If you were recently denied credit or didn’t receive the low interest rate you expected, it could have something to do with your credit score.
These three numbers, which typically range between 300 and 850, represent your creditworthiness and could affect your daily life as well as your ability to achieve long-term financial goals. For example, telephone carriers and utility companies can use your score to determine which product options will require security deposits. Lenders consider these scores when deciding whether to extend credit for home and auto loans.
Credit scores are calculated using data from the credit history report, which you can take steps to improve. Here are three ways to improve your score and your financial well-being.
1. Review your credit history reports
Before you can improve your credit score, you need to review and understand the content of your credit history reports. View your reports and scores in Vermont Federal Online Banking system by accessing the “Credit Score” section. You will also find tips for improving and maintaining good credit health.
In addition to reading recommendations for improving your credit, review each report for errors. Inaccurate overdue payments or accounts that do not belong to you may be incorrectly included in the report. Follow each credit bureau’s dispute policy to have these items removed. Clearing errors from your credit report could quickly improve your credit score.
2. Pay your bills on time
When you don’t pay your bills on time, it affects your credit score and can cost you money. Same 30 days late payment can lower your credit score and result in financial penalties. Always pay at least the minimum due on your accounts each month.
If you have overdue accounts, catch up as soon as possible by redirecting money from other unnecessary expenses into your budget. Overdue accounts could be handed over to collections, further damaging your credit. Make sure future payments arrive on time by setting up automatic bill payments through Online Banking.
3. Keep account balances low
High credit utilization rates can lower your credit score even if you pay your bills on time. Rates are usually calculated by comparing your total debt to your available credit. Credit bureaus recommend balances stay below 30% of your credit limit to positively affect your score.
Pay off your debts to improve your rate and your credit score. Depending on how quickly you want to improve your credit, consider working overtime or taking on a second job and channeling that income into high debt balances.
4. Take advantage of Vermont Federal Credit Union product solutions
New borrowers or those with past credit issues could benefit from Vermont Federal’s Credit builder loan*. This loan can help you establish credit if you are a new borrower or want to restore your credit and increase your overall credit score.
If credit rejections have prevented you from getting new credit, apply for Vermont Federal Equity Secured Visa Credit Card*. This low-interest card requires no credit checks and could help you re-establish a positive credit history. The amount deposited in a securities account secures your credit limit. Make purchases with the card, keep the account balance low and monitor your credit score improvements in Online banking.
*Subject to credit approval.