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Credit Management Cheat Sheet 2016

January 4th, 2016 · No Comments · Credit Repair

by Kristy Welsh

(Last Updated On: February 26, 2018)

Credit Management Cheat Sheet 2016

You have a clean slate for treating your credit right in the New Year. Do you know what to do with it? Here are 12 tips for credit management in 2016.

1) Pay your bills on time, every time.

All it takes is one late payment for your credit score to take a hit. So do all you can to stay current on all of your bills, even if that means only making minimum payments on your credit cards.

2) Make more than minimum payments on your credit cards.

If you have outstanding credit card debt, start chipping away it. Double the minimum payment; triple it if you can.

3) Stop using your cards if you’re trying to pay down the balance.

It feels good to make a big payment on an outstanding credit card balance. Don’t negate that by charging up what you just paid off.

4) When you do use your credit cards, only charge as much to them as you can afford to pay off every month.

Ideally, your credit cards should be used only as a means of convenience and to build your credit. Doing that right means only using your cards when they have a zero balance, then paying off what you charged every month (i.e., returning it to a zero balance).

5) Don’t use more than 30 percent of your available credit at any one time.

Your credit utilization ratio makes up a big chunk of your credit score. For best results, don’t use more than 30 percent of it. For instance, if you have credit cards with available credit totaling $10,000, you don’t want to have more than $3,000 charged to the cards at any one time (and even that you still want to pay down to zero every month).

6) If you’re thinking about closing a credit card, think again.

Your credit score is also influenced by the length of your credit history. Closing a credit card will shorten that. So keep it around and considering using it now and then. The only exception to this is if you don’t trust yourself to use it responsibly.

7) If you’re thinking about applying for a new credit card, shop around for the best deal.

It probably won’t come in your mailbox. Here’s how to find the right credit card for you.

8) Request free copies of your credit reports from AnnualCreditReport.com.

You’re entitled to see them every 12 months, from all three credit reporting bureaus – Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. Look at all three all at once, or stagger them throughout the year.

9) If you see errors your credit reports, dispute them with the credit reporting bureaus.

These are things dragging down your credit score. Here’s what to look for on your credit reports and what it means.

10) Debt validation can work wonders on old “zombie debt.”

If a collection agency cannot prove you owe a debt, then you don’t have to pay it. Take them to task with debt validation. (Just be sure to do so within 30 days of receiving the initial communication from the collector.)

11) There is nothing a credit repair company can do for you that you cannot do for yourself.

If you’re intimidated by the credit repair process, don’t be. It takes just a little bit of knowledge, and not much time or skill. You can absolutely do it yourself.

12) If debt validation doesn’t get rid of zombie debt, you can try negotiating a settlement.

If debt collectors are able to prove that debts belong to you, it may be worth negotiating a settlement. Again, this is something you can absolutely do on your own. Keep in mind, though, that there is a statute of limitations. See what it is in your state. If it’s already run out, you are no longer legally required to pay the debt. That said, it can still remain on your credit report for up 7 years, so you may want to negotiate a settlement anyway.

Check out the top 10 credit repair posts of 2015. They can still help you work wonders with your finances in the New Year.

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