Credit Planning for the New Year

By

leah-says-7The new year is fast approaching, and it is the perfect time to make a CREDIT PLAN for 2018! If your credit score could use a boost, creating a plan to help you take the right steps at the right time could mean a much higher score in just a few months.

If you haven’t already in 2017, the first step is to get your FREE annual credit report. Federal law requires each of the three nationwide consumer credit reporting companies – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion – to give you a free credit report every 12 months if you ask for it. They also make it easy to accomplish many credit-related tasks right from your computer.

Simply visit the website at https://www.annualcreditreport.com, and under the “Request yours now” tab fill out the appropriate information and select which reports you’d like to receive. We recommend getting ALL 3 reports, as the info may be different from each reporting agency.

When you receive it, make sure that all of the information contained in your report is accurate, including your personal identity information and the accounts you currently have open.

If you see anything fishy or any mistakes (it happens all the time), each report should include a link and instructions for disputing these errors to the corresponding agency. That means an error found on Equifax report must be disputed with Equifax directly. The same goes for Transunion and Experian. Whatever you do, don’t disregard inaccuracies! Take steps now to avoid credit blemishes that are not necessarily your fault in the coming year.

The end of the year is the perfect time to create a personal budget plan for tackling those accounts that might be having a negative effect on your score. Identify the accounts that need to be taken care of, then create a strategy for altering your budget to get them taken care of. Even a little bit every week adds up to a better score in the future!

If there are accounts listed that are delinquent or have recently been reported to collections, bring those up to date first. Past due accounts have a significant effect on your overall score. Prioritize consumer accounts (credit cards, loans) before any delinquent medical accounts (hospital stays and the like), as they tend to have less of an impact in bringing your score up once payments have been made.  

If you have accounts that are nearing or past your available limit, make plans to bring those balances down as well. Accounts that are maxed out account for 30% of your FICO score.

And by all means, make a New Year’s Resolution to always spay those bills on time. Your payment history accounts for 35% of your overall score! If you’re having problems remembering your due dates, we recommend establishing a 2018 calendar that lists every single payment date you have. Check it every morning, along with your bank account balance then budget your week accordingly… it will help keep you on the right track!

For more information about how your credit score is calculated, check out this handy blog post and chart: https://masonknowsmortgages.com/leah-says/leah-says-credit-score-calculated/

If you need further assistance or advice concerning your credit, reach out to Leah and the Mason Knows Mortgages Team at 877-892-8222. We love to help people get back on track and into the homes of their dreams!