Tuesday, March 8, 2011, PM | 5 Comments
We all know the economy is still in recession even though some economists have indicated otherwise. Unemployment is still quite high. Now, more than ever, one of the most important things you can do is take better care of your most precious assets – your credit. Having good credit has always created paths and opened doors for people. During this time of hardship, it is essential to have good credit to keep the doors open and to keep them from slamming shut.
According to financial media, in this tightening credit environment, lenders are pulling back on everything from home equity loans to lines of credit. Some lenders have shown some relaxation of credit lately. Even if you have a line of credit open, there is no guarantee your bank or another lender will still let you use it.
Take the following 9 Tips of how to take better care of your credit:
Don’t rely on lines of credit
Don’t rely on credit lines as a source of emergency funding. If you have a well-established credit history and you are not in debt, just keep it that way.
Buy only what you can afford
In this lousy economy, it is really a matter of buying only what you can afford. If you cannot pay cash or pay off your credit card balance each month, don’t buy it. Don’t get into debt or more debt.
Try not to miss a payment
For those of us who carry credit card debt, don’t miss a payment. Don’t be late with payments. In the past, a missed payment or two might not have destroyed your credit. But these days delinquent payments may do a lot more harm to your financial health.
Lowering your interest rate
You may also want to check with your credit card company to see about lowering your interest rate or switch your balance to another carrier with lower rates.
Monitor your credit
Most importantly, monitor your credit just as you would any other asset. Review your credit report regularly – at least once a year.
Request free credit report
You are entitled to one free copy of your credit report from each of the three credit bureaus per year. That means you can have your credit report every four months free of charge if you schedule it among the three agencies.
Check your report
Check your report carefully for mistakes, and if and when you find some, contact the reporting credit company immediately. It may take sometime to correct the errors, but it does not cost you anything and it is well worth the effort to keep your credit in good standing.
Credit monitoring service
You might also look into a credit monitoring service that will check your credit periodically and report back to you on any account balance changes and credit inquiries.
Avoid identity theft
In this bad economy, identity theft is common and is on the rise. Besides, the standards for good credit are higher. Therefore, it may be worth the effort and the annual fees to have safeguard your credit.
- Mar 8, 2011: Take better care of your credit | personal finances | fixedinvest.com