Tags: Singletary | bill | credit | score

WaPo's Singletary Reveals Best Way to Improve Your Credit Score

By    |   Friday, 12 September 2014 09:56 AM

Don't believe the hype: There is no quick way to repair your credit. But there is a simple way, says Washington Post columnist Michelle Singletary.

If you're serious about improving your credit, the best way to do so is to pay your bills on time.

That doesn't mean pay some bills on time. It doesn't mean respecting due dates some months and thinking it's OK to be a little late other months.

Editor's Note:
Seniors Scoop Up Unclaimed $20,500 Checks? (See if You qualify)

You must pay every debt, every month, on time, writes Singletary.

Thirty-five percent of your credit score is based on your payment history, she explains.

And if you want to kick your efforts into high gear, instead of just paying bills, pay off your debts.

Another thirty percent of your credit score is calculated based on credit utilization ratio, or the amount you owe compared with how much you can borrow.

For instance, if your overall credit limit is $10,000 and your total balance you owe on all of your cards is $5,000, then your credit utilization ratio is 50 percent. Most credit experts advise keeping your credit utilization ratio below 30 percent. A credit utilization ratio of zero will drastically increase your credit score, according to The Huffington Post.

When people want results, they tend to want them quickly. And there is always a slick opportunist looking to take advantage of consumers' impatience.

Don't waste your time or money. Ignore the television ads promising quick fixes and the junk emails with subject lines claiming secret ways to improve your credit, warns Singletary.

There are no complex strategies, no tricks and no secrets. Repairing your credit takes time, but it does not require assistance from any type of credit repair service.

"Like weight loss, slow and steady wins the race," Anthony Sprauve, FICO's director of public relations tells Singletary.

"The average consumer should start to see their FICO score improving three to six months after they begin positive behaviors such as paying down their credit card debts and paying all of their bills on time every time," he explains.

Meanwhile, make sure you aren't being penalized for inaccuracies.

Errors can include a lender falsely reporting late payments, accounts that reportedly went to collections even though you paid them or even accounts opened in your name without your knowledge, according to The Post.

Consumers are advised to check their credit reports from all three major credit reporting agencies at least once a year, but many people don't.

With the Federal Trade Commission reporting that one in five consumers have errors on at least one of their three major credit reports, it's clear that one of the biggest mistakes you can make is avoiding checking your credit regularly, according to U.S. News & World Report.

Editor's Note: Seniors Scoop Up Unclaimed $20,500 Checks? (See if You qualify)

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Don't believe the hype: There is no quick way to repair your credit. But there is a simple way, says Washington Post columnist Michelle Singletary.
Singletary, bill, credit, score
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2014-56-12
Friday, 12 September 2014 09:56 AM
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