Know your credit score and the key steps to improve it

Your credit score can affect your ability to get a mortgage, get a car loan, or apply for a car loan, line of credit, or credit card. Members may face life challenges at different times in their lives that make managing money difficult: single parenthood, complicated divorces, job loss, changing consumer demands affecting their business, or helping children to attend college or university. Know your credit score and what steps you can take to improve it.

WHAT IS YOUR CREDIT RATING?

A credit score is a number between 300 and 900 that shows your creditworthiness, indicating how risky it is for a financial institution to lend you money. The score is based on your repayment history, your total level of debt, and the number of open accounts and credit cards you have.

  • 800 to 900 is excellent credit. The higher your score, the more likely you are to get higher credit limits and lower interest rates.
  • 720 to 799 is very good credit.
  • 650 to 719 is good credit. But you can’t get the best interest rates available.
  • 600 to 649 is fair credit. Lenders will carefully review your debt repayment history.
  • 300 to 599 indicates risk. Take steps to improve your credit rating.

HOW CAN I IMPROVE MY CREDIT SCORE?

  • Be consistent: Pay your bills on time and in full each month, if possible. This not only includes your credit card, but also things like utility bills. There will be times when you can’t pay in full, but at least make sure you pay the minimum payment.
  • If you think you’ll have trouble paying a bill (or even your mortgage), contact the lender immediately.
  • Never skip a payment, even if an invoice is disputed.
  • Work towards an 800 credit score, which is achievable with several years of positive payment history and a mix of credit accounts, including credit cards and loans. This indicates good money management.
  • Pay off your revolving credit balances: overdue accounts first, then debts with higher interest rates. You may want to consider a debt consolidation loan, which you can discuss with a counselor from North Peace Savings & Credit Union.
  • Lenders consider a minimum of two years at a place of employment and primary residence as a sign of stability, which also improves your credit score.
  • Be aware when you are a debt applicant, too much can have a negative impact on your score.

HOW CAN NORTH PEACE SAVINGS & CREDIT UNION HELP?

Balancing a budget may seem impossible, especially with inflation, but we can help improve your credit score. The important first step is to establish a personal financial plan with a North Peace Savings & Credit Union advisor, which will help you determine how much money you are spending and earning each month. The financial plan should also reflect your savings goals, whether it’s saving for a down payment on a new home or a home renovation.

CHECK YOUR CREDIT SCORE

Stay in control of your credit score with TransUnion and Equifax online (for a fee). Sometimes there are mistakes that can hurt your grade. Request that paid negative entries be removed from your report.