How to increase your credit score

Below are some simple and very important steps to take if your credit requires cleaning up.

    1.  Look for any past due balances on your credit report and bring them current.

    2.  Reduce all outstanding debt to as close to a zero balance as possible.  If unable to pay all debt down, evenly distribute remaining debt among open credit cards.  You may even want to consider opening a new line and transferring some of the balances.  Try to keep balances less that 50% of available credit, and less than 30% has an even greater impact.  Do NOT close accounts whatever you do.

    3.  If married, keep separate credit cards.  This provides flexibility in transferring some or all of the balances to one spouse to increase the credit score of the other.  This also provides the possibility of one spouse becoming the sole borrower without changing the ownership of the home.

   4.   Request an increase in available lines on credit cards to reduce debt ratio, but ONLY DO THIS if your credit card company can do this without a hard credit inquiry.

   5.  Past dues and charge offs - pay only those within the last two years.  Once it is beyond two years, there will be no impact on your score if wiped out.  In fact, the act of paying it off can actually take your score down temporarily.

   6.  On an outstanding debt that is incorrectly charged to you or has yet to be cleared - simultaneously notify the creditor and credit bureau with a request that it be deleted.  They have an obligation to react within 30 days.  If you pay off an outstanding debt (less than two years old), mark the back of the check:  "accepting this check is evidence that the transaction is complete and this charge will be deleted from my card.

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