The Absolute Best Tool To Build Your Credit Scores
Want to know the absolute best tool to build your credit scores?
I would be surprised if you said no to that question. Almost everyone cares about their credit, to some degree. And I don’t know anyone that doesn’t want the secret to making their scores improve.
Heck, people throughout the world spend billions of dollars every year on self help books, seminars, programs, DVD’s, and so on, in their constant search for the miracle pill, trick or idea that will magically transform their lives for the better.
Can there really be a solution that is that simple?
The answer is yes. It can really be that simple.
Are you ready for the answer? Okay, here it is. The absolute best tool you can have to build your credit score is a credit card.
Are you blown away right now? Are you filled with excitement at knowing the answer?
I suspect right now you are anything but excited, and are feeling a little annoyed with me. I imagine there are a few of you who feel a little let down by that answer. I suspect some of you are thinking that a credit card is exactly what got you into trouble to begin with. Still others are probably disappointed because you have no desire or intention of ever getting a credit card and may even be insulted that I would tell you to get one.
Well, regardless, the fact remains that a credit card has more than twice the power to affect your credit score positively than any other single thing on your credit.
I can hear some of you sighing now as you lament over how credit cards got you into credit trouble and are the scourge of your credit report and scores.
I can understand that. Any tool that has tremendous capability to do good will also have tremendous capability to do damage. The only thing that determines the positive or negative result is how the tool is used. And that is up to you.
I want you to be able to get the best possible results, so I am going to tell you exactly how to use a credit card as the amazing tool to drive your credit scores up.
1.) Get at least one credit card, if you don’t already have one. Ideally, if possible, get two cards. You don’t need more.
Any card will do, as long as it is an actual credit card. Debit cards and preloaded cards that have the VISA or MasterCard symbol on them do not count. It has to be an actual credit line you have been extended. A secured card can work great if needed.
Get the absolute smallest credit line you possibly can. Don’t worry about the interest rate, but avoid annual fees, if at all possible. Interest rates only matter for those who carry over balances. That is not you.
If you already have two or more credit cards, then don’t get more. It won’t be helpful.
2.) Now that you have a couple of cards, it is time to talk about the use of those cards.
I’m talking to those of you who just got new cards first. This includes those of you who got into trouble with credit cards in the past and are starting over.
For those of you who just got cards, DO NOT CARRY THEM IN YOUR WALLET. They are a tool to build your credit, remember? They are not supposed to be readily available for you to spend money.
The first thing to do is, and I realize this is a slight contradiction to my last instruction, take them with you the next time you go to the store for groceries. Use each card to buy a single small item, from your cart, of about $5 value. Pay for the rest with your regular form of payment.
You will now have a small $5 balance on each new card. Take the cards home and lock them up and don’t touch them. When the bill is due, pay it. Do not pay it early, but pay it in full. Paying early does not help your scores and paying the bill in full limits any additional costs. Repeat this exercise about every three to four months. Simply put a reminder on your calendar.
Another easy option is, if you have a very small reoccurring bill, to pay that bill automatically with the new card and then pay the card from your regular account. This option results in you never actually having to touch the card after locking it up. You just have to check the statement every month to make sure the payments went through properly.
For those of you who already have two or more cards, here is what you need to do.
If you use your cards very sparingly, mimic the cycle noted for beginners. This will have you getting ideal results with minimal effort and cost.
For those who use their cards heavily, call your card companies and find out when they report to the credit bureaus. Make note of those dates. Now plan on making your payments on those cards every month, at such a time so as they clear the account 2-3 business days prior to the reporting date. This will result in the credit bureaus only seeing your account with little or no balance and help your scores the most.
3.) NEVER, EVER, EVER, PAY YOUR BILL LATE
This might seem obvious, but you would be surprised at how many people rationalize late payments. I can’t even count the number of times I have heard the comment “ I wasn’t very late”. That my friends is like saying your not very pregnant. Late should never be seen as okay. Don’t give in the the slippery slope. Aim small, miss small, as the adage goes.
That’s it folks. It is as simple as that, simple but not always easy, especially for those you have multiple cards and use them heavily. For those individuals, I would encourage a new budget that gradually had you setting money aside for expenses, until you were able to pay cash for all those things you are charging to the cards. You still can use the cards, but now you have the ability to make the payments in a timely fashion, instead of waiting for the expense reimbursement to come in. If you are not using your cards heavily due to work related expenses that you get reimbursed for, that you just need to be patient enough to save the money before spending it.
Now I suspect some of you are wondering why it is such a big deal to have the balances paid down before they report.
Here is the short answer: High balances represent risky behavior and the higher you balances are, the more they hurt your credit. Low balances reflect more responsible behavior and help your credit scores grow. The lower the balances are, the more positively they affect your scores. The ideal balance to limit ratio appears from research to be at about 4%. That’s right, the best balance to have reporting to the credit bureaus, to most benefit your scores, is $4 on every $100 of credit limit.
I’ll give you a real life example. I had a client that we had cleaned up his credit report so that there was little or no negative remaining. His scores were in the 620 range. His credit cards all were at about 90% of limit. We had him pay them down the ideal range of about 4% and he saw a 120 point swing in his scores to a 740. That is why it matters.
If you, or someone you know, has run into credit problems and could use a little credit help, a reputable credit restoration company like Heartland Credit Restoration is a great place to start. You will reach your credit goals much faster and safer with the help of a professional, and you will have loan ready credit.
Call me for a free consultation to see how we might be able to help. 319-533-5236.
If you are a lender or realtor that has a client you might have to turn away due to credit problems, then let me see if Heartland Credit Restoration can help change that client into a approved client with loan ready credit.
You should never have to say “NO” to a client. We can help change those into a “YES”.
Call me for a free consultation. 319-533-5236.
Don’t forget to let me know what you think. I always welcome comments. And please do me a favor and share this with your contacts on social media.
I’m looking forward to helping you.
Until then, I hope you have a wonderfully blessed day!