A solid credit history can be one of your most useful and powerful financial assets. A record of sensible credit use and prompt payments can enable you to not only qualify for credit when you need it, but it also may enable you to get a lower interest rate.
There are three main credit agencies that gather financial information and then make that information available to lenders to help them determine whether to make a loan to someone. The information they compile includes a great deal of basic data such as age, Social Security number, current and previous addresses, employers and marital status. They also gather information on your borrowing history from places you have borrowed such as credit cards issuers, mortgage lenders and others. Your credit report includes all the credit relationships you have, date established, maximum allowed credit, current balances and payment history.
Indications of a solid credit history:
- Some, but not extensive borrowing
- Prompt payment of monthly bills
- Paying down balances over time
- Steady employment
Items that can hurt your credit report:
- Filing for bankruptcy
- Too many credit cards
- Too many applications for credit
- Late payments
- Increasing credit card balances
It is important to make sure your credit report is accurate and up to date. Consumers can learn more about their right to a free credit report under federal law here. You can also get copies by calling the credit agencies, but there may be a small charge unless you have recently been denied credit.
If you see an error on the report, be sure to contact the credit agency in writing immediately. Tell them of the error and ask that it be corrected. Negative information generally remains in your credit report for seven years and bankruptcies may remain for 10 years. However, most lenders pay particular attention to your most recent couple of years of activity.
Improving your credit score will not happen overnight, but taking these small steps will help! If you are looking for more information about credit opportunities stop by our website to check out Standard Bank’s Credit Cards or stop by a branch for more information.