Learn 3 tips to maintain healthy credit score

By Brian Cunningham
April 23, 2013 at 6:04 p.m.
Updated April 22, 2013 at 11:23 p.m.

When I was a banker, the majority of my denials for loans stemmed from bad credit.

What not many people realize is that without a decent credit history, it doesn't matter how much cash you have to use as a down payment. If you have bad credit, your ship has sunk before it sets sail.

However, there is an exception to this rule.

Medical collections that have hurt an individual's credit score are not viewed with such scrutiny such as credit card collections, repossessions or foreclosures would be.

Having said that, if a person has at least an average credit rating most bankers are willing to negotiate and work with their customers in order to find a way to make the loan happen.

The following tips can be used to make sure you are doing your part to keep your credit score as healthy as possible:

  1. If you cannot afford to make big payments to knock out credit card debit, at least pay what you can afford. Even if you are not making the minimum payment, you should send the creditors what you can. By not paying at all, you have set the tone for the credit relationship.

  2. When making a large purchase such as a vehicle, if you are familiar with a certain bank or credit union, inform the dealer that you already have financing needs taken care of and give them that institution's information. Talking to your bank or credit union beforehand is also a good idea. If you do not do this, the car dealer will most likely send your information to other lenders until they find an approval. Repeated inquiries to your credit will lower your score.

  3. Keeping a close watch on your credit report is a good way to make sure there are no surprises when it comes time to make a purchase such as a car or a house. One way to make sure there are no blemishes on your report is to visit annualcreditreport.com. You will be able to obtain a credit report from each of the three reporting agencies annually at no charge to you.

Following these practices can mean the difference between having a healthy credit report and working for a very long time to rebuild a diminished one.

Seems to me a person would rather take care of business now rather than fight for many years to come only to get back where they started.

Brian Cunningham is a certified business adviser with the University of Houston-Victoria Small Business Development Center. To make an appointment for business services or register for a UHV SBDC workshop, call the center at 361-485-4485 or email at sbdc@uhv.edu.



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