Credit Management: Five Simple Steps Toward Better Credit
There are five simple steps toward better credit management
Step 1: Get the facts
The first step towards better credit management is to see a clear picture of your credit profile. Order your credit reports, credit scores and debt analysis online to get a comprehensive current status. Check that the data from TransUnion, Equifax and Experian matches up. Look out for:
- Incorrect mailing addresses
- Inaccurate Social Security Numbers
- Former employers
- Indicators of identity theft
- Errors in your credit accounts
- Inquiries that you don’t recognize
Step 2: Right the wrongs
Contact your creditors or dispute via the credit reporting companies asking them to correct credit report inaccuracies. The credit companies generally have 30 days to investigate your claim and make appropriate corrections. At TransUnion, you can dispute online, right now – it's fast and easy.
Step 3: Identify problem areas
Look for troublesome areas on your credit report and plan how you can better manage those accounts and behaviors for credit improvement. If it's tough for you to pay your bills on time, sign up for an automated payment service. If you carry balances of more than 35% of your available limit on any credit cards, create a payment plan to reduce those amounts. Set goals for credit management and celebrate reaching milestones.
Step 4: Follow up
Check your credit again 30-60 days after you pay off debts to see if your reports reflect credit improvement. If you feel you need to explain anything, add a consumer statement to your credit report.
Step 5: Monitor your credit
To protect yourself from identity theft, help in credit management, and keep your credit healthy, enroll in a credit monitoring program that will notify you of critical changes in your report. Save copies of your credit reports and letters of dispute in a safe place. Evaluate your progress.