Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
About Small Change  |  RSS Feeds RSS Feed  |  On Twitter Ylan  Nancy  |  Email: Ylan  Nancy

How to Raise Your Credit Score

Nancy Trejos

It’s a scary time to have — or need — a credit card.

According to the Federal Reserve’s quarterly survey of senior loan officers, banks are lowering credit limits and scrutinizing potential new customers a lot more.

About 65 percent said they had lowered limits on new or existing customers. In January, just 45 percent said they had done that.

Nearly 60 percent said they have tightened their standards for extending credit. That wasn’t much of a change from January. And nearly 55 percent said they had raised minimum required credit scores over the past three months.

“These numbers show that it is still a difficult time for credit card loans for anyone with less than excellent credit. We don’t see this changing anytime soon," said Bill Hardekopf, chief executive of and author of “The Credit Card Guidebook.”

Having a good credit score is extremely important, especially at a time like this.
Hardekopf offered some tips on raising your credit score, which lenders use to decide if they should extend you credit and at what interest rate. Here they are:

Pay your bills on time. Make at least the minimum payments on your credit cards and loans on time each month.

Keep your oldest accounts open. Longevity looks good on a credit report.

Don’t use more than 30 percent of the credit you have available to you.

Don’t open new accounts all at once. That looks risky.

Diversify. Having a variety of loans, such as a mortgage or car loan, that you pay on time each month, helps your score.

Pay off your balances. Don’t keep transferring your balance. If you can’t pay your bills, contact your creditors to work out a payment plan or see a credit counselor, which you can find at National Foundation for Credit Counseling.

By Nancy Trejos  |  June 12, 2009; 6:22 AM ET
Categories:  Credit Cards , Nancy Trejos  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Exotic Dancers Not So Optimistic
Next: More on Credit Scores: Be Careful Where You Shop


Interesting side note: the company that owns our HELOC just sent us a letter. No, they didn't freeze our loan, which is what I had been expecting. But they asked us for three years of tax returns and recent pay stubs! One of their FAQs on the back was "You didn't ask for financial information when I got the loan, why are you asking it now?" Which seemed to beg the question -- they're asking for it now BECAUSE they didn't ask for it when I got the loan! Anyway, guess I should be glad they are at least looking before cutting, unlike my credit card company. . . .

Posted by: laura33 | June 12, 2009 8:27 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company