Don't despair if you have a low credit score. With time and discipline, you can dramatically improve it. Make a commitment to limiting your use of credit. Use the following advice to improve your score.
- Check your credit reports and dispute any inaccuracies. Fixing problems can raise your score. Checking your own credit report does not affect your credit rating.
- Pay off accounts that are with collection agencies. This will not remove them from your credit report, but your score should improve when the accounts are shown as paid.
- Pay your bills on time.
- Pay off debt rather than moving it around. Don't close the accounts. Closing an account doesn't erase it from your credit history. A longer credit history helps increase your score.
- Maintain low balances on credit cards.
- Don't open new credit card accounts just to increase availability of funds.
- If you don't have any credit cards, a secured card can help establish credit.
- Contact your lenders if you are struggling to pay your bills.
- Be aware of the ratio between your credit cards limits and balances. As your balances get closer to your limits, you could lose points on your score.
High Credit Scores Matter
For illustration purposes, pretend that you have applied for a $15,000 car loan with a repayment period of 36 months. The chart below shows the difference in annual percentage rates (APR), payment amounts, and total amount repaid due to differences in your credit score. Notice that the first row with the highest credit scores has the lowest interest rates, lowest monthly payments, and lowest total repaid. With a high score, you would pay $100.00 less per month and $3,600 less over the life of the loan, than with a low score.
|Credit Score||APR||Monthly Payment||Total Repaid|
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CCCS of Chattanooga is committed to outstanding customer service. Our Client Support Department is open daily M-TH from 9am - 8pm and Friday from 9am-5pm EST. Explore our consumer credit counseling services. We offer debt consolidation and debt management programs, bankruptcy counseling, foreclosure prevention counseling, housing counseling, student loan counseling and a variety of financial education programs.