being opened. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-comprehensive-guide-to-identity-theft-everything-you-need-to-know?ref=seealso">The Comprehensive Guide to Identity Theft: Everything You Need to Know</a>)</p> <p>Keep in mind that placing a freeze on your credit file only prevents a fraudster from opening new accounts in your name. It doesn't prevent them from accessing any of your existing credit cards. While new creditors will not be able to access your account, it's important to remember that businesses that you already have an existing relationship with can still access your credit history.</p> <h2>2. You've Been Subjected to a Security Breach</h2> <p>Even if you aren't currently a victim of identity theft, but are concerned that your information may be released to people or companies without your consent, you can block access to your credit report with a freeze. If you have reason to believe that you may soon be a victim of identity theft, then a freeze may be the right preemptive step to ensure you don't have big problems in the near future. For instance, if your wallet or mail were stolen, or your social security number was part of a security breach, then placing a security freeze on your file will prevent a thief from using your information.</p> <p>If only your credit or debit card information has been stolen, a security freeze is not necessarily vital. In these cases, you may be better off simply requesting credit monitoring services, placing a fraud alert, or freezing those particular cards so that no one can use them.</p> <h2>3. You Don't Need Credit Right Now</h2> <p>If you believe you won't need to apply for credit anytime in the near future, and want to gain maximum control of your credit score, a security freeze may be appropriate for you. The advantages of a credit freeze increase with age because as people get older, they generally don't need credit as much. Therefore, placing a freeze on your account will just ensure that nobody else can apply for credit in your name, either.</p> <h2>4. You're Going Through a Messy Divorce</h2> <p>Many people involved in messy divorces place a freeze on their credit. This ensures that your spouse is not able to open any new accounts with your identity, as they will likely have all of your personal information.</p> <h2>5. You're Protecting Your Child's Credit</h2> <p>Have you ever received credit card offers in the mail for your children? You may consider placing a protected credit freeze on <em>their </em>file to prevent any fraudulent accounts from being opened in their name. A protected consumer freeze can be requested by the parent or legal guardian of a minor or medically incapacitated consumer.</p> <h2>How to Place a Security Freeze on Your Credit File</h2> <p>You can place a freeze on your credit files at each of the three major credit reporting agencies, <a href="https://www.freeze.equifax.com/Freeze/jsp/SFF_PersonalIDInfo.jsp">Equifax</a>, <a href="https://www.experian.com/freeze/center.html">Experian</a>, and <a href="https://freeze.transunion.com/sf/securityFreeze/landingPage.jsp">TransUnion</a>. You can follow a simple online process, request the freeze by phone, or submit your request in writing. Keep in mind that you will need to follow this process for all three credit bureaus. At minimum, you will need to supply your name, address, social security number, date of birth, and other basic personal information.</p> <p>Once the freeze has been placed on your account, your credit report will be inaccessible unless you provide specific authorization with a password or 10-digit personal identification number (PIN). The freeze will remain on your credit file until you request that it be removed.</p> <h3>The Costs Involved</h3> <p>In most cases, it will cost $2&ndash;$15 per person, per bureau to freeze your credit report. However, the fees will vary by state and scenario. For instance, some states won't charge people over age 62 or under age 19, so you should refer to your state's data.</p> <h3>Temporarily Lifting the Freeze</h3> <p>Once you receive the password or PIN for your account, you will be able to authorize the temporary release of your credit report for a specific period of time or for a specific person. You can request that the freeze be lifted for anywhere from one day to one year. Keep in mind that you will need to contact all three credit bureaus to request that the freeze be temporarily lifted.</p> <h3>Applying for New Credit</h3> <p>According to Experian, having a security freeze can affect the approval of any request or application for &quot;a new loan, credit, mortgage, insurance, government services or payments, rental housing, employment, investment, license, cellular telephone, utilities, digital signature, Internet credit card transaction or other services, including an extension of credit at point of sale.&quot; If you are considering applying for credit, keep in mind that a security freeze can slow down the application. Try removing the freeze at least three business days before applying for new credit.</p> <h3>Don't Take a Credit Freeze Lightly</h3> <p>Keep in mind that a credit freeze is a major step that will completely remove you from the credit marketplace, so it should only be pursued on an as-needed basis. For instance, if you've applied for a new job or apartment and they need to see your credit file, having a freeze in place will result in unnecessary delays. On the other hand, it will not adversely impact your credit score or your chances of getting credit once the freeze has been lifted.</p> <p><em>Have you ever placed a freeze on your credit report? Please share your experience in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-cannon">Andrea Cannon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-times-you-must-freeze-your-credit-report">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-spot-a-credit-repair-scam">How to Spot a Credit Repair Scam</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-things-you-dont-know-about-your-credit-report-but-should">13 Things You Don&#039;t Know About Your Credit Report — But Should</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-your-credit-cards-are-paid-off">9 Money Moves to Make the Moment Your Credit Cards Are Paid Off</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-mugged">How To Get Mugged</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-when-you-suspect-a-scam">What to Do When You Suspect a Scam</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance credit freeze credit report fraud identity theft security freeze Tue, 15 Mar 2016 11:00:06 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1672232 at http://www.wisebread.com How Credit Inquiries Affect Your Credit Score http://www.wisebread.com/how-credit-inquiries-affect-your-credit-score <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-credit-inquiries-affect-your-credit-score" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_reading_paperwork_000062937852.jpg" alt="Woman learning how credit inquiries affect her credit score" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Have you noticed inquiries on your credit report? Not sure what they mean? Soft and hard inquiries are the result of potential creditors assessing your credit report after you've applied for things such as a credit card, mortgage, or car loan. Hard and soft inquiries each affect your credit differently. Read on to learn more:</p> <h2>What Are Soft Inquiries?</h2> <p>Soft inquiries typically occur when your credit report is pulled for a background check. This can occur when you are applying for a new job, getting pre-approved for lending offers, and even when you check your own credit score.</p> <p>While they will usually show up on your credit report, this isn't always the case. Plus, they won't affect your credit score, so you don't need to be concerned about them.</p> <h2>What Are Hard Inquiries?</h2> <p>Hard inquiries occur when a lender pulls your credit report to make a lending decision. This takes place most commonly when you apply for a loan, credit card, or mortgage. However, there are other reasons that your credit may reflect a hard inquiry, such as when you request a credit limit increase. They can, in some cases, lower your FICO score by one to five points and can remain on your credit report for up to two years. Typically, the more hard inquiries on your credit report, the likelier it is to affect your score.</p> <p>Multiple hard inquiries in a short period of time can cause significant damage to your credit. When multiple hard inquiries come through at once, the credit bureaus assume you are desperate for credit or can't qualify for the credit you need. Any future creditors may also take this information and assume that you are a high risk borrower, which will reduce your chances of getting the credit you need. In fact, according to <a href="http://myfico.7eer.net/c/27771/93942/2185">myFICO</a>, people with six hard inquiries or more on their credit are up to eight times as likely to file for bankruptcy, compared to people with no inquiries &mdash; meaning that more inquiries usually means greater risk.</p> <h2>Exceptions to the Rule</h2> <p>There are certain instances that are gray areas, which may result in a soft or hard inquiry depending on the situation (such as when you rent a car or sign up for new cable or Internet service). If you aren't sure about whether your actions will result in a soft or hard inquiry, you can simply ask the financial institution you are requesting financing from.</p> <p>Another exception is when you are rate shopping. Generally, your FICO score will only record one single inquiry within a 14&ndash;45 day period if you are shopping for the best mortgage, auto loan, or student loan rates. By doing all of your shopping for the same type of loan within a two-week span, you can reduce the effect on your credit.</p> <h2>Disputing an Unauthorized Inquiry</h2> <p>If a hard inquiry occurred without your permission, you may be able to dispute it. This can be done by calling or writing the creditor and asking them to remove the unauthorized hard inquiry from your credit report. You can also dispute them directly with the credit bureau. Otherwise, if you've authorized the hard inquiry, it can take up to two years to disappear from your credit report.</p> <h2>How Inquiries Will Affect Your Future</h2> <p>As is the case with anything that negatively affects your credit score, inquiries can affect your ability to get good loan rates. More hard inquiries means a lower credit score, which means fewer credit options or a higher interest rate. This will ultimately mean you will pay more over the life of the loan.</p> <h2>How Will Your Credit Recover?</h2> <p>The good news about a hard inquiry is that if you aren't doing them often, they aren't going to have a big effect on your credit. For instance, factors like your payment history, credit history, and credit utilization rate are weighted much more heavily. Continue monitoring your credit every month to ensure that there are no unauthorized hard inquiries or other issues so that you can continue to maintain the highest score possible. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-surprising-ways-to-negatively-affect-your-credit-score?ref=seealso">10 Surprising Ways to Negatively Affect Your Credit Score</a>)</p> <p>On the other hand, if you already have bad credit, then an additional hard inquiry can have an even greater impact on your score. Try keeping your hard inquiries to only one or two a year, if possible.</p> <p><em>Do you have unusual experiences with inquiries on your account? Please share your thoughts in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-cannon">Andrea Cannon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-credit-inquiries-affect-your-credit-score">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-things-you-dont-know-about-your-credit-report-but-should">13 Things You Don&#039;t Know About Your Credit Report — But Should</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-credit-report-mistakes-that-could-be-costing-you-big">4 Credit Report Mistakes That Could Be Costing You Big</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-life-is-amazing-with-an-800-credit-score">5 Ways Life Is Amazing With an 800 Credit Score</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-self-employed-persons-guide-to-getting-credit">The Self-Employed Person&#039;s Guide to Getting Credit</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-your-credit-cards-are-paid-off">9 Money Moves to Make the Moment Your Credit Cards Are Paid Off</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance credit credit report fico scores hard inquiries soft inquiries Mon, 07 Mar 2016 10:30:25 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1668044 at http://www.wisebread.com Here's How Your Credit Score Affects Your Job Search http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-your-credit-score-affects-your-job-search <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/heres-how-your-credit-score-affects-your-job-search" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/000083852417.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If your FICO credit score is weak, you probably already know that this low score might keep you from qualifying for a mortgage loan, auto financing, or a new credit card. But can a low credit score keep you from landing your dream job?</p> <p>The answer is a bit complicated.</p> <p>Many people believe that employers check the three-digit credit scores of job applicants. But in reality, employers are forbidden from pulling your credit scores. (Yes, <em>scores</em>. You actually have three FICO credit scores, one from each of the three national credit bureaus &mdash; TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax.) What they <em>can</em> study is what is known as an employment screening report.</p> <h2>The Employment Credit Report</h2> <p>An employment screening is a version of the three credit reports that TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax maintain on you.</p> <p>Experian's employment credit report, for instance, includes public record information such as bankruptcies, foreclosures, and liens. It also includes a credit history that shows any late payments that you might have made in the last seven years.</p> <p>But one thing employment credit reports <em>don't</em> include is your three-digit FICO credit score.</p> <p>You can thank the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act for this. This act limits how your credit information can be used. For example, thanks to the act, employers can't even run an employment screening &mdash; with limited exceptions &mdash; without you first providing written consent. If you refuse to provide this consent, prospective employers are forbidden to order any employment credit reports on you, though your refusal might make your potential new bosses think twice about hiring you.</p> <p>If companies don't hire you because of information in your report, they must provide you with a copy of it. You can then review the report for possibly incorrect information. This gives you the chance to correct any mistakes that could cause potential employers to think less of your history with credit. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/whats-a-split-credit-report-and-how-much-is-it-hurting-your-score">What's a Split Credit Report - And How Much Is It Hurting Your Score</a>)</p> <h2>When Employment Credit Reports Can Hurt</h2> <p>Not all employers check the credit of all potential hires. In most cases, employers will only check the credit of potential employees who will be working in a financial capacity or role.</p> <p>For instance, if you are applying for a job as a chief financial officer, accountant, or bookkeeper, your employer might want to make sure that you&rsquo;ve managed your own personal finances properly. The good news is you can take steps to improve your credit history, making your employment credit report more palatable to potential employers. The bad news is that improving your report takes time and discipline.</p> <p>First, those negative marks on your employment credit report will take a long time to fall off. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing, for instance, will stay on your report for 10 years, as will a foreclosure. A late credit card payment will remain on your report for seven years.</p> <p>But these financial missteps look less damaging as the years pass. Employers might not place as much weight on a bankruptcy filing that is eight years old, as long as your employment credit report doesn&rsquo;t show any other financial mistakes after that filing.</p> <p>So vow to pay all of your bills on time from now on. You can&rsquo;t make those negative marks disappear prematurely. But you can make sure that your report remains clean from this day forward.</p> <p>And while you're rebuilding your credit reports, take solace in the fact that the use of credit checks for employment is increasingly coming under fire. The Society for Human Resource Management in 2015 reported that 11 states limited employers' use of credit information in hiring decisions. The society also said that 17 additional states were considering legislation that would limit how employers can use credit information.</p> <p>For instance, in Colorado, employers can't use credit information in hiring decisions unless the information is related to the job. In Delaware, most public employers can't check applicants' credit, while in Illinois employers are not allowed to rely on credit information when making hiring, firing, or compensation decisions, with limited exceptions.</p> <p><em>Has your credit negatively impacted a job search?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-your-credit-score-affects-your-job-search">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-your-credit-cards-are-paid-off">9 Money Moves to Make the Moment Your Credit Cards Are Paid Off</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-things-you-dont-know-about-your-credit-report-but-should">13 Things You Don&#039;t Know About Your Credit Report — But Should</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-why-you-shouldnt-freak-out-if-you-miss-a-payment-due-date">Here&#039;s Why You Shouldn&#039;t Freak Out If You Miss a Payment Due Date</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-debt-payoffs-that-boost-your-credit-score-the-most">The 7 Debt Payoffs That Boost Your Credit Score the Most</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-credit-report-mistakes-that-could-be-costing-you-big">4 Credit Report Mistakes That Could Be Costing You Big</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Job Hunting credit report credit score employers employment screening fico Thu, 04 Feb 2016 14:00:03 +0000 Dan Rafter 1649368 at http://www.wisebread.com Here's Why You Shouldn't Freak Out If You Miss a Payment Due Date http://www.wisebread.com/heres-why-you-shouldnt-freak-out-if-you-miss-a-payment-due-date <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/heres-why-you-shouldnt-freak-out-if-you-miss-a-payment-due-date" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_financially_stressed_000027261501.jpg" alt="Woman trying to stay calm after missing payment due date" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The due date for your mortgage loan payment slipped past without you sending a check to your lender. Or maybe you didn't have enough money in your checking account to send an on-time payment to your credit card provider.</p> <p>Don't panic. Your financial misstep might not hurt your credit score just yet.</p> <p>Missed payments are a sure way to send your three-digit credit score plummeting by as many as 100 points. This financial mistake will remain on your credit report for seven years.</p> <p>But late payments aren't immediately reported to the three national credit bureaus of Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. Often, lenders and credit providers won't report missed payments until they are at least 30 days late. This means that even if you miss your initial due date, you can still avoid a hit to your credit score by paying before 30 days pass. But first consider these variables.</p> <h2>Late Isn't Always &quot;Officially&quot; Late</h2> <p>Whitney Fite, president of Angel Oak Home Loans in Atlanta, said that most mortgage loans today come with a 15-day grace period. Your mortgage might be due on the first of the month, but lenders won't assess a late fee unless you fail to pay by the 15th of the month. This late fee will vary by the size of your loan, but could be about $100.</p> <p>Credit card companies will also charge <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/zooey-deschanel-never-pays-late-fees-and-5-other-smart-money-lessons-from-celebrities">late fees</a> if you miss your payment. Those fees vary, but what might hurt more is when your card provider increases your interest rate to the penalty rate. Under rules spelled out in the Credit CARD Act of 2009, your card provider can impose a penalty interest rate if you become more than 60 days late on your payment. These penalty rates are a true punishment, often running as high as 29%.</p> <p>But as long as you pay your mortgage, auto loan, or credit card payment within 30 days of its due date, most lenders won't report a missed payment to the credit bureaus. This means that your credit score itself will not be harmed.</p> <p>Fite warns that you need to be careful when paying after the official due date on auto loans, mortgages, or credit card payments. If you wait too long to send in your check, you might be tempting fate, and you might find yourself facing a late fee or credit hit after all.</p> <p>&quot;It can be a dangerous game to squeeze out a few extra days with the grace period,&quot; Fite said. &quot;Any delay by the mail carrier could result in the lender receiving the payment after the 15th and late fees being assessed.&quot;</p> <h2>Actually Late Can Hurt, However</h2> <p>If you can, be sure to send in that payment before the 30-day grace period ends. A single reported missed payment can lower your score by 100 points or more, especially if you had a relatively unblemished credit history before your missed payment.</p> <p>You don't want a low credit score. Lenders today rely on these three-digit scores to determine how much interest you'll pay on loans and credit cards. If your score is too low, you won't even qualify for loans or credit.</p> <p>Lenders consider a FICO credit score of 740 or higher to be a strong one. If your FICO score is under 640, you might struggle to qualify for loans or credit cards, and when you do qualify, you can expect to pay high interest rates on the money you borrow.</p> <p>Some missed payments are more damaging to your score than others.</p> <p>&quot;Recent late payments on mortgages are more damaging than late payments on other consumer loans,&quot; Fite said.</p> <h2>Unwanted Calls</h2> <p>You might not have to be 30 days late to begin receiving unwanted collection calls, too. Fite said that some lenders will begin making collection calls shortly after the first of the month. He said that almost all mortgage lenders will begin calling about missed payments on the 10th or 12th of the month.</p> <p>So if you don't want to hear from collection agencies? Make those payments on or before your due date. And it goes without saying that paying your bills on time &mdash; every time &mdash; is always the best policy.</p> <p><em>How do you stay on top of your bills &mdash; and on time?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-why-you-shouldnt-freak-out-if-you-miss-a-payment-due-date">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-things-you-dont-know-about-your-credit-report-but-should">13 Things You Don&#039;t Know About Your Credit Report — But Should</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-bad-credit-isnt-the-end-of-the-world">Your Bad Credit Isn&#039;t the End of the World</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-late-payments-affect-your-credit">How Late Payments Affect Your Credit</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-credit-report-mistakes-that-could-be-costing-you-big">4 Credit Report Mistakes That Could Be Costing You Big</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-why-credit-scores-and-reports-are-not-the-same">Here&#039;s Why Credit Scores and Reports Are Not the Same</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance bills collections credit history credit report credit score grace periods late payments Mon, 05 Oct 2015 13:00:39 +0000 Dan Rafter 1576207 at http://www.wisebread.com Here's Why Credit Scores and Reports Are Not the Same http://www.wisebread.com/heres-why-credit-scores-and-reports-are-not-the-same <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/heres-why-credit-scores-and-reports-are-not-the-same" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_thinking_questions_000038564992.jpg" alt="Woman learning how credit reports and credit scores are not the same" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Do you know the difference between your credit score and credit report? A surprisingly high number of consumers don't. They use the terms &quot;credit score&quot; and &quot;credit report&quot; interchangeably, not knowing that there's a big difference between the two.</p> <p>&quot;You can look at a credit report as your report card in school,&quot; said Jason van den Brand, chief executive officer of San Francisco-based Lenda, an online mortgage-refinance platform. &quot;You have all this information on it, sort of like the grades you get from all your different teachers. Your credit score is more like your combined grade-point average from all that information.&quot;</p> <p>Your credit report &mdash; you actually have three important ones &mdash; lists key financial information such as your open credit card accounts, how much you owe on your auto loan, and whether you've made any late payments or suffered any foreclosures. Your credit score, meanwhile, is the three-digit number that lenders use to determine how likely you are to pay back your debts on time.</p> <p>Here's a look at the differences between credit reports and credit scores.</p> <h2>Understanding Your Credit Report</h2> <p>Three national credit bureaus each maintain their own reports on your financial activity: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. You can order one copy of each of your three reports every year for free. Do this at <a href="https://www.annualcreditreport.com/">AnnualCreditReport.com</a>. Do not order these reports from other sites that might try to charge you.</p> <p>Once you get your reports, it's important to know how to read them. Each of your reports will start with the most basic of your personal information: your name, birthdate, address, past addresses, Social Security number, and employment information. Don't be surprised, though, if not all of your past jobs are listed. Not all employers report information on their employees to the credit bureaus.</p> <h3>Public Records</h3> <p>Ideally, the public records section of your credit report will be empty. This section lists the financial missteps such as foreclosures, bankruptcies, and court judgments that can cause your credit score to plummet.</p> <p>If a foreclosure or bankruptcy is listed here, you'll also see information on when a creditor filed the judgment against you. TransUnion will also list a date on which each of your negative judgments will disappear from your report. These dates, of course, vary. Foreclosures remain on your credit report for seven years. Chapter 7 bankruptcy filings stay on them for 10 years, while Chapter 13 bankruptcy filings also fall off your report after seven years.</p> <h3>Accounts</h3> <p>Your credit reports have two sections devoted to your credit accounts. The bad one is labeled &quot;Adverse Accounts.&quot; This section lists credit accounts &mdash; such as open credit cards &mdash; on which you have either missed a payment or been late. These financial blunders will stay on your credit report for seven years. This section will also list how much you owe on these accounts.</p> <p>There is also the &quot;Accounts in Good Standing&quot; section. This part of your report lists open credit accounts that you have paid on time for a specific period, usually the past 53 months. Again, this part of the report will also list how much you owe on these accounts.</p> <h3>Credit History</h3> <p>The last major part of your credit report is devoted to &quot;Credit History Requests.&quot; If a mortgage lender requested your credit reports &mdash; to make sure that you haven't paid your bills late &mdash; it will be listed here. You might see, too, that a potential landlord requested your credit reports. Many will do this before leasing their apartment units to renters.</p> <p>What's most interesting about this part of your report is that every creditor that requests your reports is required to list a reason why. You'll see these reasons listed here, too.</p> <h2>Understanding Your Credit Score</h2> <p>Credit scores generally get more press than do credit reports. That's because lenders use these three-digit numbers when deciding who gets loans and at what interest rates.</p> <p>The most important of your credit scores is the FICO score. Other companies offer credit scores &mdash; the VantageScore is a popular example &mdash; but none of them have the same impact on your ability to qualify for a loan.</p> <p>FICO credit scores run from a low of 300 to a high of 850. The higher your score, the better. Lenders generally consider FICO scores of 740 or higher to be excellent ones. If your score is lower than 640, though, you might struggle to qualify for a conventional mortgage loan or other loans or forms of credit.</p> <p>Your FICO credit score is only made up of the information contained in your credit reports. Not all bill payments, for instance, show up on your credit reports. You might pay your monthly utility and cell phone bills on time, but they don't show up on your credit reports and, therefore, don't have any positive impact on your FICO score.</p> <p>According to FICO, your FICO score is made up of five parts. The most important, consisting of 35% of your score, is your payment history. If you make your credit card, auto loan, mortgage loan, and other payments on time, this part of your score will be strong.</p> <p>An additional 30% of your score is made up of the amount you owe on credit card accounts and revolving loans. The length of your credit history makes up 15% of your score. In general, longer credit histories will provide a boost to your credit score. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-credit-cards-to-improve-your-credit-score?ref=seealso2">How to Use Credit Cards to Raise Your Credit Score</a>)</p> <p>An additional 10% of your score is determined by the type of credit you use. FICO will look at your mix of credit cards, mortgage loans, and installment loans when determining whether your credit mix is a healthy one.</p> <p>New credit influences the final 10% of your score. FICO says that consumers who open several new credit accounts in a short period of time represent a greater risk for lenders. Because of this, opening five new credit card accounts in two months could cause your credit score to drop.</p> <p>Both your credit reports and score are key to managing and understanding your financial health. Keep tabs on both to stay in top financial health.</p> <p><em>Do you track both your credit report and your credit score?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-why-credit-scores-and-reports-are-not-the-same">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-surprising-things-lenders-check-besides-your-credit-score">4 Surprising Things Lenders Check Besides Your Credit Score</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-things-you-dont-know-about-your-credit-report-but-should">13 Things You Don&#039;t Know About Your Credit Report — But Should</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-bad-credit-isnt-the-end-of-the-world">Your Bad Credit Isn&#039;t the End of the World</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-why-you-shouldnt-freak-out-if-you-miss-a-payment-due-date">Here&#039;s Why You Shouldn&#039;t Freak Out If You Miss a Payment Due Date</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-credit-report-mistakes-that-could-be-costing-you-big">4 Credit Report Mistakes That Could Be Costing You Big</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance credit bureaus credit history credit report credit score FICO score loans Tue, 22 Sep 2015 13:00:30 +0000 Dan Rafter 1567348 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Ways to Increase Your Credit Score Quickly http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-increase-your-credit-score-quickly <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-ways-to-increase-your-credit-score-quickly" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_using_credit_card_000060969640.jpg" alt="Woman finding ways to increase her credit score quickly" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Your credit score will determine whether you will get approved for credit cards, auto loans, mortgages, or other loans, as well as impact the interest rate you'll pay. If you aren't happy with where your credit score is today, take heart: There are some simple ways to improve it quickly. Once your credit score improves, you'll be able to enjoy <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-life-is-amazing-with-an-800-credit-score?ref=internal">perks like lower interest and insurance rates</a>.</p> <p>Note that while these tips will help you raise your credit score quickly, be patient and remember that it can still take 30&ndash;60 days to see any noticeable improvement.</p> <h2>Credit Utilization Ratio</h2> <p>Your credit utilization ratio makes up 30% of your credit score. It's the number that shows how much debt you have compared to your total available credit. The more unused credit you have available, the lower your ratio. For example, if the credit limit on all your cards total $10,000, but you owe $8,000, your credit utilization ratio is 80%. You're using 80% of your credit. That's pretty high &mdash; a ratio of 30% or less is ideal. There are three main ways to lower your credit utilization ratio.</p> <h3>1. Pay Down Your Debt</h3> <p>Using the above scenario, if you can pay down your debt from $8,000 to $5,000, then your ratio goes down to 50%. Once you lower your debt, your score will see a significant boost quickly.</p> <h3>2. Ask for a Credit Limit Increase</h3> <p>If you aren't able to come up with some cash to pay down your debt quickly, try to get your credit card issuer to raise your limit. If instead of having $10,000 in available credit, you have $15,000, your ratio would go down to 53% with a $8,000 debt. Keep in mind, however, that they'll usually only grant this if you've had a good record with them over the last year. If you've missed payments, you may not be able to get the increase.</p> <h3>3. Sign Up for a New Credit Card</h3> <p>If you've got a lot of credit card debt, getting another credit card may not be the wisest thing to do. But if you need to raise your credit score quickly, this may be your only option. If you can, try to get a card with a 0% intro <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-to-do-a-balance-transfer-to-pay-off-credit-card-debt?ref=internal">balance transfer option</a>, which will allow you to transfer your existing debt over and at least get a break from paying interest each month. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards?ref=seealso">Credits Cards With the Best 0% Balance Transfer Offer</a>)</p> <p>If you can't get approved for credit cards because of your low score, get a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-secured-credit-card-can-repair-your-credit-score-heres-how-to-pick-the-best?ref=internal">secured credit card</a>, which even those with bad credit can get approved for. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-secured-credit-cards?ref=seealso">Best 5 Secured Credit Cards</a>)</p> <h2>Credit History</h2> <p>The length of your credit history makes up 15% of your score. If your score is low because you are new to credit, then you will just have to be patient. But you can build up your credit by opening up accounts now and keeping them in good standing in the future.</p> <h3>4. Keep Cards Open</h3> <p>You should not close any existing accounts, as each one continues to contribute to your credit history. In fact, many people hold the mistaken belief that closing credit card accounts will help their credit score, when it will likely have the opposite effect. The longer you've had your accounts, the more it adds your score. Even if you're no longer using your old credit cards, you can cut up the cards or lock them away, but don't cancel them.</p> <h3>5. Become an Authorized User</h3> <p>If you're having trouble getting approved for new accounts, see if you can become an authorized user on someone else's card. But make sure you sign on with someone who is a responsible user. Your score can tank if that person misses payments or has too much debt on that card, too.</p> <h2>Types of Credit</h2> <p>The types of credit in use also makes up 10% of your credit score. These formulas favor those who have several types of loans including home loans, auto loans, student loans, credit cards, and store charge cards.</p> <h3>6. Mix up Your Forms of Credit</h3> <p>While you shouldn't borrow money for a home or car just to try to improve your score, it's worth keeping in mind that even opening a store charge card and using it for a few small purchases may help to improve your credit score slightly.</p> <p>You can also consider opening a specialized card like a branded gas card (that only works for gas station payments). This will help you resist the urge to spend on other things and you'll rack up rewards in no time, such as free gas. Pay the balance off immediately after every use and your credit score will reflect your good credit history, payment history, and increased available credit.</p> <h2>Payment History</h2> <p>Your payment history makes up the biggest percentage of your score &mdash; 35%. There is no getting around the importance of paying your bills on time.</p> <h3>7. Set up Alerts and Auto-Pay</h3> <p>Sometimes payments are missed simply because you forgot or misplaced the bill. These small mistakes add up on your credit score. If you have trouble remembering to pay your bills, then set up automatic payments or set up reminder alerts on your calendar. No excuses!</p> <h2>Credit Monitoring</h2> <p>To maintain a good score, you should be diligent about monitoring your credit, as well. Check your credit report every year at <a href="http://annualcreditreport.com">AnnualCreditReport.com</a> to ensure there are no errors. If you notice a discrepancy, act on it quickly. Your credit score may be unjustifiably low and you may simply need to make a call to correct any issues. In fact, studies have shown that up to 80% of consumer credit reports have an error, which may be costing you up to 50 credit points. Take advantage of services like <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="http://www.tkqlhce.com/click-2822544-12336153-1455123184000?sid=cannon-1500837">CreditSesame.com</a><img border="0" alt="" src="http://track.flexlinks.com/i.ashx?foid=1029882.163454&amp;fot=9999&amp;foc=1&amp;foc2=585847" /> to monitor your credit score for free throughout the year. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-that-offer-free-credit-scores?ref=seealso">Credit Cards That Offer Free Credit Scores</a>)</p> <p><em>These are our recommendations for increasing your credit score quickly. Do you have any suggestions to add? Please share your thoughts in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-cannon">Andrea Cannon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-increase-your-credit-score-quickly">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-unexpected-benefits-of-secured-credit-cards">5 Unexpected Benefits of Secured Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-credit-cards-to-improve-your-credit-score">How to Use Credit Cards to Improve Your Credit Score</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-ways-to-raise-your-credit-score-this-year">7 Easy Ways to Raise Your Credit Score This Year</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-build-credit-without-using-credit-cards">How to Build Credit Without Using Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-reasons-your-credit-card-application-was-denied-and-what-you-can-do-about-it">11 Reasons Your Credit Card Application Was Denied — And What You Can Do About It</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Insurance bad credit building credit credit history credit report credit score rebuild credit Tue, 28 Jul 2015 13:00:16 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1500837 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Unexpected Benefits of Secured Credit Cards http://www.wisebread.com/6-unexpected-benefits-of-secured-credit-cards <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-unexpected-benefits-of-secured-credit-cards" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_secured_credit_card_000008799161.jpg" alt="Woman discovering benefits of secured credit cards" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>&quot;Nobody knows you when you're down and out,&quot; goes a famous blues song.</p> <p>And when your credit score is bad &mdash; really bad &mdash; you'll definitely be singing the blues whenever you're trying to find financing options. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-a-credit-card-when-you-have-bad-credit?ref=seealso">How to Get a Credit Card When You Have Bad Credit</a>)</p> <p>While you may see <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-secured-credit-cards">secured credit cards</a> as a financing option of last resort, you may be surprised by their unexpected benefits. Here are six of them. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-are-secured-credit-cards?ref=seealso">What Are Secured Credit Cards?</a>)</p> <h2>1. No Credit Check Needed</h2> <p>This is at the top of any list of unexpected benefits of a secured credit card.</p> <p>Secured credit cards are good options for those that have bad credit and are looking to avoid an additional hard inquiry on their credit histories and a potential denial. To open a secured credit card you make an initial deposit, which becomes your card's credit limit. That initial deposit can range from a couple hundred dollars up to about $5,000.</p> <p>Your initial deposit is insured by FDIC and is refundable, after applicable fees, if you decide to close your account.</p> <h2>2. Credit History for Credit Bureaus</h2> <p>Young folks starting out on their own, college students away from home, people recovering from a major life event (such as a divorce or major illness), and recent immigrants may also benefit from a secured credit card, because it helps them begin or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-secured-credit-card-can-repair-your-credit-score-heres-how-to-pick-the-best">reboot their credit histories</a>.</p> <p>When you have no recent pay stubs or tax returns available, some lenders may <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-reasons-your-credit-card-application-was-denied-and-what-you-can-do-about-it">deny your credit application</a> because you have no proof of income. Most secured credit card companies report your activity to the three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion), so that you can start building up (or rebuilding) your credit score.</p> <p>Before signing up for a secured credit card, double check whether or not the lender reports to the credit bureaus.</p> <h2>3. Eligible for Higher Limits</h2> <p>Through responsible management of your secured credit card, you can score a higher spending limit. By turning in your payments on time and paying your balance in full every month, you improve your chances of getting a higher limit sooner. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-the-most-out-of-your-secured-credit-card?ref=seealso">How to Get the Most Out of Your Secured Credit Card</a>)</p> <p>Also, you can contact your lender to make an additional deposit and increase your credit limit. Over time, your lender may raise your limit without requiring any additional deposits.</p> <h2>4. Grace Period</h2> <p>When choosing a secured credit card, it's key that you choose one with a grace period. A grace period is the window of time, often between the end of your billing cycle and the due date for that cycle, in which you pay no interest so long as your new balance in paid in full.</p> <p>While most credit cards offer a grace period, some secured credit cards don't. Without a grace period, you'll owe interest on every purchase. This would make improving your credit history tougher than it should be.</p> <h2>5. Accepted Internationally</h2> <p>Most secured credit cards are accepted as a form of payment when traveling abroad. Given the several <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-this-thing-in-your-wallet-is-almost-useless-today">disadvantages of travelers checks</a>, some international travelers may be happy to know that they can rely on their secured credit cards as a payment option.</p> <p>It's a good idea to read the terms of your secured credit card in order to be aware of applicable charges when using it outside of the U.S. However, there are some <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-secured-cards-with-low-or-no-foreign-transaction-fees">secured credit cards&nbsp;that have no foreign transaction fees</a> and no annual fee. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-secured-cards-with-no-annual-fee?ref=seealso">Secured Credit Cards with No Annual Fee</a>)</p> <p>These six unexpected benefits from secured credit cards may be a welcome surprise to those trying to rebuild their credit histories. Stay focused and remain positive. By choosing the right secured credit card, you're taking the first step towards improving your financial situation. Ready to apply? See Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-secured-credit-cards">favorite secured credit cards</a>.</p> <p><em>What steps have you taken to improve your credit history?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-unexpected-benefits-of-secured-credit-cards">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-increase-your-credit-score-quickly">7 Ways to Increase Your Credit Score Quickly</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-credit-cards-to-improve-your-credit-score">How to Use Credit Cards to Improve Your Credit Score</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/first-choice-bank-primor-secured-visa-gold-card-review">First Choice Bank primor® Secured Visa Gold Card Review</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/first-choice-bank-primor-secured-visa-classic-card-review">First Choice Bank primor® Secured Visa Classic Card Review</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-surprising-ways-to-negatively-affect-your-credit-score">10 Surprising Ways to Negatively Affect Your Credit Score</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards bad credit building credit credit history credit report financing rebuild credit Wed, 29 Apr 2015 11:00:28 +0000 Damian Davila 1397772 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Credit Report Mistakes That Could Be Costing You Big http://www.wisebread.com/4-credit-report-mistakes-that-could-be-costing-you-big <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-credit-report-mistakes-that-could-be-costing-you-big" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_computer_000036155704.jpg" alt="Man upset about making common credit report mistake" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Getting your credit application rejected can put a major hold on your life plans.</p> <p>It doesn't matter whether it's for the new car that you so desperately need, or for the bonus 50,000 air miles that come with that fancy credit card; getting rejected sucks. And while you may think that you're doing a good job with your credit score, that may not always be the case (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-surprising-ways-to-negatively-affect-your-credit-score?ref=seealso">10 Things You Didn't Know Are Lowering Your Credit Score</a>).</p> <p>Here are four credit report mistakes that you need to watch out for.</p> <h2>1. Unforeseen Hard Inquiries</h2> <p>A hard inquiry takes places every time a potential lender reviews your credit. While these so-called &quot;hard inquiries&quot; may lower your credit score a bit, they're necessary for lenders to determine your ability to pay back a loan (or your likelihood to default on payments).</p> <p>In general, having too many hard inquiries is not good for your credit report because it shows that you may be taking on more credit that you can handle. The exception to this rule is when you're rate shopping within a short period of time for a mortgage, car note, or student loan. In fact, rate shopping is encouraged by credit reporting bureaus. For example, FICO considers all mortgage rate shopping within a 45-day period as a single inquiry.</p> <p>However, there are surprising items that may also unwittingly trigger a hard inquiry.</p> <ul> <li>Expect a credit check when you pay for a rental car with a debit card. Some companies will double-check that you're capable of paying in case of a major loss.&nbsp;</li> </ul> <ul> <li>As portrayed in the TV sitcom <em>New Girl</em>, buying an expensive smartphone may require your mobile provider salesperson to look up your credit score.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>With some online credit card portals, requesting a credit limit increase is as easy as just clicking a button. Still, when you start this process, the credit card company most likely runs a credit check.</li> </ul> <p>Keep these events in mind so that you don't end up with too many hard inquiries on your credit report. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/zooey-deschanel-never-pays-late-fees-and-5-other-smart-money-lessons-from-celebrities?ref=seealso">Zooey Deschanel Never Pays Late Fees and 5 Other Smart Money Lessons From Celebrities</a>)</p> <h2>2. Identification Problems</h2> <p>When you request your <a href="http://www.annualcreditreport.com">annual credit report</a>, it's very tempting to skip the identification section. After all, it just contains your name, date of birth, residence address, name of spouse, and phone number.</p> <p>Think again.</p> <p>This section is one of the most common sources of credit report mistakes. Your credit report is compiled from data from the three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Each one of these keeps their own data, so one or all of them may run into an error.</p> <p>While some errors may be minor, such as leaving out your apartment number, others may be very serious, such as mixing up John Smith, Sr. with John Smith, Jr. Depending on the payment history of the person that you're being mixed with, your credit history may be negatively affected.</p> <p>Make sure to check your personal information and be on the lookout for mistakes. Major red flags for possible credit fraud are:</p> <ul> <li>An incorrect birth date,<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>A residence address that you don't recognize,<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>An unusual phone number; or<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>A spouse or co-applicant when you don't have one.</li> </ul> <p>If you have an issue with your credit report, you can submit a complaint with the <a href="http://www.consumerfinance.gov/complaint/#credit-report">CFPB online</a> or by calling (855) 411-CFPB (2372).</p> <h2>3. Unrequested Closed Accounts</h2> <p>While paying off a credit card is always a good idea, closing a credit card is not. That's because 15% of your FICO Score is based on the length of your credit history. This means that you want to keep your accounts open so that you can demonstrate to lenders that you're capable of using credit responsibly for an extended period of time. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-credit-cards-to-improve-your-credit-score?ref=seealso">How to Use Credit Cards to Improve Your Credit Score</a>)</p> <p>Unrequested closed accounts can damage your credit score in two ways:</p> <ul> <li>The average age of your credit accounts shrinks. This is particularly bad when the closed account is your oldest account.&nbsp;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Your credit utilization ratio is likely to increase. Let's say that you have two credit cards, each with a credit limit of $1,000. Since you have a balance of $200 on one and $300 on the other, you are utilizing 25% of your available credit. If you pay off and close the credit card with the $200 balance, now your credit utilization ratio goes up to 30%.</li> </ul> <p>This is why you need to check the fine print of your store cards and credit cards. To keep your card open, some companies may require you to have a minimum balance or activity threshold for a specific period of time. For example, when I bought my wife her diamond ring at Kay Jewelers, I financed part of the purchase with a store card. After paying off the balance, I didn't use the card for an entire year and Kay notified me via mail that my card had been closed due to inactivity.</p> <h2>4. Owing Money to Uncle Sam</h2> <p>It goes without saying that owing money to the IRS is such a bad idea that it will hurt your credit report as well. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-rebuild-your-credit-in-8-simple-steps?ref=seealso">Simple Ways to Rebuild Credit</a>)</p> <p>What you may not know is that there are many more ways in which you can end up with a public record on your credit report.</p> <p>The most common example that I see here in Hawaii is when tourists get a parking ticket or speeding violation. Whether intentionally or unintentionally, the tourist forgets to pay the citation charge (&quot;Hey, I'm on vacation, man!&quot;), and that's when things start heading south. Not only will the tourist get hit with a fee from the rental car company, but the government will also likely try to collect the money from the tourist.</p> <p>Ignore the charge at your own peril. If the government turns the account to a collection agency, they will not only add penalty fees but also report the lien to the credit reporting bureaus. A public record stays on your credit report up to seven years. Public records are taken very seriously by potential lenders.</p> <p>To avoid public records hitting your credit history, follow these three tips.</p> <ul> <li>Pay all government fines, ranging from public library fees to moving violation tickets, on time;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Notify the U.S. Postal Service every time you move, so you never miss a government bill; and<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Check your credit report for derogatory public records, such as bankruptcies, judgments, liens, and convictions that didn't actually happen.</li> </ul> <p><em>Have you ever spotted an error on your credit report? What did you do? Share your story in comments.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-credit-report-mistakes-that-could-be-costing-you-big">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-things-you-dont-know-about-your-credit-report-but-should">13 Things You Don&#039;t Know About Your Credit Report — But Should</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-why-you-shouldnt-freak-out-if-you-miss-a-payment-due-date">Here&#039;s Why You Shouldn&#039;t Freak Out If You Miss a Payment Due Date</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-why-credit-scores-and-reports-are-not-the-same">Here&#039;s Why Credit Scores and Reports Are Not the Same</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-increase-your-credit-score-quickly">7 Ways to Increase Your Credit Score Quickly</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-life-is-amazing-with-an-800-credit-score">5 Ways Life Is Amazing With an 800 Credit Score</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance credit credit history credit report credit score Wed, 04 Mar 2015 10:00:08 +0000 Damian Davila 1316898 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Easy Ways to Raise Your Credit Score This Year http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-ways-to-raise-your-credit-score-this-year <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-easy-ways-to-raise-your-credit-score-this-year" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man-calculating-bills-Dollarphotoclub_74124828.jpg" alt="man calculating bills" title="man calculating bills" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>So what if the first of the year has already come and gone? It's never too late to establish yearly money goals for yourself. If your credit score needs work (or if you've been denied credit), there's no time like the present to raise your personal FICO score. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-surprising-ways-to-negatively-affect-your-credit-score?ref=seealso">10 Surprising Ways to Negatively Affect Your Credit Score</a>)</p> <p>Obviously, you're not going to improve a low score in only a few days, but <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-secured-credit-card-can-repair-your-credit-score-heres-how-to-pick-the-best">credit repair</a> is easier than you might think. But, if you're tired of getting turned down for credit and you're ready to improve your score and qualify for mortgages, auto loans, and better interest rates, here are seven easy ways to get back in the game this year.</p> <h2>1. Reduce How Much You Use Credit</h2> <p>With credit card ownership comes the temptation to use it more than you should. Personally, I know people use credit cards for every single purchase and carry high balances. And I bite my tongue every time they boo-hoo about how they're drowning in debt. Thus, if want to raise your credit score this year (and avoid me wagging my judgmental finger at you), you need to reduce how much you use credit cards in order to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-one-ratio-is-the-key-to-a-good-credit-score">lower your credit utilization ratio</a>.</p> <p>This all-important ratio is calculated as your total credit card balances divided by your total credit card limits. If you have one credit card with a $1,000 credit limit and this card has a $900 balance, your credit utilization ratio is 90%. This is a high ratio and it'll drive down your credit score &mdash; generally, credit scoring companies prefer a ratio of well under 50% (and in some cases, under 30%). Your credit utilization ratio makes up 30% of your credit score, so pay down your balances to improve your score quickly.</p> <p>People with the highest credit scores have a utilization ratio of 1% to 10%, according to research from <a href="http://www.jdoqocy.com/click-2822544-10809829-1284618439000?sid=rox-1285783">Credit Karma</a>. Remember, credit card utilization takes into account your total credit card balances. So, you need to add up all your credit card balances and divide the total by all your credit card limits to come up with your overall ratio.</p> <h2>2. Increase Your Available Credit</h2> <p>If you have a high credit utilization ratio and you're not in a position to pay down balance, there's another trick to give your credit score a boost: Basically, you want to widen the gap between your credit limits and what you owe.</p> <p>So, if you have a $1,000 credit limit and you owe $900 on a credit card, call your credit card company and ask for a credit line increase. Although you don't need perfect credit for an increase, this only works if your score is high enough to qualify for more credit, and the requirements vary by card issuer. Still, there's no harm in trying. Let's say the credit card company raises your credit limit to $2,000 &mdash; this decreases your credit utilization ratio from 90% to 45%, which is a definite improvement. A credit limit increase isn't an invitation to shop, though; get that out of your head right now. The goal is to increase your credit score, not get into more debt. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-secured-credit-cards?ref=seealso">Best Credit Cards for Bad Credit Scores</a>)</p> <h2>3. Start Paying Your Bills on Time</h2> <p>This might seem like a no-brainer, but it has to be said. Your payment history makes up&nbsp;<a href="http://www.myfico.com/crediteducation/whatsinyourscore.aspx">35% of your credit score</a>, according to <a href="http://myfico.7eer.net/c/27771/93942/2185">myFICO</a>. To raise your credit score this year, make sure you pay every single bill on time every single month. This is not an easy feat, which means that you have to be extra diligent with your cash flow. A 30-day late payment knocks points off your credit score, and if you're late several times a year, your credit score may tank, and creditors won't extend financing. Set-up e-mail alerts to remind yourself of due dates, and pay bills online to ensure they reach creditors on time.</p> <h2>4. Pay Off a Loan</h2> <p>Paying off a personal loan, an auto loan, or a student loan also gives your credit score a boost. This is because creditors report the debt paid in full as agreed, thus giving you brownie points for good credit management. If you apply for new loans, select the lowest loan term you can afford to get rid of the debt faster.</p> <h2>5. Diversify Your Credit</h2> <p>You might be okay and comfortable with just a credit card, but having only one type of credit account isn't enough to build a strong credit history. Diversification makes up 10% of your credit score. You need a good mix of credit, such as one credit card and maybe a mortgage, car note, or student loan. Of course, if you're able to pay in cash for these items, there's no need to take on any extra debt.</p> <h2>6. Don't Open Too Many New Accounts</h2> <p>Opening too many accounts in a short span of time has a negative impact on your credit score &mdash; and provides that much more unnecessary temptation to drag you further into debt. Each credit inquiry reduces your credit score by a small amount. Also, if you submit a bunch of applications at once, creditors get suspicious and assume you're desperate for credit, and they might not approve your application.</p> <h2>7. Check Your Credit</h2> <p>Don't let credit report errors or identity theft ruin your credit score. Order your free credit reports (you get one per year from each of the three leading credit bureaus) from <a href="http://annualcreditreport.com">AnnualCreditReport.com</a> and examine the contents for mistakes. Dispute any negative items reported in error, such as judgments, collection accounts, or late payments. The bureaus and creditors will update your report with accurate information, which can increase your score.</p> <p><em>Have you improved your credit score? What steps did you follow?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-ways-to-raise-your-credit-score-this-year">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-credit-cards-to-improve-your-credit-score">How to Use Credit Cards to Improve Your Credit Score</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-increase-your-credit-score-quickly">7 Ways to Increase Your Credit Score Quickly</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-moves-to-make-if-your-loan-gets-denied">5 Moves to Make If Your Loan Gets Denied</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-70000-or-more-with-4-simple-credit-score-boosts">Save $70,000 (or More!) With 4 Simple Credit Score Boosts</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-most-likely-to-give-you-lousy-credit">5 Things Most Likely to Give You Lousy Credit</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance bad credit building credit credit report credit score improving credit Wed, 11 Feb 2015 10:31:14 +0000 Mikey Rox 1285783 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Use Credit Cards to Improve Your Credit Score http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-credit-cards-to-improve-your-credit-score <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-use-credit-cards-to-improve-your-credit-score" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/happy-woman-credit-card-186439794-small.jpg" alt="credit card" title="credit card" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There are a lot of myths racing around online about how your credit cards impact your credit score. It can be confusing because the way credit scores are computed doesn't always match with actual credit-worthy behavior. So you might think that canceling all but one of your credit cards is a smart financial move for you, but it would actually hurt your credit score a lot. So here's the skinny on how to properly use your cards to help, not harm, your credit score. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-rebuild-your-credit-in-8-simple-steps?ref=seealso">Rebuild Your Credit in 8 Steps</a>)</p> <h2>Pay on Time</h2> <p>Your payment history is <a href="http://money.howstuffworks.com/personal-finance/debt-management/credit-score1.htm">35% of your credit score</a>. That's the largest impact any single factor is going to have on your score. Set up alerts or auto payments. Do whatever you have to do to make those payments on time, every time. It's not the late fee that's going to hurt you the most.</p> <h2>Pay It Off</h2> <p>The next biggest factor contributing to your score is your <em>credit utilization ratio</em>. That's how much you owe versus how much credit you have. The lower the ratio, the better your score. Paying down your debts will definitely lower the ratio. This is also something to watch out for when you apply for a loan. To get a good interest rate, you want the highest credit score possible, and that means lowering your debt and no splurges on credit (even if you have the cash to pay it off). (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-one-ratio-is-the-key-to-a-good-credit-score?ref=seealso">This One Ratio Is the Key to a Good Credit Score</a>)</p> <h2>Ask for Credit Limit Increases</h2> <p>If paying down your debt isn't possible immediately, you can lower your credit utilization ratio another way: Get more credit. Call your credit cards and ask for a credit limit increase. If you've been a good customer (which basically means you've been paying on time), you can probably get an increase immediately. (You can also apply for a new credit card but that temporarily lowers your score due to it being a new account.) However, if you raise your credit limit and then raise your debt by the same amount or more, you're dinging your score. Keep your eye on the ball.</p> <h2>Keep Your Accounts Open</h2> <p>When you close a credit card account, it lowers the amount of credit you have, so it raises your credit utilization ratio, which then dings your credit. If you really must cancel some cards, choose cards with a lower available credit. If you have several cards with the same bank issuer, you may be able to transfer the available credit from the card you want to cancel to the card you want to keep. That way, you are able to close an account without impacting your ratio as much. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-surprising-ways-to-negatively-affect-your-credit-score?ref=seealso">Surprising Ways to Hurt Your Credit</a>)</p> <h2>Keep Your Oldest Accounts</h2> <p>How long you've had credit makes up 15% of your score. If you applied for a credit card when you were in college, whether you use it or not, keep that account open. You can sign up for better credit cards that offer rewards and use those, but don't cancel your oldest one.</p> <p>Follow these basic tenets to help keep your score as high as possible. I always recommend checking your credit history once per year to make sure that all of the information is accurate. You can do this <a href="https://www.annualcreditreport.com/index.action">free of charge</a> with each of the credit bureaus and it won't affect your credit score.</p> <p><em>How do you maintain a good credit score? Please share in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/christa-avampato">Christa Avampato</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-credit-cards-to-improve-your-credit-score">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-reasons-your-credit-card-application-was-denied-and-what-you-can-do-about-it">11 Reasons Your Credit Card Application Was Denied — And What You Can Do About It</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-increase-your-credit-score-quickly">7 Ways to Increase Your Credit Score Quickly</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-unexpected-benefits-of-secured-credit-cards">5 Unexpected Benefits of Secured Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-a-credit-card-when-you-have-bad-credit">How to Get a Credit Card When You Have Bad Credit</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-70000-or-more-with-4-simple-credit-score-boosts">Save $70,000 (or More!) With 4 Simple Credit Score Boosts</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards bad credit building credit credit card credit report credit score good credit Thu, 20 Nov 2014 10:00:07 +0000 Christa Avampato 1257157 at http://www.wisebread.com 13 Things You Don't Know About Your Credit Report — But Should http://www.wisebread.com/13-things-you-dont-know-about-your-credit-report-but-should <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/13-things-you-dont-know-about-your-credit-report-but-should" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/credit-report-iStock_000026709612Small.jpg" alt="credit report" title="credit report" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Everybody knows that their credit report matters. But beyond that, most people don't know much else.</p> <p>Here are 13 things you don't know about your credit report &mdash; but should.</p> <h2>1. Scores and Reports Are Not the Same</h2> <p>While many people use the terms &quot;credit report&quot; and &quot;credit score&quot; interchangeably, those two terms mean two completely different things.</p> <ul> <li>A credit report details your credit history, including personal data, detailed account information, inquiries into your credit history, and accounts turned over to collections.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>A credit score is a number calculated by a financial institution to determine the your creditworthiness (or how likely you are to repay your debts).</li> </ul> <h2>2. There Are More Than 3 Credit Reporting Agencies</h2> <p>When talking about credit agencies or bureaus, you may think of Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. However, there are many other <a href="http://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/201207_cfpb_list_consumer-reporting-agencies.pdf">consumer reporting agencies</a> out there gathering data about you to help institutions make decisions about credit, insurance, or employment, and for other purposes.</p> <h2>3. You May Not Have One</h2> <p><a href="http://www.consumer.gov/articles/1009-your-credit-history">It is possible not to have a credit history</a>. If you have neither credit cards nor any type of loans, then you won't have a credit history. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/building-a-credit-history?ref=seealso">How to Build Your Credit History</a>)</p> <h2>4. Agency Scores Aren't The Same</h2> <p>When talking about credit scores or reports, make sure that you're comparing apples to apples.</p> <p>For example, let's imagine that you have a credit score of 660. Now try to evaluate that number with the following ranges:</p> <ul> <li>FICO: 300 &ndash; 850</li> <li>Equifax: 280 &ndash; 850</li> <li>Experian: 330 &ndash; 830</li> <li>PLUS Score: 330 &ndash; 830</li> <li>TransUnion's TransRisk: 300 &ndash; 850</li> <li>VantageScore: 501 &ndash; 990 (versions 1.0 &amp; 2.0), 300 &ndash; 850 (version 3.0)</li> </ul> <p>Not so black and white, is it? Even when talking about a specific credit score you have to double check which one your lender is referring to. For example, there are <a href="http://www.bankrate.com/finance/credit/how-many-fico-credit-scores-do-you-have.aspx">53 different FICO credit scores</a>.</p> <p>The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau analyzed <a href="http://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/2011/07/Report_20110719_CreditScores.pdf">200,000 files from all credit reporting agencies</a> and found that one out of every five Americans is likely to receive a score that is meaningfully different from the score used by a lender to make a credit decision.</p> <h2>5. You Are Entitled to Free Credit Reports</h2> <p>By <a href="http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0155-free-credit-reports">federal mandate</a>, you're entitled to a free annual credit report that includes all the information gathered by the three main credit bureaus. Every 12 months, you can request your free report by:</p> <ul> <li>Calling 1-877-322-8228;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Mailing this <a href="http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/pdf-0093-annual-report-request-form.pdf">Annual Credit Report Request Form</a> and mail it to: Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281; or<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Requesting it online at <a href="http://annualcreditreport.com">AnnualCreditReport.com</a>.</li> </ul> <p>Getting your own credit report doesn't hurt any of your credit scores.</p> <h2>6. The Unemployed Get an Extra Report</h2> <p>On top of your free annual credit report, you can get <a href="http://www.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/unemployed-free-credit-report-1282.php">another free report when you are unemployed</a>.</p> <p>Why?</p> <h2>7. Credit Reports Can Factor in Hiring Decisions</h2> <p>One in 10 Americans has been <a href="http://money.cnn.com/2013/03/04/pf/employer-credit-checks/%20">denied a job due to information on their credit report</a>.</p> <p>The reasoning is that some employers may perform background checks, which include credit report information. So, to be on the same page as potential employers and to be able to dispute any inconsistencies, you are granted a second free report.</p> <p>The <a href="http://www.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/7-jobs-require-great-credit-1270.php">7 occupations that regularly check an applicant's credit history</a>:</p> <ol> <li>parking booth operator</li> <li>the military</li> <li>accounting</li> <li>mortgage loan originator</li> <li>Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officer</li> <li>law enforcement officer</li> <li>employment through temp agencies</li> </ol> <h2>8. You Can Get a Free Report After an Adverse Action</h2> <p>If you believe that a company has taken adverse action against you, such as dramatically increasing your home insurance or denying employment, then the relevant consumer reporting company is required to give you a free copy of your consumer report. Other times that you can get a free credit score report are in case of mortgage scoring and risk-based pricing.</p> <h2>9. Parking Tickets and Library Fines Appear on Your Report</h2> <p>Your credit report includes details of public record, which includes debts to any level of government. This is why ignoring that public library fine comes back with a vengeance by popping up on your credit report and staying there for the next three to seven years. The same applies to parking tickets. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-surprising-ways-to-negatively-affect-your-credit-score?ref=seealso">10 Surprising Ways to Hurt Your Credit Score</a>)</p> <p>This is why it is important to always notify the U.S. Postal Service every time you move, so you never miss a bill from any city or state government.</p> <h2>10. Some Late Payments Are Not Reported</h2> <p>The industry standard for account delinquency starts 30 days after a due date.</p> <p>This means that any payment within 30 days of its respective due date won't be reported to any of the credit bureaus. While it is a bad idea to pay your bills late, if you already got hit with a late payment, then you can take advantage of your grace period before it affects your credit report.</p> <h2>11. Closing Accounts Hurts Your Credit Report</h2> <p>While it may sound like a good idea in theory, closing accounts negatively affects your credit history in two ways.</p> <p>First, it may lower your average account age, which is viewed negatively by credit reporting agencies. Generally, it is a <a href="http://www.transunion.com/personal-credit/credit-reports/closing-accounts-and-your-credit-score.page">bad idea to close your oldest credit account</a> if you have no other account as old as that one. Second, closing accounts always decreases your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/reduce-your-credit-limits-to-manage-your-spending?ref=inarticle">available credit</a>, which increases your credit utilization rate. The higher this rate, the more likely you are to fall behind on debt payments.</p> <h2>12. Time Heals All Credit Wounds</h2> <p>No matter what kind of credit <em>faux pas</em> you have committed, it will not haunt you forever. Foreclosures, bankruptcies, and other <a href="http://www.myfico.com/crediteducation/questions/negative-items-on-credit-report-chapter-7-13.aspx">negative financial information will generally disappear from your credit report after 7 years</a>.</p> <p>And finally...</p> <h2>13. Your Credit May Land You a Date</h2> <p>Turns out that some bachelors and bachelorettes enjoy deep conversations, long walks on the beach&hellip; and amazing credit histories. By submitting your credit score to <a href="http://www.creditscoredating.com">CreditScoreDating.com</a>, you may attract potential suitors and find the love of your life.</p> <p>There is one catch: The creators of the dating site are still looking for a third party to verify credit scores. This means that you have to trust what others tell you about their credit histories and scores. Good luck!</p> <p><em>Have you been surprised by what's in your credit report?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-things-you-dont-know-about-your-credit-report-but-should">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-credit-report-mistakes-that-could-be-costing-you-big">4 Credit Report Mistakes That Could Be Costing You Big</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-why-you-shouldnt-freak-out-if-you-miss-a-payment-due-date">Here&#039;s Why You Shouldn&#039;t Freak Out If You Miss a Payment Due Date</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-why-credit-scores-and-reports-are-not-the-same">Here&#039;s Why Credit Scores and Reports Are Not the Same</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-increase-your-credit-score-quickly">7 Ways to Increase Your Credit Score Quickly</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-life-is-amazing-with-an-800-credit-score">5 Ways Life Is Amazing With an 800 Credit Score</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance credit credit history credit report credit score Fri, 26 Sep 2014 13:00:04 +0000 Damian Davila 1220790 at http://www.wisebread.com Save $70,000 (or More!) With 4 Simple Credit Score Boosts http://www.wisebread.com/save-70000-or-more-with-4-simple-credit-score-boosts <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/save-70000-or-more-with-4-simple-credit-score-boosts" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/piggy-bank-164113230.jpg" alt="piggy bank" title="piggy bank" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Do you dream of having a home to call your very own one day? If you're like most people, the answer is a resounding, &quot;YES!&quot;</p> <p>If you do, you're likely to run into a pretty significant challenge: You probably don't have hundreds of thousands of dollars in your bank account to buy a home with cash. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-process-for-purchasing-a-house-with-cash?ref=seealso">The Process for Buying a House With Cash</a>)</p> <p>So what do you do?</p> <p>Again, if you're like most people, the next step to getting the house of your dreams is to get a mortgage loan.</p> <p>And once you start shopping for a mortgage, you'll find that not all loans are created equal. Lenders will charge you different interest rates based on their judgment of your financial responsibility and your ability to repay the loan.</p> <p>The more responsible they think you are, the better the interest rate you'll get. And the better the interest rate you get, the more money you'll save.</p> <p>So how do most lenders judge your sense of financial responsibility? They do it by looking at a three-digit number &mdash; your credit score.</p> <h2>How Your Credit Score Affects Interest</h2> <p>Check out this <a href="http://www.myfico.com/myfico/creditcentral/loanrates.aspx">mortgage loan savings calculator</a>, which shows how your credit score impacts the total amount of interest you pay on a loan. For the sake of simplicity, I'm using the traditional 30-year fixed mortgage with a loan amount of $200,000. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/choosing-the-right-mortgage-loan-15-or-30-years?ref=seealso">Should You Choose a 15- or 30-Year Mortgage?</a>)</p> <p>With these numbers, let's say your credit score is in the worst range, between 620 and 639. Based on the calculator's results as of 12/24/13, you'll end up paying $223,150 in interest over the life of your loan.</p> <p>On the other hand, what if your credit score was in the best range, between 760 and 850? In this case, you'd end up paying a total of $153,186 in interest.</p> <p>In other words, if you have the best possible credit, this is how much you'll end up saving over the life of your loan &mdash; more than $69,000.</p> <p>What could you do with an extra $69,000? Better yet, how much would it hurt to lose more than $69,000?</p> <p>So now that you've seen how your credit score affects the amount of money you'll pay, you may be wondering, &quot;How do I get my credit into the best range?&quot; (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-rebuild-your-credit-in-8-simple-steps?ref=seealso">Rebuild Your Credit in 8 Steps</a>)</p> <h2>How to Improve Your Credit Score</h2> <p>Here are four proven steps to raise your score.</p> <h3>1. Pay Your Credit Card Bills on Time</h3> <p>According to <a href="http://myfico.7eer.net/c/27771/87522/2185">myFICO</a>, your debt payment history makes up 35% of your credit score &mdash; the largest chunk. So the single best thing you can do to improve your credit is to have no late payments. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-rid-of-and-avoid-late-fees?ref=seealso">How to Avoid Late Fees</a>)</p> <h3>2. Get Out of Debt, and Stay Out</h3> <p>The amount of money you owe makes up 30% of your credit score &mdash; the next largest chunk. If you're using a high percentage of your available credit, lenders may think you're more likely to make late or missed payments. So by paying off your debts, you'll be using less of your available credit, and your score will improve.</p> <h3>3. Keep Your Cards, and Keep Them Active</h3> <p>Repeat Steps One and Two over and over again. Lenders like to see a long history of credit. It makes up 15% of your score &mdash; &nbsp;the third largest chunk. So the longer you hold a credit card, the better it'll be for your credit score. And if you ever get a new card, don't close your old one. That could hurt your score. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-surprising-ways-to-negatively-affect-your-credit-score?ref=seealso">10 Surprising Ways to Hurt your Credit Score</a>)</p> <h3>4. Ask for More Credit</h3> <p>As a warning, you should only do this if you're completely out of credit card debt and you pay your balance in full. Otherwise, the extra credit may tempt you to spend more. This is related to Step Two. Again, since the amount you owe makes up 30% of your score, by increasing your available credit, you lower what's called your credit utilization rate. This helps improve your score. To get more credit, simply call your credit card company, and tell them you'd like more credit because you're thinking about making a large purchase in the future. It's that simple. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-habits-of-highly-responsible-credit-card-users?ref=seealso">Habits of Responsible Credit Card Users</a>)</p> <h2>Checking Your Score for Free</h2> <p>If you'd like to monitor the progress on your score as you follow these steps, you can check your score by going to <a href="http://www.kqzyfj.com/click-2822544-10809829-1284618439000?sid=wu-1112797">Credit Karma</a> or <a href="http://www.jdoqocy.com/click-2822544-12336153-1455123184000?sid=wu-1112797">Credit Sesame</a> and signing up for an account at no cost to you.</p> <p>Building good credit, like building wealth, doesn't happen overnight. But by following these steps over the long term, you'll be sure to save the most amount of money possible when you finally find your dream home.</p> <p><em>Have you taken any of these steps to improve your credit? How well did you do?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/darren-wu">Darren Wu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-70000-or-more-with-4-simple-credit-score-boosts">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-credit-cards-to-improve-your-credit-score">How to Use Credit Cards to Improve Your Credit Score</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-most-likely-to-give-you-lousy-credit">5 Things Most Likely to Give You Lousy Credit</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-ways-to-raise-your-credit-score-this-year">7 Easy Ways to Raise Your Credit Score This Year</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-increase-your-credit-score-quickly">7 Ways to Increase Your Credit Score Quickly</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-life-is-amazing-with-an-800-credit-score">5 Ways Life Is Amazing With an 800 Credit Score</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance better credit building credit credit report credit score good credit Wed, 22 Jan 2014 10:48:09 +0000 Darren Wu 1112797 at http://www.wisebread.com Ask the Readers: How Often Do You Review Your Credit Report? http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-how-often-do-you-review-your-credit-report <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/ask-the-readers-how-often-do-you-review-your-credit-report" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/3192623631_63b27c53f5_z-1.jpg" alt="How Often Do You Review Your Credit Report?" title="How Often Do You Review Your Credit Report?" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>Editor's Note: Congratulations to </em><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-how-often-do-you-review-your-credit-report#comment-523936"><em>Diane</em></a><em>, </em><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-how-often-do-you-review-your-credit-report#comment-524068"><em>Megan</em></a><em>, and </em><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-how-often-do-you-review-your-credit-report#comment-523861"><em>Therese</em></a><em> for winning this week's contest!</em></p> <p>Having a good credit score is an important part of your financial health. It is necessary to review your credit report from time to time to check on your credit health and make sure you have no discrepancies with your report. Some people review their credit report once a year while others do it more regularly.</p> <p><b>How often do you review your credit report?</b><span style="font-weight:normal"> Yearly? Monthly? When was the last time you reviewed your credit report?</span></p> <p>Tell us how often you review your credit report and we'll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!</p> <h2>Win 1 of 3 $20 Amazon Gift Cards</h2> <p>We're doing three giveaways &mdash; one for random comments, one for random Facebook &quot;Likes&quot;, and another one for random tweets.</p> <h3>Mandatory Entry:&nbsp;</h3> <ul> <li>Post your answer in the comments below&nbsp;</li> </ul> <h3>For extra entries (1 per action):</h3> <ul> <li>Go to our <a href="http://www.facebook.com/pages/Wise-Bread/26830741467?ref=ts">Facebook page</a>, &quot;Like&quot; us, and leave a comment on this article telling us you did, or</li> <li><a href="http://www.twitter.com/">Tweet</a> your answer. You have to be a follower of our <a href="http://twitter.com/wisebread">@wisebread account</a>. Include both &quot;@wisebread&quot; and &quot;#WBAsk&quot; in your tweet so we'll see it and count it. Leave a link to your tweet (click the timestamp for the individual URL) in a separate comment.</li> </ul> <p><strong>If you're inspired to write a whole blog post OR you have a photo on flickr to share, please link to it in the comments or tweet it.</strong></p> <h4>Giveaway Rules:</h4> <ul> <li>Contest ends Monday, February 13th at 11:59 pm Pacific. Winners will be announced after February 13th on the original post. Winners will also be contacted via email.</li> <li>You can enter all three drawings &mdash; once by leaving a comment, once by liking our Facebook update, and once by tweeting.</li> <li>This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered, or associated with Facebook.</li> <li>You must be 18 and US resident to enter. Void where prohibited.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Good Luck!</strong></p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Tell us how often you review your credit report and we&#039;ll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card! </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-how-often-do-you-review-your-credit-report">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-what-is-your-new-years-resolution">Ask the Readers: What Is Your New Year&#039;s Resolution?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-should-kids-get-paid-for-doing-chores">Ask The Readers: Should Kids Get Paid For Doing Chores?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-how-did-you-spend-your-first-paycheck">Ask the Readers: How Did You Spend Your First Paycheck?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-save-money-on-rent-chance-to-win-20">Ask the Readers: Save Money on Rent? (Chance to win $20!)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-share-your-favorite-frugal-holiday-tradition">Ask the Readers: Share Your Favorite Frugal Holiday Tradition</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Giveaways Ask the Readers credit report Tue, 07 Feb 2012 11:36:33 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 887098 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Prevent Identity Theft http://www.wisebread.com/identity-theft/prevent-identity-theft <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/identity-theft/prevent-identity-theft" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000006931489XSmall.jpg" alt="Secret" title="Secret" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="169" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Identity theft is a growing concern: with surprisingly little information, a thief can do lasting harm to your <a title="Wise Bread's Guide to Credit Scores" href="http://www.wisebread.com/debt/credit-scores">credit score</a> and bank accounts. However, there are steps that you can take to both protect your personal information, as well as handle a situation of identity theft. It's important to be vigilant about your financial privacy; taking steps to protect your information now can save you hours of repairing damage down the road.</p> <h2>Keep your personal information personal</h2> <p>There are certain types of information that identity thieves specifically target:</p> <ul> <li>Social Security numbers</li> <li>account numbers</li> <li>passwords</li> </ul> <p>It's a matter of common sense to be careful who has access to these sorts of information, but it's also worthwhile to take steps to protect them. On the most basic level, that can mean controlling who has access to your personal information.</p> <p>A mailbox can be a prime target for someone interested in obtaining your account numbers, as well as a trash can. Using a locked mailbox can help reduce the number of people with access to the bills and other sensitive paperwork you receive on a regular basis. Shredding any paperwork you throw away is a good next step. It isn't enough to just shred those documents you consider sensitive, however. Someone with time on their hands can reconstruct shredded papers. If you make a habit of shredding extra papers, like junk mail, you can make it harder to put your pages back together again. It's also important to keep paperwork like your vehicle registration and insurance forms safe. While you may keep such papers in your car, keep your car locked when you are not in it. Keeping your computer secure is equally important: keep antivirus, spyware, and firewall software up to date and only provide information online to sites and individuals you trust.</p> <p>It has become somewhat common for people to write down passwords and PINs, or store them in their cell phones. This practice can endanger your personal information. If an identity thief was to get your cell phone or any written down passwords, he could breeze through the protections on your accounts meant to limit access only to you. Choose passwords that you can remember &mdash; preferably longer passwords with combinations of letters, numbers, and symbols that cannot easily be guessed.</p> <h2>Don't give out financial or personal information</h2> <p>Many identity thieves make a point of trying to get you to give them your personal information.</p> <p><strong>Phishing scams</strong> are among the most common methods: you may receive emails that look like they're from your bank or another company you do business with. These emails ask you to log in or confirm your information and typically take you to a website that looks identical to the one operated by your bank. In fact, though, it's a scam meant to collect login information in order to get access to your account.</p> <p>There are scammers who also makes phone calls, claiming to be from your bank or other financial institutions, as well as scams run by text messages.</p> <p>Be absolutely sure that you're connecting with the correct company before you enter personal information. Enter website addresses by hand, rather than clicking on links, and only use listed phone numbers when communicating with banks and other financial institutions.</p> <p>Your protective efforts should include your medical insurance. A growing number of scams make use of unauthorized access to health insurance information to get procedures done on someone who is not insured or convince insurance companies to pay for procedures that were never performed.</p> <h2>Keeping an eye out for identity theft</h2> <p>While it's important to take steps to protect yourself against identity theft, it's also important to keep an eye out for signs that your personal information may have been compromised. Because of the increasing frequency of leaks of information on the parts of banks and other companies, it's possible for the wrong person to wind up with your information even if you do everything right.</p> <p>One of the best steps you can take is to go over your credit report and bank statements on a regular basis, checking for any incorrect information. Dispute anything that is incorrect; you may even catch the first sign that someone has stolen your identity this way, which will make the matter a lot easier to clean up.</p> <h2>What to do if your identity is stolen</h2> <p>If you discover that your identity has been stolen, there are steps you need to take immediately in order to repair the damage. The first step you should take is to make a report to the local police in your area. Depending on your state, you may also be able to file a report with your state's attorney general. Because many identity thefts are not actually a local matter, you will need to file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, which maintains <a href="http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/idtheft/">a page dedicated to identity theft</a>.</p> <p>Once you have filed reports with the appropriate authorities, you'll need to close each account that the thief had access to. Keep track of each conversation you have with the companies that hold those accounts &mdash; you'll need to contact them first by phone and then by certified letter in most cases. You should receive written notification once fraudulent charges have been removed from your accounts. If you do not receive verification, you may need to provide further proof to the company in order to have the charges erased.</p> <p>You should also go through your credit report and dispute any incorrect information or fraudulent accounts opened by a thief. It can take time to do so, but waiting makes them harder to dispute. You can order a copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies, as well as place a freeze on your credit reports. A freeze makes it impossible for anyone to request a copy of your credit report which, in turn, means that no one (including you) can open an account in your name while the freeze is in place.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/thursday-bram">Thursday Bram</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/identity-theft/prevent-identity-theft">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-your-own-identity-what-to-do-when-yours-is-stolen">Get Your Own Identity! What to do when Yours is Stolen</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-increase-your-credit-score-quickly">7 Ways to Increase Your Credit Score Quickly</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-unexpected-benefits-of-secured-credit-cards">5 Unexpected Benefits of Secured Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-why-you-shouldnt-freak-out-if-you-miss-a-payment-due-date">Here&#039;s Why You Shouldn&#039;t Freak Out If You Miss a Payment Due Date</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-things-you-dont-know-about-your-credit-report-but-should">13 Things You Don&#039;t Know About Your Credit Report — But Should</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs credit history credit report How-To Guide identity theft Fri, 08 Jan 2010 04:33:47 +0000 Thursday Bram 6320 at http://www.wisebread.com