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Managing your credit reputation

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What is your credit reputation?

Your credit report and credit score together make up your credit reputation. As soon as you get a credit card, a phone, or even sign up for utilities, you start building what we call a “credit history,” which includes all your status across accounts, total debts, and your payment history. It also contains other details related to your financial activities, such as your known addresses, your date of birth, and your Social Security Number.

All of this personal information is collected and maintained by three credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. Credit issuers and other providers voluntarily send this data about you to the bureaus in exchange for access to the information when they need to make decisions about whether you’re a good credit risk. In other words, will you pay back a creditor if it lends you money?

Building and maintaining “good credit” is a great way to save you thousands of dollars in interest and fees over the course of your lifetime. Whether you need a car loan, a mortgage loan, or a personal loan, a better credit score means a lower rate, which then translates to less interest being charged on your loan. Plain and simple. So, how can you improve your credit reputation once you have credit?

Pay on time.

The best way to look good on your credit report and have a good credit score is to pay your bills on time. Payment history is responsible for about one-third of your credit score.

Reduce the Balance on All Your Credit Cards

If your balances go down and your credit limits stay the same, you lower your credit utilization (or the ratio of balances to limits). The more credit you have left available to you, the less of a risk you’re perceived to be to the lender.

Manage Your Cards Responsibly

Don’t open new cards and don’t close your oldest cards. Opening new cards causes credit inquiries to be registered on your report, which can count against your score. Closing your oldest cards can reduce the length of credit history, and having a long credit history can improve your score.

What is your credit reputation today? Check out your credit report by going to annualcreditreport.com and get your free credit report today. You’ll see where you stand immediately. If you have any questions, please contact one of our representatives.