Five credit "resolutions" for 2013 | News
Forget those tired resolutions of losing weight or quitting smoking.
Resolve to clean up and manage your credit instead. Here's five steps toward making that happen, according to Lynn Henderson of LowCards.com:
* KNOW YOUR CREDIT REPORT LIKE THE BACK OF YOUR HAND. "Request the free annual copy of your credit report and go over it with a fine tooth comb to understand every little detail," said Henderson. "Look for inaccurate information, mistakes, fraud and any sign of identity theft. After reviewing your credit profile, you should know where you stand in terms of credit history and your actual credit score."
* IMPROVE YOUR CHANCES FOR SUCCESS. Henderson said if you are paying 20 percent or more interest on your credit card, it's time to shop competitive balance transfer cards. "These cards will typically have an introductory offer of 0 percent for 12-18 months, which can save you hundreds, even thousands, of dollars in interest penalties," she said.
* FORM A GOOD CREDIT PROFILE. "Start with small changes like making sure you pay on time by setting a reminder on your calendar or setting up auto-pay. Then, make sure you never charge more than 33% of your available credit. Also, do not have too many credit inquiries in a short period of time. Consolidate your debt to lower your interest payments and get rid of bad debt."
* IF YOU'RE DENIED FOR CREDIT, THEY HAVE TO TELL YOU WHY. "Creditors now have to disclose the credit score used in making a lending decision as well as the information related to why you were denied or given unfavorable credit card terms. If you were recently turned down for a credit card or other type of financing, you should receive a letter within 30 days showing you your credit score and what negative elements caused the decision to be reached."
* THERE'S NO SHAME IN ASKING FOR CREDIT HELP. "If you're having a bad month and can't make a payment, reach out to the creditor to explain the situation. Credit card companies don't make money when you aren't paying, so they may extend a courtesy to you to help you through rough times. This can range from pushing back a due date a few weeks to perhaps lowering your interest rate so your payments are more affordable."