Will Increasing a Credit Limit Help Your Credit Scores? 

Comment

Will Increasing a Credit Limit Help Your Credit Scores? 

When it comes to improving your credit, there are a lot of different strategies which can help you to reach your goals. Of course, paying your bills on time, every time is the first place you should start. You can also work with a credit repair professional to help try to clean up inaccurate and unverifiable information off your credit reports. You may be able to pay down credit card debt to bring about a positive credit score increase as well. However, there are also some lesser known credit improvement strategies which might surprise you.  

How Will a Credit Limit Increase Impact Your Credit Scores?

If you are approved for a credit limit increase, the higher limit will often have a positive impact upon your credit scores. However, this is not always the case. Determining whether or not a credit limit increase is likely to increase your credit scores is going to depend upon a variety of factors. Let's walk through them together.  

1. Will a credit limit increase lower your revolving utilization ratio?

Credit scoring models like FICO and VantageScore are built so that they pay a lot of attention to the relationship between your reported credit card balances and your account limits. This relationship is known as your revolving utilization ratio. Here is a quick example to show how revolving utilization is calculated:

  • Original Credit Limit: $5,000
  • Account Balance on Credit Report: $1,000
  • Revolving Utilization Ratio: $1,000 (Balance) ÷ $5,000 (Limit) = 0.20 X 100 = 20%

The lower your revolving utilization falls, the better the impact is for your credit scores. Naturally, paying off your credit card balances is probably the best way to achieve a lower revolving utilization ratio. However, if you cannot afford to pay down your credit card debt sufficiently, a credit limit increase might lower your revolving utilization as well. Here's how it works:

  • Increased Credit Limit: $10,000
  • Account Balance on Credit Report: $1,000
  • Revolving Utilization Ratio: $1,000 (Balance) ÷ $10,000 (Limit) = 0.10 X 100 = 10%

As you can see in the example above, the revolving utilization ratio was cut in half simply by increasing the credit limit on the account. This would be very likely to have a positive credit score impact.

2. Can a credit limit increase hurt your credit scores?

Generally a credit limit increase will not harm your credit scores. However, if your credit card issuer wants to check your credit report in order to review your request for a limit increase (a common requirement) then a hard inquiry would be added to your credit file. If your request for a limit increase is denied (typically due to credit problems), then you will have undergone a hard inquiry with no upside.

Hard inquiries have the potential to damage your credit scores. Of course, you should keep in mind that not every hard inquiry automatically has a damaging effect upon your credit scores and, even when they do, the impact is typically minor. If your request for a credit limit increase is approved and the result is a lower aggregate revolving utilization ratio, the overall result for your credit scores will still probably be positive in spite of the new inquiry.

Managing Your New Credit Limit Increase

It is important to remember that while a well-managed credit card account can potentially be great for your credit scores, credit card debt is another story. Credit card debt can be both expensive and can damage your credit scores, even if you make all of your monthly payments on time. If you request a credit limit increase as a strategy to help boost your credit scores, you will have to be extra vigilant and commit to not charge up additional debt. Otherwise, or you could find yourself in a difficult situation to manage in the not-so-distant future.  





credit-expert-michelle-black

Michelle Black is an author and a credit expert with nearly 2 decades of experience, the credit blogger at HOPE4USA.com, a recognized credit expert on talk shows and podcasts nationwide, and a regularly featured speaker at seminars on various credit and financial topics. She is an expert on improving credit scores, credit reporting, correcting credit errors, budgeting, and recovering from identity theft. You can connect with Michelle on the HOPE4USA Facebook page by clicking here.


Comment

Where Do Credit Scores Come From?

Comment

Where Do Credit Scores Come From?

Where Do Credit Scores Come From?
by Michelle Black, CreditWriter.com

Credit scores can affect your life in many important ways. First, anytime you apply for a mortgage, car loan, credit card, or financing of any kind, your credit score will typically be looked at to determine whether you are approved or denied for your financing application. If you are approved, your credit scores are looked at again to determine the type of interest rate and terms you will be offered. Credit scores are often the #1 factor considered whenever you apply for a loan.

Since credit scores are generally the first key to loan approval, it is important to understand where your credit scores come from and how they are calculated. There are 3 major credit bureaus in the United States: Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. If a lender were to pull your credit report and score from each of the 3 bureaus, all 3 of those scores would likely be at least a little different.

There is more than one type of credit score available as well. In fact, there are hundreds. Currently, the type of credit score brand which is most commonly used by lenders is the FICO Score (though VantageScore continues to gain ground in the marketplace).

FICO Scores range from 300 - 850 with higher credit scores indicating less credit risk. The following chart shows the basic makeup of how your FICO credit scores are calculated:

hope-4-usa-credit-scores-explained

Payment History, which considers factors pertaining to how you have managed your credit obligations both currently and in the past, accounts for 35% of your FICO Scores. This category can also be described as "the presence or absence of derogatory information."

If you have a history of making late payments on your financial obligations, your credit score will almost certainly be on the lower end of the spectrum. It may sound crazy, but some late payments could potentially damage your credit scores more than any other factor on a credit report including bankruptcy, foreclosure, or repossession (especially if the late payment is severe, recent, and if the account is currently past due).

Amounts Owed accounts for 30% of your FICO Scores. The primary factor considered within this category is your revolving utilization ratio. FICO's scoring models will consider the amount of credit card debt (aka balances) on your credit report and will compare it to your available credit limits. This higher your debt to limit ratio climbs on your reports, the worse the impact will be upon your scores.

Here is an example of how revolving utilization is calculated. If you have a credit card with a $500 limit and your credit report shows a $500 balance on the account, your utilization ratio is 100%. At 100% utilization your credit scores are practically guaranteed to be impacted negatively. However, keep that same credit card account paid off and your credit scores will almost certainly receive a boost. High credit card balances can significantly lower your credit scores, even if you pay every single monthly payment on time.

Length of Credit History makes up 15% of your FICO Scores. FICO considers the average age of your credit lines as well as the age of your oldest account to determine how many points will be awarded to your credit score for this category.

The older the accounts appearing on your credit reports, the better. Merely opening a new account can potentially lower your credit scores, even if you have never missed a payment on the account – so proceed with caution when applying for new credit. You do not have to be afraid to open new credit; however, you should probably develop the habit of only opening new credit when really necessary.

New Credit makes up 10% of your FICO Scores. One of the primary factors considered within this category is how often you apply for new accounts.  Every time your credit report is pulled as part of an application for financing a record of the pull, known as a "hard inquiry," is added to your credit report(s).

Hard inquiries have the potential to impact your credit scores negatively. However, a “soft inquiry” of your credit report (such as requesting a copy of your own personal credit report) does not hurt your credit score at all.  If you have not reviewed your credit reports in a while, you are entitled to a free copy of all 3 of your reports every 12 months from www.annualcreditreport.com. Checking your reports at least several times a year for errors is highly recommended.

Types of Credit Used accounts for the final 10% of your FICO Scores. To maximize your scores in this category it is important to have the right mixture of account types on your credit reports. FICO rewards consumers who show that they have experience managing a variety of account types (i.e. mortgage accounts, revolving accounts, installment accounts, student loans, etc.). The more diverse the accounts on your credit reports the better your scores will fare.

Have specific questions about your credit reports? Our caring credit experts are here to help. Please contact us via email or call 704-499-9696. We would love to hear from you!

Don't forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter!


michelle-black-credit-expert.jpg

Michelle Black is an author and a credit expert with nearly 2 decades of experience, the credit blogger at HOPE4USA.com, a recognized credit expert on talk shows and podcasts nationwide, and a regularly featured speaker at seminars on various credit and financial topics. She is an expert on improving credit scores, credit reporting, correcting credit errors, budgeting, and recovering from identity theft. You can connect with Michelle on the HOPE4USA Facebook page by clicking here.







Comment

Preparing Your Credit for a New Mortgage

Comment

Preparing Your Credit for a New Mortgage

So you are ready to take the plunge and apply for a new mortgage loan this year? Great! Congratulations on making the decision to become a homeowner. With low interest rates, tax advantages, and a host of other benefits that come along with purchasing a home, you have about a million reasons to break free from the shackles of renting.

You can set yourself up for success during your entire home buying experience by knowing what to expect ahead of time. Most importantly, you should be sure that your credit is in tip top shape so that you can qualify for the most attractive rates and terms available on your new mortgage. Check out these 5 steps to help you get started.

1. Check Your Credit

There’s nothing worse than filing out a mortgage application only to find that some unwanted “surprises” have shown up on your credit reports. Unfortunately, this is a very common problem. However it doesn’t have to be since you can access your own credit scores and reports online 24/7. Plus, contrary to a popular credit myth, checking your own credit does NOT harm your credit scores whatsoever.

CLICK HERE for a list of great resources where you can access your 3-bureau credit reports and scores. Finding out exactly what is on your credit reports prior to your loan application should definitely be the first item on your “to do” list during the home buying process.

2. Dealing with Surprises

If your credit reports were all 3 squeaky clean when you checked them in step 1, then skip down to step 3. However, if you found errors or blemishes on your credit reports then you may have some work to do before applying for a mortgage.  Remember, you have the right to dispute inaccurate and unverifiable accounts with the credit bureaus. You can dispute accounts on your own, but you also have the right to work with a professional if you are too busy or feel overwhelmed by the process. CLICK HERE to schedule a no-obligation credit analysis to develop a professional plan to help you work toward cleaner credit reports.

3. Optimize Your Scores

Even if you have no errors or derogatory items on your credit reports (i.e. collection accounts, charge-offs, tax liens, judgments, etc.), it may still be possible for you to improve your credit scores. Take a long hard look at your credit card balances. Paying your credit cards down to $0 can potentially have a very BIG impact upon your scores. (CLICK HERE to read “The Perfect Credit Card Balance.”)

Can’t afford to pay off all of your credit cards? You still have options. Paying down even a few of your cards to zero might still be beneficial to your credit scores. Plus, you can always consider a debt consolidation loan to transform that score-lowering, revolving credit card debt into much more credit score friendly debt – an installment loan.

4. Avoid Mistakes!

When preparing to apply for a mortgage, you need to be a credit boy scout. You don’t want to make any credit mistakes which could result in lower credit scores and a loan denial. Some of the most common mistakes you will want to avoid include making late payments on existing accounts, charging up your credit card balances, opening new accounts (that new car loan needs to wait!), and having your credit reports pulled excessively by lenders.

5. Monitor Your Credit Reports and Scores

There is no better time to keep a close eye on your credit scores than while you are preparing to apply for a mortgage. However, with so many credit monitoring options available, it can be difficult to choose. Keep in mind that a credit monitoring service which allows you to keep an eye on just one credit bureau and one credit score is not going to be enough. After all, when you apply for your mortgage the lender is going to take a look at all 3 of your credit scores and all 3 of your credit reports – Equifax, Trans Union, and Experian. CLICK HERE for a list of several different 3-bureau, 3 score credit monitoring services to see which one is the best fit for you.

Buying a new home is an incredible and exciting experience. However, credit problems during the mortgage application process can often turn what could be a wonderful experience into a nightmare. Follow these 5 steps above and set yourself up for mortgage success. It can be tempting to take shortcuts, but putting in the work on your credit ahead of time will pay off every time.


michelle-black-credit-expert

Michelle Black is an author and a credit expert with over a decade of experience, the credit blogger at HOPE4USA.com, a recognized credit expert on talk shows and podcasts nationwide, and a regularly featured speaker at seminars on various credit and financial topics. She is an expert on improving credit scores, credit reporting, correcting credit errors, budgeting, and recovering from identity theft. You can connect with Michelle on the HOPE4USA Facebook page by clicking here.



Trending Articles

Comment

7 New Year's Resolutions to Improve Your Credit

Comment

7 New Year's Resolutions to Improve Your Credit

Whether or not you are a believer in New Year's resolutions it is a smart idea to take an honest look at your credit from time to time in order to see how it can be improved. Good credit can help you to save tons of money, get approved for the loans you need, and can even help you to land a better job. It is 100% worth your time, energy, effort, and money to work towards achieving and maintaining the best credit possible.

Here are 7 steps that every single person can take to make steps toward having better credit this year.

1. Pay every bill on time.

The importance of paying your credit obligations on time, every time cannot be overstated. In FICO's credit scoring model a whopping 35% of a consumer's credit scores are assigned based upon factors included in the "Payment History" category of a consumer's credit reports. If late payments do occur you can bet the bank that they will have a very negative credit score impact.

2. Cut spending.

Overspending is perhaps the #1 cause of credit problems for most Americans. When consumers charge more than they can afford to pay off in any given month not only do they hurt their credit scores by doing so (yes, credit card debt can in fact lower credit scores even when payments are made on time), but they also set themselves up for financial problems and serious credit problems in the future. In fact, overspending can lead to late payments, collections, judgments, and even bankruptcy if the problem is left unchecked.  

3. Make a plan.

Failure to plan is the same as planning to fail. A well planned budget is a crucial step towards healthier credit. Smart consumers tell their money where to go instead of wondering where the money went after it has already been spent. CLICK HERE for a free copy of the HOPE4USA Basic Budgeting Worksheet to get started.

4. Establish credit.

Credit cards can be extremely useful tools in building or rebuilding better credit, as long as they are managed properly (on-time payments and never revolving a balance from month to month). Even consumers with credit issues can qualify for many secured credit cards. CLICK HERE for a list of credit cards to compare and see which ones might be a good fit for you.

5. Become familiar with your credit reports and scores.

Every consumer should be in the habit of checking all 3 of his credit reports often. The credit bureaus and your creditors are obligated by law to report accurate information on consumer credit reports. However, it is up to you and you alone to ensure that the information contained on your credit reports is actually correct.

You can access your 3 free credit reports each year at www.annualcreditreport.com (credit reports only, not scores). You can also access your credit scores for a fee or as part of a free trial offer from a credit monitoring service. CLICK HERE to compare credit monitoring services which may offer free or low cost credit scores as part of their introductory offer.

6. Correct errors.

Errors occur on credit reports all the time. In fact, in 2013 the Federal Trade Commission released a study which found over 40 million errors to be present on consumer credit reports. If you discover incorrect or suspicious information on your credit reports then you have the right to dispute that information according to the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

Disputes can be handled yourself or you also have the right to hire a professional credit expert like our HOPE4USA team to assist you. CLICK HERE to schedule a no-obligation credit analysis with a HOPE4USA credit expert to learn more about how our team can help you fight for the better credit you deserve. Fixing credit problems can certainly be a difficult job, but it is not a job that you have to do alone.

7. Establish goals.

The final tip is perhaps the first step that you should take as you set out on your journey toward better credit. Identify the reason why you want to achieve better credit. Do you desire to purchase a home for your family? Is your goal to have the strong credit you need to finance your education or the education of your children? Do you need better credit to start or build a business? Building better credit can be a long, hard journey (especially if you are working alone without professional help). Your "why" can help you to stay the course even if you feel frustrated or impatient at certain points within your journey. Your "why" is also the reason that all of your hard work will be worth it in the end. 







michelle-black-credit-expert

Michelle Black is an author and a credit expert with over a decade of experience, the credit blogger at HOPE4USA.com, a recognized credit expert on talk shows and podcasts nationwide, and  a regularly featured speaker at seminars up and down the East Coast. She is an expert on improving credit scores, credit reporting, correcting credit errors, budgeting, and recovering from identity theft. You can connect with Michelle on the HOPE4USA Facebook page by clicking here.



Comment

Tackling Your Holiday Credit Card Debt

Comment

Tackling Your Holiday Credit Card Debt

You may have began the holiday season with a firm conviction: I will not overspend this year. I will only spend what I can afford. I will not go into debt. Yet the truth is that despite the best intentions, we Americans are notorious for digging ourselves into big financial holes during the holidays.

If you find yourself wanting to run away and hide from your impending credit card statements, this article was written specifically with you in mind. It is too late to undo the damage your holiday spending sprees may have caused, yet that is no excuse for wallowing in self pity for the next few months and allowing the damage to fester.

Excessive credit card debt can place a burden upon you financially and can damage your credit scores as well. As a result, it is important for you to take action immediately so that your credit and your finances can start to recover.

Make a List, and Check It Twice

The first component in your post-holiday recovery plan needs to be a detailed list of the damage which has already been done: aka a list of your outstanding credit card balances. You should begin the list by writing the smallest balance at the bottom and working your way upward. Here is an example to help you get started.

·        ABC Bank Card: $2,000 Balance

·        XYZ Bank Card: $1,500 Balance

·        QRS Bank Card: $800 Balance

Start at the Ground Floor

Credit card debt harms your credit scores even when you make all of your monthly payments on time. The reason why credit card debt can cause so much credit score damage is because 30% of your FICO credit scores are largely based upon your revolving utilization ratio (aka your credit utilization). Your credit utilization is basically the relationship between your credit card limits and your credit card balances. The closer your balances climb to your limits the worse the impact will be upon your credit scores.

Credit scoring models like FICO and VantageScore pay attention to the credit utilization ratio on all of your credit cards combined and also to each of your credit card accounts individually. This means that each time you pay a credit card account off you will probably see at least some credit score increase. In fact, when you pay a credit card balance down by even a mere 10% you might begin to see some positive credit score movement.

By paying off your lowest credit card balances first you may be able to bring about a positive increase in your credit scores more quickly. For example, paying off the $800 on the card with the smallest balance in the example above (QRS Bank) would probably help your credit scores more than if you paid the same $800 on either of the cards with the higher balances (ABC Bank or XYZ Bank). Starting at the ground floor and working your way up as you pay off your credit card debt will give you a lot more bang for your buck.

A Commitment to Change

The most important step you can take as you work toward eliminating your holiday credit card debt is to resolve to break the bad habit of overspending once and for all. In fact, if you will cut your spending in other areas you could free up additional funds to help you wipe out your credit card debt much more quickly. Paying off your credit card debt may not be easy and no one ever said that cutting spending is fun, but making a positive financial change is worth the sacrifice. Take control of your finances so that your finances won't control you.

 





michelle-black-credit-expert

Michelle Black is an author and leading credit expert with nearly a decade and a half of experience, a recognized credit expert on talk shows and podcasts nationwide, and a regularly featured speaker at seminars across the country. She is an expert on improving credit scores, budgeting, and identity theft. You can connect with Michelle on the HOPE4USA Facebook page by clicking here.


Comment