Seven Tips for Improving and Maintaining Your Credit Score

Headquartered in Valencia, California, Think Credit Reports is an online provider of credit scores and reports. Think Credit Reports offers its members detailed reports and scores from all three major credit bureaus on a monthly basis, with unlimited access to reports and daily credit monitoring and alerts. Credit scores indicate an individual’s creditworthiness to banks, landlords, insurance companies, and lenders. In order to maintain good credit standing and improve lower scores, review the following tips.

1. Be sure to pay bills and balances before payment due dates. When making payments, always at least pay the minimum, but try to pay balances in full at the end of each month.

2. Make use of bank services such as payment reminders and automatic payments in order to remain current.

3. If unexpected charges put you close to your credit limit, split up payments to avoid negative marks on your credit report. Make one payment before the statement closing date to reduce the balance seen by credit bureaus, and pay the remaining balance before its due date.

4. Rather than charging different credit cards for different purchases, select one or two cards for everyday use. Balances across multiple cards can hurt your score.

5. Keep unused accounts open. Canceling a credit card causes a decrease in available credit. Keep accounts open and consider using an unused card for reoccurring charges, such as a utility bill, to keep the card active.

6. Maintain low usage rates. A significant factor in credit scores involves your revolving credit versus your usage rate. Aim for a small percentage, between 10 percent and 30 percent of your total revolving credit, and keep balances low.

7. Establish an emergency fund. A 15 percent cushion of available credit or a savings fund of three to six months of living expenses can lower the amount you may need to borrow in the case of a dire situation, such as losing your job.

How Credit Bureaus Operate

For more than five years, Think Credit Reports has provided consumers with their credit information as compiled by all three major credit bureaus. Think Credit Reports also offers premium members a number of additional services, including quarterly updates and daily monitoring.

Credit bureaus operate as the most common type of credit reporting agencies (CRA). Credit reporting agencies are responsible for both collecting and disseminating information about a person’s credit, as creditors report it to them. Typically, a smaller agency that collects credit information communicates this data to its affiliate larger bureau, which allows the three major entities to report accurately to potential creditors.

Today, the three national credit bureaus are Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. Each receives reports about a borrower’s payment history, open accounts, paid loans, and inquiries into new accounts. Because these data come from different sources, not all bureaus have the same information about a particular borrower. For this reason, borrowers and those checking their credit frequently request reports from each of the three national bureaus.

How Identity Theft Can Impact Credit Scores

Based in Valencia, California, Think Credit Reports offers people the ability to monitor their creditworthiness and continuously receive updated credit reports from Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. Think Credit Reports’ services are particularly vital, given an increase in identity theft, which can have an outsized impact on people’s ability to get loans and mortgages or to get them at good rates.

Identity theft can derail individuals’ financial well-being in a number of ways. In cases where a personal credit card is used fraudulently, victims may be unable to promptly pay for the extra charges that have accrued. By the time that the situation is resolved by the lender, long-term damage to the credit report (which is difficult to undo) may have occurred. This threat is particularly acute when thieves redirect bills to new addresses, resulting in cardholders being completely unaware of fraudulent transactions that have gone through. Identity thieves may also target personal savings and checking accounts, draining funds in ways that make it impossible for victims to pay mortgages, rent, and bills before irreversible harm has been done to their credit score.

The Importance of Regularly Checking Credit Reports

A premium provider of personal credit information, Think Credit Reports provides members with daily credit monitoring and regular credit reports from the three credit bureaus – Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. Recognizing the growing threat of identity theft, Think Credit Reports’ 24/7 credit monitoring keeps members aware of any changes or problems that may show up.

Regularly checking credit reports is important for several reasons. According to CBS News reports, around 80 percent of reports have errors, including everything from misspellings to incorrect Social Security numbers. Errors also occur when creditors report incorrect information. By regularly checking their credit reports, individuals can correct a problem before it causes major damage to their scores. Mistakes can be disputed with both the creditor and credit bureau by simply sending a letter explaining the details.

Checking credit reports also allows individuals to spot any incorrect debts. Unrecognized debts are typically a sign of identity theft, but may also be a sign of debt error. When identities are stolen, the victims are often unaware of the problem until the damage has been done. By regularly checking credit reports, signs of identity theft are found early on, allowing the necessary action to be taken. Solving these problems early on makes preventing future fraud easier.

Monitoring and Correcting Credit Reports

When Think Credit Reports entered the credit monitoring service field more than five years ago, its leaders knew they had to offer services that allowed their members to manage their credit proactively, as well as an instantaneous way of responding to potentially fraudulent new information the minute it was added to their credit profiles. Thus, the firm offers its members full reports and credit scores from each of the three major credit reporting bureaus, not just one. In addition, Think Credit Reports monitors each member’s credit profile in each of the three credit bureaus, and immediately alerts them by email or text message when any new information is added.

There are several reasons consumers should monitor their credit reports. Banks and credit card companies rely on credit reports as their prime source of information when determining whether to extend credit, and by how much. More and more employers also review their employees’ and applicants’ credit reports, even when the jobs involved have nothing to do with money. Likewise, insurance companies are increasingly reviewing their clients’ credit and cancelling or denying insurance if the credit score is too low. Finally, identity theft, which remains a growing problem, can ruin a person’s credit and make it impossible to qualify for credit or even a job.

Consumers who are planning a major purchase, such as a car or a house, should obtain all three of their credit reports and review them thoroughly. Federal law requires the credit bureaus as well as the companies that report credit information to them to correct any inaccurate information. The credit reports themselves will include instructions on how to request that inaccurate information be corrected.

With the busy schedules and many distractions faced by today’s consumers, it’s easy to let credit report monitoring fall between the cracks, only to find out too late that inaccurate adverse information on a credit report is standing in the way of buying a new house or car. Information on engaging the services of Think Credit Reports is available at the firm’s website, http://www.thinkcreditreports.com.