Stay financially fit by following 9 amazing tips

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If you want to get good financial health and maintain it for a long time, then you should try to change your lifestyle, just like you do to have a good, healthy body. What type of changes do you need to consider? You must adapt to the changes that will put you on a positive lifestyle and add good financial habits in your daily routine.

Do not wait for a financial crisis knocking at your door. You should manage your finances by increasing your financial knowledge, making proper plans, and most importantly maintaining good financial habits.

So, what are you waiting for? Gather knowledge and become smarter so that you may use your every dollar to grow your wealth more. Follow these 9 tips and stay financially fit as much as you can.

9 Amazing tips you must follow to stay financially fit

Here are 9 tips that may help you get good financial health:

1. Analyze your every monetary activity

You should find the specific reasons for your money-oriented activities. You must know why you are doing a job, why you are saving, why you should invest, and why you need to spend on a thing. If you don’t know why you are doing such money activities, you’ll practically run out of motivation to work for a purpose. You can’t live without any monetary aim, because there’s nothing that may guide your financial behavior.

2. Learn from your past financial mistakes

You should review your old money mistakes and take notes on the things that you have learned from them. You might have gathered too much debt during the last vacation tour you had. You might have purchased insurance for your car without analyzing the benefits and the additional costs. You might have purchased too many commodities by using your credit card, due to impulse buying habits. Mark my words, you should learn from these mistakes and avoid such activities in the future. You can consider yourself as a financially literate person, only if you identify your past mistakes and take necessary steps to rectify those wrong financial moves. That’s how you can start following wise financial habits and stay financially fit.

3. Set goals and make a proper assessment

Did you set up a target that you want to achieve in the coming 5 years? Is there any plan that may engage your mind and resources to get something beneficial for your future? Ten years from now, where do you want to see yourself, both personally and professionally? Sort out these answers, and pick up the top 5 out of them. These five objectives might be your top five goals for the coming years. Keep those goals pinned in front of you, where you may see them regularly.

Financial goals should be categorized into short, medium and long-term goals. One of the most popular ways to define financial goal is the SMART method that you can use:

  • Specific-Setting up a specific amount of goals.
  • Measurable-Where progress can be measured or tracked.
  • Assignable-Take personal accountability.
  • Realistic-Setting up practical goals that can be achieved.
  • Timeline– Goals should have a specific deadline.

4. Create a budget for financial freedom

Making a budget is nothing but forming plans on how you should use the available money properly. Making a proper budget and following it exactly the way it is planned, is necessary for good financial health. It is proven that the first step in completing financial goals is budget planning.

Budgeting will indicate where your income is going and how you can reduce unnecessary costs from each category. This way you may save enough money from your allotted monthly budget and use that money for other purposes, such as paying off debts, doing some repairs on your car, or you may deposit it in a retirement savings account. You might have issues setting it up initially, but once you chalk out a plan and use it for a couple of months, you’ll get it right.

5. Create an Emergency Fund 

Creating an emergency fund is a necessary step for every individual who has a family, earns money by doing a regular job, and pays taxes. You never know when you have to face a sudden financial crisis, such as sudden medical emergencies, job loss, or urgent car repair or home repair jobs, etc. If you don’t have an emergency fund ready, to fight against such a financial crisis, you might be forced to use other money resources like credit cards or personal loans. The main issue with this solution is, they are costly and hampers your monthly budget for the next several months.

6. Diversify your investment

You should diversify your investment options to get better returns from different types of investment resources. Every investment carries a typical amount of risk. So, if you want to minimize the risk of your capital loss, you must diversify the investments and build a strong portfolio.

Investing in multiple types of investment options is a wise financial habit that can keep your finances healthy. The variation of return rates and the risk factors may enrich your investment portfolio, and also increase your net worth.

7. Work on investment cost and tax management

The cost of investment and taxes may affect your finances well. If these costs increase too much, it can lower your total amount of investment returns. You should work on a strategy that may allow you to reduce the cost of investments and also give you tax efficiency.

8. Increase your income by doing different side hustles

Your monthly income will decide how much you can, save, invest, and spend each month, towards small and big financial goals. You should focus on increasing your income as much as possible. If you are doing a full-time job, and you have enough time after that, then you should engage in some side hustles to earn some extra. You may invest your time in giving online tuitions, music classes, working in a library, working in food joints or cafes. This income is considered passive income, which is very important for financial development.

9. Get out of debt burden

Whether it is a good debt or bad debt, secured or unsecured, debt is debt!!! You should always focus on getting out of debt as soon as possible. Normally secured debts, such as a home loan, have a long loan term to pay it off. So, comparatively unsecured debts, such as credit card debts, payday loans, or medical bills, are easier to pay off.

If you have financial issues to pay off debts, then you can talk to your creditor and sort out an easy repayment plan. It is best to avoid high-interest debts, or at least you may try to make debt payments on time. Without paying off existing debts you can’t stay financially healthy for long.

Endnotes

Maintaining good financial health is difficult, but not impossible. You must follow those good financial habits and stay financially fit. This way you may increase your net worth and become financially free. Best of luck.

7 Ways To Protect Your Credit From Identity Theft!

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Hey buddy! Do you remember every store or website you have swiped your card?

Well, I know that it might not be possible for you! But you know what? Thieves and hackers can strike anywhere and at any time!

Yes, you heard it right! I think, barely a month goes by without seeing a major data breach hitting the news headlines! By the way, is your financial data safe?

If you have any doubt, then you should be more cautious to safeguard your information to prevent identity theft. And take some concrete steps to take if you are already a victim!

So, here we have listed some of the best possible measures you can take to protect your credit from identity fraud!

Let’s start!

Freeze your credit

A credit freeze can help you to protect yourself from identity theft by blocking access to your credit reports. You need to inform all three major credit reporting bureaus to restrict access to your records. Such that, new credit lines cannot be opened unless and until you unfreeze your account.

Let me tell you, freezing and unfreezing your credit at each bureau comes free of cost! Usually, you need to provide your Social Security Number (SSN), birth date, etc. that confirm your identity. You can use a PIN or password to unfreeze your credit when you need it!

Go through your credit report at least thrice a year

The baby step to protect your credit from identity theft is to stay informed! You can get a
free credit report from each of the credit bureaus once a year.

To stay well-informed about your credit reports, you can get a report from one bureau at the beginning of the year, another in the middle, and another at the end of the year.

But why will you do so?

If you check your credit reports often, you can identify any odd activity that might pop up. Here we have listed some of the identity theft red flags which you should look for on your credit reports:

  • Sudden activity on your inactive accounts
  • A new line of credit which you haven’t opened
  • Wrong personal information
  • A credit inquiry you have not applied for

So, if you see something odd on your credit report, you need to take immediate action! You have the right to dispute any incorrect information.

Contact the concerned credit bureau along with supporting documents so that they can look into the issue asap!

Enroll in a credit monitoring service

Are you eligible for free credit monitoring?

Well, if you are not, you don’t need to worry! You can purchase credit monitoring! You can find many credit monitoring companies that will charge you a monthly fee of around $30. But I would suggest you review the services included before signing up with a credit monitoring company.

But what is meant by credit monitoring?

Well, credit monitoring keeps a tab on your credit reports and alerts you of any change in them. If someone tries to use your data to open a credit account, you can know right there instead of any data breach later on! So, you can enroll in a credit monitoring service for credit card fraud protection.

Don’t access any unsecured Wi-Fi network

You might be enticed to access the free Wi-Fi while taking a sip in your cup of coffee in a cafe! But you should refrain from using these public Wi-Fi networks because it’s unsecured! Anyone who is using that same open network can get access to your information.

I would suggest you wait until you get home! But make sure to secure your home WI-Fi with a strong password.

Else, anyone can hop onto your network and access your information. Don’t give a fraudster any opportunity to steal your information!

Protect your computer

You can protect yourself from identity theft by doing the following things in your computer or smartphone, like:

  • Use a firewall and a secure browser
  • Don’t download any files from unauthorized sources
  • Don’t use a free of cost internet security or antivirus
  • Put a separate password for any personal or financial information
  • Don’t create a password which is based on your available data (like your date of birth, anniversary date, etc.)
  • Stay away from opting for the auto-login process (which stores your login information)
  • Most importantly, when you are disposing of your computer, make sure to delete all your personal information and overwrite the hard drive.

Don’t use your debit cards for online purchases

Do you use debit cards for your online purchases?

Now, let’s say that your debit card information is hacked due to your stolen identity. And some purchases are made without your knowledge.

If you want to get your money back, you have to take up the issue with your bank. Whereas, with a credit card, the card issuer will fight to get your money back.

There are two laws to protect you if your card information is stolen and fraudulent transactions have been made

  • In the case of debit card transactions, the Electronic Funds Transfer Act (EFTA) is applicable. You will have up to 60 days to report a lost or stolen card under the EFTA. After that, you will lose whatever money you have lost!
  • On the other hand, for credit cards, your maximum liability for fraudulent transactions is $50.
    If there is a fraudulent transaction on your credit card, you don’t lose any money.
    You need to report the fraud to the credit card company and they will credit back the amount to your account. And most likely, the issue will never affect your bank account!
  • However, you need to use your credit cards wisely like making payments on time, keeping your credit utilization ratio lower, etc. Else, you might be vulnerable to fall prey to the debt trap

    But what if you are already a victim of stolen identity?

    If you are already a victim of identity theft, you can contact the major credit bureaus to place a fraud alert on your credit reports. This way, you can give a heads-up to potential lenders and creditors that someone might be trying to use your credit to apply for credit.

    A fraud alert is a statement in your credit reports that alerts anyone viewing the reports that you might be a victim of fraud or identity theft. This alert can lead the creditors to perform more thorough vetting before extending the credit line in your name.

    Usually, a fraud alert lasts from about 90 days to 7 years and notifies the creditors to confirm your identity before taking actions on your credit.

    So, what are you thinking?

    Check whether or not your data is safe at the earliest! And if you think that you are vulnerable to identity fraud, take the proper action immediately!

Amazing credit building tips for 2020 – How to start being a teen

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People normally start building their credit with a disadvantage. Initially, there’s no credit in their pocket, so they’ll use credit to build credit, and with no substantial credit history. But initially, it’s quite hard to get loans or get approved for credit cards….. If you’re under 18 and have zero credit history. You can’t even legally get a credit card in your name.

But here I am sharing with you some amazing credit building tips that might help you to build credit even if you are below 18. So, let’s start building good credit and know how to maintain it properly.

1. Find a job

Getting a job isn’t directly helpful for building credit. But being employed and earning money is important in qualifying for credit. With long experience in your workplace, your chances are greater to grab a better, higher paying job in the future. So, it is better to get a job as early as you can.

As per the CARD Act of 2009, students and teenagers, who can show their affordability to repay debts before, can open a credit card account. Having a job will help you with that. When credit card companies find you that you have a decent job with a long work history, you are more likely to get a credit card.

2. Start with a checking account

A checkbook isn’t as attractive as you can swipe your credit card. However, somewhere down the line, you know that it can be a great way to learn the basics of budgeting. Teenagers should start with a checking account and a debit card. Keep practicing to become frugal and then use a credit card.

Many banks and credit unions may offer you “minor” or “student” checking accounts. The accounts are offered with lower fees than normal accounts. You may add a debit card with the checking account if your parents feel that you are prepared to handle it.

3.Prepare a budget

You, being a teenager, must learn how to create a budget. It is a very simple method; all you have to do is to prepare a strategy for how to allocate money that is coming. You should also keep in mind that tracking your spending is necessary. This will help you to compare what your budget was and what you have spent every week or month.

4. Be a co-signer

Federal legislation now requires anyone aged 18 or under to have a parent or guardian to co-sign their credit card application. So, if you are now at your teenage and below 18, ask your parents to be the co-signer. The catch is your parents will also be the responsible person to pay off bills.

It is better if both you and your parents trust each other. And it is your duty as a teenager to use and pay the bills responsibly.

5.Get a secured credit card

For building credit as a teenager, kids have another good option – getting a secured credit card. Such a card will need a security deposit which is practically the credit limit of the card. For example, a security deposit of $1000 means you have a credit limit of $1000 to use. This secured credit card can be used as a normal credit card to make payments and improve credit scores.

It’s much easier to qualify for a secured credit card. If you use it responsibly, it can help you to build good credit. Card providers might even increase your credit limit or offer you an unsecured credit card after a while if you use the card responsibly

6. Get a prepaid debit card

It’s not a credit card, but it may act like one. A prepaid debit card will provide teenagers the ultimate risk-free experience of using a card. As the name says, you have to pay before using the card; your funds will be stored in the debit card account as a deposit, which is practically your spending limit.

A prepaid debit card might charge fees to maintain the account. Prepaid cards also don’t report the user’s spending activity to credit bureaus. They also do not impact your credit score. That’s why it is not helpful for building credit for teens. But, these cards are good for teenagers who have a tendency to overspend. Before using an actual credit card, those teenagers should practice how to use a card responsibly. Prepaid debit cards can help teenagers to control their spending and live within the limit.

7. Set guidelines for credit card use

Using credit cards requires responsibility and proper guidance. It is a long-term responsibility necessary to build and maintain your good credit. So, for building credit, you must set up a few guidelines to use credit cards responsibly. Pay your bills on time, carry a low balance, and pay off your balance in full. Decide on a cap for how much your teen kid spends each month and how you’ll monitor that. Ask your teen to keep a calendar of credit card payment deadlines and try to make his/her payment at least a week before to avoid late fees.

Endnotes

“Do your best not to carry a balance on the card. If you carry a balance and make only the minimum monthly payment, it can take decades or more to pay off the debt,” suggested David Levy, Editor at Edvisors Network. “Late payments result in late fees, and some credit card issuers will increase your interest rate if you’re late with a payment. Making payments on time will help you build a good credit history.”

Important credit tips for homebuyers to buy a new home

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Credit is a big factor in the home buying process, and can sometimes be the cause behind either delaying, halting, or avoiding homeownership. Don’t let credit be the issue that obstructs your dream of owning a home. A good credit score could mean big savings when you purchase, and it’s never too early to start preparing.

Why your credit score is crucial

More or less we all follow the credit scoring system referred to as FICO score. It consists of a three-digit number anywhere between 300-850. It is commonly used by the lenders and creditors to determine the applicant’s creditworthiness.

Normally, the credit score is determined by considering each of the below-mentioned five factors of your credit report, according to a set standard.

  • Your payment history – 35%
  • Your outstanding debts – 30%
  • The length of your credit history – 15%
  • Your credit mix – 10%
  • The number of new credit lines – 10%

You might face an issue with application rejection when your credit score falls below 650. If your score keeps going down, then you should put more effort to clean up your report and build your credit score. It is possible to improve your credit score within 6 months if you work hard and follow strict financial rules.

You know the fact that after applying for a mortgage, the lender might sneak into your credit report. But what exactly does a lender check before approving your application?

Let’s find out!

Lenders may check:

  • Your identity and job history – You need to make sure that all the documents and proofs you are submitting are genuine and completely legit.
  • Your credit reportThis can hurt your credit when you apply for too many credit cards. For every application, the lender will fetch your credit report and verify the facts. So, this may end up having five or six inquiries on your credit report. In case of multiple inquiries made during rate shopping, they are generally counted as one inquiry for a given period of time. It may vary depending on the credit scoring model used, but it’s typically from 14 to 45 days.
    So, naturally, the lender might get suspicious about your creditworthiness. The credit reporting agencies will also check inquiries if they need to.
  • Your past debt recordsYour credit report reveals how you handled credits and debts previously. They normally check your credit limits, any late payments, the total duration of debts, etc.
  • Your public record informationIn this record, the credit report adds up items like bankruptcies, foreclosures, and liens.

Check out the 7 tips below to help beef up your creditworthiness before buying a house.

1. Start this instant!

If you have a decent score and are still hesitating about buying a home, it is suggested that you should start searching for a new one immediately. Good credit is an asset that may help you to get the best deal while you shop for a new home and also for the mortgage. You must remember that due to any sudden financial crunch, or any wrong decision, your credit report may add some information that might impact your score. So, make sure to get the best of the market through your credit sooner than later.

2. Avoid hard inquiries

A hard credit inquiry might be considered as if you’re actively trying to build your credit score. A lender may assume that you are applying for a credit card, loan, or an auto loan. Hard inquiries can lower your credit score, so try to avoid it as much as possible this time. Limit your credit applications before applying for a mortgage.

3. Monitor your credit

This is one of the most important credit tips for homebuyers. Everybody knows that our credit report is the ultimate map of our credit and financial profile. People can get their free credit report from annualcreditreport.com once every year. It is crucial to review your credit report as it will help you to stay on top of your credit. Your credit report will include your credit history which shows how you’ve handled your credit for a long time, what is your total debt amount, and the rate of the interest payment – all these factors will be reviewed by mortgage lenders.

So, you must monitor your credit reports to avoid any bad impact on your credit score.

4. Pay off credit card balances

Your credit utilization ratio is also important while you hunt for a new home. Your credit utilization ratio impacts about 30% of your overall credit score. The higher your ratio, the more it will impact negatively. Most professionals may suggest you keep it under 30%.

Also, you must remember, higher credit utilization means more debts, more payments, and fewer funds available for your down payment, monthly mortgage payments, and other related costs.

5. Don’t apply for new credit for 6 months

Your credit score might take a blow if you apply for a new credit card or loan. It might cost you a few points, but what if your score is already low? A credit score drop by few points might make your situation worse. Losing your credit score may put you below your lender’s cut off limit.

Your score also factors in the average age of your credit accounts. So, opening a new account may also drop that average, specifically if you maintain only a few credit accounts with short credit history.

6. Be current on bill payments

Late bill payments will negatively impact your credit score. Late payments will stay in your credit report for 7 years. Late payments also charge you late fees, which will only set you back financially. Make a plan, list all your bill payment dates, and set reminders to pay every single one on time.

7. Know what lenders look for

Review the minimum requirements to qualify for a mortgage. Talk to your lender and get every detail. It will help you to focus your efforts on meeting those requirements. The more you talk to your lender, he will trust you and if you have less-than-perfect credit or short of funds, he might consider your situation and help you.

What you have to do if your credit is frozen

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For many years, dealing with frozen credit accounts were a headache to all credit card users. But fortunately, today if you have somehow frozen your credit, you have a few new options to explore. Yes, you can easily unfreeze your credit. But for that, you may need to follow certain expert advice.

But first, you must know what a credit freeze is and why it is happening.

What is a credit freeze?

Credit freeze or security freeze gives you the option to restrict access to your credit report. For this reason, identity thieves can’t access or open your credit report to create new accounts in your name. It’s good to freeze your credit if you are experiencing an identity theft issue or fraud. But it also has a negative impact too. Most creditors need to see your credit report before approving a new account. If they can’t access your report, they won’t extend the credit.

Once your credit is frozen, you may still apply for a loan or a credit card. Funny thing is your application practically won’t be approved by the lenders or credit card companies. The reason is, as your credit profile is frozen, your credit report can’t be accessible by any third party due to the block.

So, without a proper credit check, a potential lender doesn’t approve your loan application.

You might be thinking that it will be treated as a hard inquiry and hurt your score.

No, it won’t hurt your credit. There was no hard inquiry at all as the lender couldn’t get his hands on your credit profile.

But for your future applications, you need to unfreeze your credit and try again.

Here’s how to find out at each credit bureau whether your credit is already frozen or not.

How to check if your credit is frozen

Equifax Trans Union Experion
Online – You need a myEquifax account and need to log in. At myEquifax.com, you can see a tile on the upper right of the dashboard. That will show you your credit freeze status. Online – It can be checked online at the TransUnion website, You need to put your username and password. After a successful log in, you may see your account status appear at the top of the page. Online -As per Rod Griffin, Experian’s director of public education, you need to visit Experian’s “Security Freeze Center” page and select “retrieve my personal identification number (PIN).” You’ll see the “Request your PIN” screen. If there is a PIN available, you will get that and you may use it to lift your freeze. If there is no PIN, you’ll be notified that there is no record, and your credit is not frozen.
By phone – If you don’t have an account, or want to check by phone, you may call 800-349-9960 and follow the instructions to verify yourself. If your credit report is not frozen, you will only hear options for freezing it. If it is frozen, you will hear only options to unfreeze your credit. By phone – You can also call 1-888-909-8872. By phone – You may also call 1-888-397-3742 and follow the instructions. Your Social Security number and ZIP Code will be required. Once you are getting identified, you’ll get the option to unfreeze your credit if it is frozen.
By mail – You’ll need to download this form from Equifax. After verifying your identity, Equifax will lift the freeze. Mail to Equifax Information Services LLC, P.O. Box 105788, Atlanta, GA 30348. By mail -Mail your written request to TransUnion LLC, P.O. Box 160, Woodlyn, PA 19094. By mail – Mail to Experian Security Freeze, P.O. Box 9554, Allen, TX 75013.

FAQ about freezing and unfreezing credit

Now, once you know that your credit is frozen, the first thing you should do is to contact your credit bureau and ask some questions.

These are the questions and answers that may help you in this situation:

#What are the options available for unfreezing credit?

You can lift your credit freeze for a certain period, after that, it will be automatically reinstated. You have the option to lift the freeze permanently. But it can make your credit profile vulnerable to criminal activities. Credit expert, John Ulzheimer, suggests that you may unfreeze your credit for 7 days, for most credit card applications and loans. If you are getting approved for a mortgage, unfreeze the credit until your closing date.

#How do you unfreeze the credit?

As I said earlier, once you lift the freeze on a temporary basis, it will again become frozen at the end of the time period. But if you permanently lift the freeze, it won’t be refrozen automatically. You need to refreeze the account just like you were freezing your credit for the first time.

#Is it possible to get approved for a loan or credit with a freeze on your account?

Practically, you will not get approved for a loan or credit card with a freeze on your account. Creditors will fetch your credit report before deciding on your application. So, once they can not reach your credit profile due to the freeze, they won’t approve your application at all.

But there are exceptions. You may choose not to freeze your credit in all three credit bureaus at a time. This way the creditor can check any one of your credit reports where your credit is not frozen. Apart from that, you may also apply for a “no-credit-check” loan or credit line.

#Does a credit freeze affect credit score?

A credit freeze does not affect your credit score . There are few other things that
a credit freeze does not prohibit:

  • You may get your free annual credit report .
  • You can open a new account after lifting the freeze temporarily. It’s free to lift the freeze and free to place it again. As per usatoday on sept. 21,2018 – “a new federal law allows people to freeze and unfreeze their credit at the three major credit bureaus without being charged. Before, it cost consumers in almost half the states $3 to $12 per bureau to freeze or unfreeze their credit reports.”
  • You may apply for a new job, rent an apartment, or buy insurance coverage. Your credit freeze doesn’t impact these cases.
  • Credit freeze can’t keep you safe from being a victim of further fraud. A thief or a fraudster can charge your existing accounts if he/she gets all of your data. You still need to monitor your bank accounts, credit cards, and insurance statements regularly to identify any fraudulent activities.

#Can anyone check your credit report when it is frozen?

Certain authorities may access your credit profile even if it’s frozen:

  • Your credit report can be accessible to your existing creditors and to the debt collectors.
  • Federal agencies and government authorities may also access your credit report if they require. For that they need to show you proper court orders or administrative orders and a search warrant.

Endnotes

As per consumer.ftc.gov – If you opt for a temporary lift because you are applying for credit or a job, and you can find out which credit bureau the business will contact for your file, you can save some time by lifting the freeze only at that particular credit bureau. Otherwise, you need to request all three credit bureaus.

This way you may customize when to unfreeze your credit. Freezing your credit is quite effective to prevent criminal activities such as identity theft. You can choose to unfreeze for a specified time period, after which the freeze automatically resumes.

How to improve your credit score within 6 months

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“How to fix my credit score!!!” – It is one of the biggest queries in Google search. Whether you are a serviceman or entrepreneur, an investment banker or a common person, improving credit score is everyone’s prime concern.
 
Having good credit is a must to take out a mortgage, credit cards, any personal loan, even insurance. Credit scores are important as they denote your creditworthiness, how much you are trustworthy to get a loan or something like that. You must let the creditor or lender know how good you are at paying back the money.

#Why did the credit score drop?

There are several reasons that may impact your credit score and make it lower:

  1. If you have missed any monthly payment on loans or credit cards.
  2. A piece of wrong information is listed on your credit report.
  3. You’ve suddenly closed an old credit account with a decent payment history.
  4. If your credit utilization ratio is too high, such as you use your credit cards for everything to its limit.
  5. If you have applied for multiple new credit cards or loans.

#How to improve credit score quickly

You might be thinking about how to fix your credit score because it is much lower than what you have expected. Yes, you can do this with a few simple steps.
 
Your first step should be to stop panicking. You must avoid asking the lender to check your score and see if it is good enough yet or not. Repeated checking by the lender can be treated as a “hard” inquiry into your credit, and your score may drop by a few points.
 
However, you don’t need to be stressed about a “soft” inquiry, when you check your credit yourself. You may easily check your credit report as much as you like. You should regularly check your credit report to keep it free from errors.
 
Here are some important tips to improve your credit score within 6 months that you can try:

a) Check for errors

The easiest way to fix your credit score is to review your credit report for errors. Credit bureaus may also make mistakes to list all the items on your credit report accurately. So, you must ensure that every item such as credit card payment, loan amount, on-time payment status, and others are correctly updated.
 
If you find an error, contact your credit bureaus and dispute the error. It is worth it to contest and you may save a lot of money in the long run.

b) Pay off your credit cards on time

Late payments can be listed in your credit report for 7 years. So, you have to deal with this issue first. Paying your bills on time is the most important tip to fix your credit score.
 
If you have some financial crisis, you just have to pay the minimum balance only.
 
You must remember that the most important component of a FICO credit score is your credit history. So, being regular on your payments can influence 35% of your score.
 
Beware! Even one late payment can affect your credit score. If you are consecutively doing that, you’re ruining your score.

c) Minimize your hard inquiries

Every time you jump for a new line of credit, such as loans or credit cards, your credit report might be pulled by lenders or credit card companies. This is called a hard inquiry. Hard inquiries can hurt your credit badly.
 
If your prime objective is to improve your credit score within 6 months, it’s the best time to minimize the number of hard inquiries.
 
The less hard inquiries you have, the less effect it will have on your credit score. Multiple inquiries are generally counted as one inquiry for a given period. It may vary depending on the credit scoring model used, but it’s typically from 14 to 45 days.

d) Keep balancing your credit portfolio

Another great way to fix your credit score within 6 months is to thoughtfully handle your credit accounts. You mostly will have to maintain a few revolving consumer credit accounts such as credit cards, store credit cards, store lines of credit, and fixed loans.
 
The credit bureaus will focus on the credit profiles that are nicely balanced with a good credit mix. The mix credit accounts on your portfolio may include things like a mortgage, car loan, student loan, and consumer debt. Maintaining such a credit mix and making all the monthly payments on time will be helpful. This way you may improve the credit score in a short period.

e) Lower your debt ratio

A good, fast way to improve your credit score is to keep your credit utilization low. You should lower your credit usage to boost your credit score. You may pay off all of your credit card debts and other unsecured debts to lower the ratio. Credit bureaus prefer a consumer credit profile with a credit utilization ratio of less than 30%.

f) Check credit history length

Credit agencies prefer credit profiles that have a long credit history, particularly accounts that have been open for a longer period and well managed. Accounts that have a more than 10-year credit history are helping your score to get better.
 
Get a copy of your credit report from the major credit bureaus and point out the accounts that have a long history. Use those accounts frequently and pay them on time. This way you can help to improve your credit score. You may also eliminate some of the recent accounts that are no longer required but don’t remove them at a time; otherwise, it may reduce your credit limit instantly

g) Ask for a higher credit limit

If you want to reduce your credit utilization ratio below 30%, but can’t pay off your debts because of a financial crunch, look out for other ways to fix your credit score.
 
You may ask your credit card company to increase your credit limit. This way you have more available credit in your hand and it’ll boost your score.

h) Become an authorized user

Ask a family member or friend with a long and good credit record (a person who handled credit cards well and makes on-time payments) to add you to his or her card as an authorized user.
 
This way you can get the share of his/her good credit score, and you’ll have a longer credit history. The account holder doesn’t have to give you the card or share details at all.
 
Being an authorized user is best for you if you have little credit experience, and want to improve credit score within a short period.