“Your credit report is a detailed list of your credit history, consisting of information provided by lenders that have extended credit to you.”
A survey from an American Credit Counselling organisation indicated that people are more embarrassed to admit their credit score than their weight. Unlike the unhealthy crash diets that don’t usually work, your credit score could be raised fairly quickly with diligence and consistency.
Credit records are generally checked by the lenders or creditors to decide if they should lend to you. Landlords, insurers or employers might also check your credit score for setting rates and background checks.
There are more reasons than one to keep up an excellent credit score. If you ever want to buy a house, a brand new car or get an insurance policy, a good credit record could get you low-interest rates and premiums for your future purchases.
What’s on a credit report?
The report includes your credit defaults, judgements, insolvencies, and credit enquiries by other companies.
Increase your power over your everyday life by using the following tips to boost your credit report.
Get a copy of your credit report
The first step is to get a copy of your credit report and read it thoroughly. You could get your free reports from the following credit reporting companies in New Zealand.
Get your records corrected
It could happen that your records could be wrong and show errors. If you come across incorrect details, unknown payment defaults or discover unapplied credit accounts, there could be the possibility of identity fraud. You can easily rectify these errors by contacting the credit reporting companies, who would then guide you on their rectification procedure.
Coming across unpaid bills can happen due to the best of us for unavoidable reasons. If this happens to you, try to negotiate with your lender or service provider by offering to pay the remaining balance. You should also request that they change the status or completely remove the default. If you have had a good payment history in the past you can also request a goodwill adjustment from your creditor.
If you are regularly carrying high balances on your credit cards, you could be hurting your credit score. Keep track of your credit limits and don’t max out. Keeping your credit utilisation ratio to 30% or below is helpful. It’s better to carry a balance of $1,000 on a $5,000 limit card with 20% credit utilisation than to carry a balance of $500 on a $1,000 limit card which accounts to 50% credit utilisation.
- To keep your credit utilisation ratio low
- Pay off your monthly balance in full
- Make payments before the credit reporting date
- Raise your credit limit
- Under-use your cards
Maintaining credit cards
Having a credit card can be good for your credit score. If you use it responsibly without maximising your card and pay your bills on time, you could consider maintaining a credit card. One way to keep your card active is to use it for recurring bills such as a phone or utility. Cancelling your credit card will drop your available credit limit and increase credit utilisation ratio, which could affect your credit score.
Making payments on time
Your payment history is taken seriously in your credit reports. Whether you pay late or skip a payment altogether, it has a huge impact on your credit score. To avoid this, you could automate your payments if you are prone to forgetting to pay them. Another option is to pay your bills twice a month. You could choose to make the first payment right before the statement closing date, which will reduce your credit balance and the next payment could be paid just before the due date to avoid any interest or late fees. Timely payments contribute majorly when calculating your credit score.
Raising and maintaining an excellent credit score is not that hard. You don’t have to drown in debt, if you are making your payments on time and not maximising your credit you could easily build your credit score.