Keeping up with your credit.

There are many myths about what can hurt your credit score, so let’s get back to the basics: What behaviors can have the biggest effect on that all-important number? Some, like filing for bankruptcy, are obvious. Others may not be – for example, a seemingly responsible move like turning down a credit increase can actually hurt your score and leave you struggling to find ways to fix it. These next few tips will help your credit file, and keep your POINTS, blossoming.

Not checking your credit report for errors.
If you haven’t checked your credit report in a while, now is the time. Most people do not know that in fact, have inaccurate information on their credit report. This alone may become the greatest hindrance to your score. Everyone should take out their three credit reports and review them carefully. To do so, visit to check out your reports for free, or you can use subscription based credit monitoring websites where for a fee you can obtain you reports, credit scores and enjoy credit monitoring. See any errors on your credit file? It is time to get to work.

Not making one payment.
Some consumers do not believe that missing a credit card payment is a big problem. Missing a payment is one of the fastest ways to lower your credit score, and that’s the case even if late payments don’t become a pattern. Late payments account for 35% of your credit file. A payment that is just 30 days late can lower your score by a substantial amount. According to FICO, that substantial amount can go up to 110 points for someone with an excellent score. And once the late payment hits your credit report, it stays there for seven years.

Maximize your credit cards.
The amount you owe, also called “credit utilization,” makes up a large part of your credit score, 30% of your overall credit score. Cards with the maximum limit tell your creditors that you may have trouble making payments in the future. That, of course, can become a drag on your score. The recommended usage is no more than 10% of your available credit if you want to keep your credit score healthy, greater percentages above that could signal to lenders financial instability.

Cancel an unused account.
Why would ditching a credit account you don’t need, hurt your credit score? Again, the answer is the use of credit. If you suddenly have less available credit, your credit utilization will increase, assuming you have balances in other accounts. FICO Score rewards you for using only a small amount of your available credit, you are not rewarded for reducing your access to credit.

Close an old account.
If a credit account you want to close is one you’ve had for many years, your credit score could take a double hit. You will have less access to credit – which is not good – but you are also affecting your credit history. And the longer that history, the better for your score. Canceling an old credit card could have the effect of shortening your credit history, which is a major factor in your credit score, it accounts for 15% of your overall credit file. If it is absolutely necessary to cancel a credit card, cancel a newer account.”

Decline credit increases.
Accept the credit increase – or even apply for one. The secret?-Don’t use it. Again, it’s about the use of credit. Just as closing accounts means you have less access to credit, getting a credit boost means you have more access. You would be surprised to see your score go up when you get a much higher credit limit on a credit card, even if you do not use it much. The utilization rate changes significantly because now you have more total credit available, and if you can resist the urge to use it, you would see a boost on your score pretty soon.

Co-signing a loan.
If someone asks you to be a co-signer on a loan, think long and hard before saying yes. Do they need your help because they are just starting out or because they have lost their credit before? Do they have enough income to keep up with the loan payments and the responsibility to make it a priority? If you are a co-signer, “you are not only liable for the debt, but you will also receive all the impact that comes from the non-payment status of the debt on your credit if should happen.

Apply for a lot of credit in a short time
When you apply for a new loan, a query about your credit history is activated that can lower your score. Usually this is between 2 to 5 points. Applying for multiple credit cards at the same time indicates riskier behavior and may affect your score more. Is best to be informed of what happens, even when you’re “window shopping”. Handling your personal information is enough to potentially affect your score. If you give your Social Security number to a car dealership or furniture store to obtain credit terms, without you knowing most often than not, you just have applied for a loan.

Bankruptcy filing.
You may not have a choice, and the prospect of filing for bankruptcy certainly demands careful consideration. But this is a move that will affect your credit score more than anything else. If you have a high score, you have more to lose. Someone with a high and good credit score of 780 could see their score plummet to 250 points after filing for bankruptcy; someone with a still solid score of 680 could lose up to 150 points.

Settlement of your debt.
Debt settlement – that is, paying only a percentage of what you owe rather than the full amount – is a tempting option for someone facing an overwhelming mountain of debt. This is by far one of the most costly mistakes that happen while you are trying to increase your points. When Debt Settlement is not done RIGHT, your score will not change a bit, in fact, it will drop even more as the account re-ages. In this case, seek professional help.

At Credit Services of America we specialize in Credit Repair, Student Loan Consolidation, Trade Lines, and Debt Settlement. We can help you avoid these mistakes and help you achieve you goals. Give us a call for a FREE credit consultation where an Experience Credit Consultant will design a personalized credit plan for you, and coach you on the best practices to stay on top.

A Goal without a Plan is just a Wish. Give us a call TODAY at 844-FIX-URCR or click on the following link to schedule your FREE consultation and create your personalize plan to achieve your credit and debt GOALS!

*Individual results may vary. Please call for more details and to discuss your own individual situation.