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Tips to improve your credit score

Nina Pineda reports on tips people can use to boost their credit score.
Seven On Your Side
March 25, 2014 3:33:03 PM PDT
A good credit score is important for everything from getting a car to buying a home.

There are some things you can do right now to improve your score.

If your credit score is below 600 you need to take action. You really want to strive to be in the high 700's, but don't despair if this is what you see, because you can take steps to fix it!

"You shouldn't feel hopeless," said Lauren Lyons-Cole, of TheStreet.com.

If your score is far from credit-worthy, don't worry says TheStreet.com's Lauren Lyons-Cole, as a certified financial planner, she's helped clients go from zeros to heroes.

"I've actually seen scores go from 500 to 700's in a matter of months," Lyons-Cole said.

Start by pulling your credit report, everyone gets one free report a year, from each of the reporting agencies. Go to annualcreditreport.com and face your number.

Once you see your full credit report, scan it for errors.

Contact the credit bureau ASAP and get rid of any mistakes.

"The FDC has found that 5% of credit reports have an error than can impact your credit score by as much as 25 points. So this is serious. I mean if you have an error you need to fix it," Lyons-Cole said.

The next step is news to many people, you can leave your mark on your credit report.

If there's an item you dispute, tell your side of the story in 100 words or less.

But Lyons-Cole warns to keep it simple so you don't sound like you're making up excuses.

"100 words is three to four sentences so you're not going to say very much, but just say my ID was stolen, my social security number was stolen, credit cards opened in my name, it's been dealt with," Lyons-Cole said.

The next step is easier said than done. Start paying down your credit, even a little.

"You want to start showing your creditor in good faith that you are making payments and that'll help you get current which is really, really important you can't actually fix much with your creditor if you're behind on your payments," Lyons- Cole said.

The last thing you think you may need is another credit card. But by getting new credit you show available credit and that helps your score.

"What you need to do is open up credit and show that you can use it responsibly," Lyons-Cole said.

Here's another tip: a little good will goes a long way, request in writing, that a late payment be erased, or even better see if your account can be re-aged, that means if you show punctual payments, they'll take off the negative back story.


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