NATIONAL CREDIT EDUCATION MONTH
National Credit Education Month in March provides opportunities to brush up on your finance skills. Check your credit score and find out why it’s important to keep a clear credit report. Even more important, find out how to improve it.
Financial institutions use credit reporting agencies to verify you are worth the risk of loaning money or opening a credit card. The three major reporting bureaus are Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. Scores range from the very poor range (300-579) to Exceptional or Excellent (800-850) depending on the reporting agency.
What Affects Credit Scores
- Amount of debt you carry – Paying off the amount you charge to your credit cards each month helps to improve this amount. Showing that you are reducing debt each month gradually increases your score over time.
- Age of credit history – The older your credit history (and the longer it is in good standing) shows a trend toward reliable financial standing.
- Reports to collections agencies – Any inaccurate reporting to a credit agency needs to be reported immediately. The sooner you resolve an inaccuracy, the quicker your credit report can be corrected. Obtain a letter from the collection agency once you have been able to confirm the error and submit it to all the credit reporting agencies.
- Late payments – Any time make a late payment, especially on a credit card or loan, this will be reflected on your credit report. Pay early, pay on time. If you use your online banking system to make payments, remember to review your banks turn-around-time for payments. Take their delays into account and schedule accordingly to avoid any late payments.
- The number of hard inquiries for credit – If you are considering a loan for a car or house, each inquiry will be registered on your credit report. When your credit is in good standing, it doesn’t have a big impact.
- The number of accounts – Opening and closing accounts can have an impact on your credit score. Depending on the number of accounts, the impact on your score could be huge.
Throughout the month, take steps to learn more about handling credit. See what you can do to improve your credit score and gauge how you are doing.
HOW TO OBSERVE
Credit Education Challenge
- Guess what you think your credit score is.
- Find out your credit score by using a free credit monitoring program
- Calculate the cost of that much-desired item would really be if you charged it and took 12 months to pay it off.
- Correct any errors or tackle any surprises on your credit report right away.
Use #NationalCreditEducationMonth to share on social media.
Credit Professionals International and Credit Education Resources Foundation sponsor National Credit Education Month.
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