It’s never been more important to have a powerful credit score.
Your credit score has an enormous impact on your life. A strong credit score means paying less when you borrow for a mortgage, car loan and other loans. It could mean lower insurance rates, better credit card terms and perks and cheaper cellphone plans.
In some states and with some employers, that three-digit number can even affect whether you get a job. Yikes!
Unfair? Maybe. But it’s the system we have, and it’s critical you know how best to navigate it.
Ready to be a master of your credit score? Here are several suggestions.
1. Get your free credit score
Before you can improve your score, you need to know where it stands now — and why. As noted, some people are all about the DIY credit score fixes. There’s nothing they’re not willing to do, from the challenge of reading a report, to disputing errors, writing “goodwill” letters and researching other ways to fix what’s wrong.
If that’s not you, then there’s a much easier option: Getting a free credit score and analysis from Credit Sesame.
This free consumer credit score site will take an expert look at your current score and credit report. Next, it suggests things you can do to improve the score — which saves you a lot of time in terms of looking up the solutions on your own.
On the subject of saving: Did we mention that all this is free? Stop by Credit Sesame and get your free credit score.
2. Consolidate your credit card debt
Contrary to popular belief, credit card debt isn’t necessarily due to carelessness or greed. Divorce, illness, unemployment and sometimes just plain old bad luck can make it easy to get yourself into debt — and darned hard to get yourself back out.
The longer you’re in debt, the higher the likelihood you miss a payment and hurt your credit. Rather than lose sleep over high card balances, seek help from Freedom Financial Network. Founded in 2002, the company offers a variety of tactics to help those who are mired in debt.
Which one(s) would be best? You’ll find out after the free initial consultation. That’s where a debt consultant goes through your credit report with you, line by line, to assess where you stand. Based on your needs and your budget, you might be offered options like a balance consolidation loan or a debt management program, among others.
Once your debts are consolidated, you’ll have one monthly payment instead of several. Meanwhile, free credit counseling helps you learn money management tactics to further decrease financial stress.
Want to put an end to sleepless nights spent obsessing over your debt? Get started now.
3. Find an extra $700+ by switching your car insurance
As noted, having a lot of debt drags down your credit score. Paying it off with a personal loan is one way of clearing the decks. Another is to retool your budget to find “extra” money and start a rapid debt repayment plan.
How does an extra $700 or more per year sound? That’s the kind of cash folks save by switching auto insurance to Progressive.
Or maybe an extra $1,400 a year if you’re a two-car family? That’s a lot of folding green — and you’ll save it every year. In three years you’d see an extra $4,200 in your bank account; in 10 years, an extra $14,000. What could that kind of money do for the bottom line?
You won’t be sacrificing protection for savings, either. Progressive is a well-established company that provides all the coverage you need.
So take a couple of minutes to get a quote from Progressive. By putting the money you’ll save against that stubborn debt, you’ll be steering a course for financial stability.
4. Let this company fix your credit score
Here at Money Talks News we often write about ways to boost your credit score with techniques you can use yourself.
But be honest: How likely are you to actually do it? Fact is, many of us are too busy and/or too stressed to take on another task, even when we know we should.
Fortunately, Credit Saint exists to help consumers fix their scores. Since 2004, they’ve specialized in credit repair for people who don’t know how or don’t have time to focus on that three-digit number that makes such a huge difference in their financial lives.
They offer a free consultation with an expert who reads your credit report closely, looking for areas to improve. If you sign up, Credit Saint works with the credit bureaus to correct errors and suggests other ways you can boost your score. Credit Saint monitors your reports and provides updates on the progress you’ve made.
It’s okay to acknowledge that you don’t have room in your hectic life for some DIY credit repair. But you need to acknowledge the damage that a subpar score is doing to your finances — and do something about it.
A better credit score will have a lifelong impact, so get your free consultation today.
5. Protect your identity from being stolen
Nothing tanks your credit score faster than identity theft. Maybe a crook gets your credit card info and goes on a shopping spree. But you won’t know that unless you check your credit card balance regularly — and seriously, how many people don’t even read their credit card statements, let alone monitor their spending online?
Or perhaps a thief gets your personal info, opens new cards with your name and immediately maxes them out. You won’t see those fraudulent charges until your credit score inexplicably tanks and you order a credit report to find out why.
Sound scary? It is scary. And it’s not uncommon. But a company like Identity Guard can help keep you safe. Identity Guard has been around since 1996 and uses a powerful artificial intelligence system to scan for threats (including on the dark web).
Identity Guard does a “risk management report” when your web activities suggest potential red-flag issues. It notifies you of potential identity theft risks on your social media platforms. Two of Identity Guard’s plans feature free monthly credit scores and credit monitoring with all three of the major credit bureaus. The company also has tools to keep your financial info secure when you’re paying bills or shopping online.
Being concerned about identity theft isn’t paranoid. It’s prudent. Protect yourself from identity theft now.
6. Borrow $50,000 to erase your debt
Got balances on several credit cards that you just can’t seem to pay down? High compound interest is awesome when you’re building wealth, but when it’s charged on debt you’re paying off, it stinks, because it means you’re paying interest on interest.
Additional bummer: All that interest paid out is money that’s not working for you. Instead of making you richer, it’s making your lender richer.
If you’re paying high rates, consolidating your debt with a lower-interest loan could be your ticket to paying it off sooner. With a free website called AmOne, you could erase all of your credit card debt in record time. AmOne will match you with a low-interest loan to pay off all your credit cards at once — potentially saving you thousands of dollars in interest charges.
AmOne has been a loan matchmaker since 1999, putting consumers in touch with major online lenders for loans of $1,000 and up. It takes about 60 seconds to fill out the form, and in under another minute you’ll get a list of offers from AmOne’s lending partners. Once you choose a lender and complete the application, you can get money in three days or less.
Important: Before you get a consolidation loan, be sure your spending is under control. If it isn’t, borrowing more could make your situation worse. But if you’re ready to clear the decks and get a head start on a debt-free life, take a minute right now and check out your best loan options.
7. Pay 0% APR interest until 2023
Not to beat a dead horse, but: Big credit card balances are likely the top reason that both your score and your budget are struggling. And the more interest you pay, the more your budget shrinks. Think of the opportunity cost of those dollars. You can’t use them any other way except to make a credit card company even richer.
If you qualify, moving your consumer debt onto a 0% balance transfer card can solve one of those problems — and contribute mightily to solving the other. You’ll still owe the money, but with some cards, you won’t pay a penny of interest until 2023. Instead of paying interest, your entire payment will eat away at the principal.
Of course, you need to do the math to make sure the fee you’ll pay (often about 3% of the balance) is worth it. Even more important, you need an ironclad plan for paying off the loan before the 0% APR offer expires. After that, the interest rate shoots up — and wasn’t the whole point to avoid high interest?
Ready to stop paying interest and take control of your cash? Check out a 0% APR interest card.