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Raising Your Credit Score

Posted January 23, 2013 in Altoona, Advice Column, Pleasant Hill

A high credit score of 830 is great to work with. Of course, everyone does not have a high credit score.

While a credit score above 680 is great, you can get the lowest interest rates with a credit score above 780. Your credit score is very important in day-to-day life, and sometimes you do not have any control over what is on your credit score.

There are things you can do to manage your credit score and also increase your credit score.  It is best if you charge something to a credit card that you pay the balance off in full when the bill is delivered to your mailbox. Carrying a balance and making the minimum payments as needed, while convenient, is not always the best thing for your credit. Try to only charge to your credit card what you can pay off in full each and every month.

While having zero balance on your card is best, it is often not feasible, so begin working toward paying off all your credit cards. Start with the lowest balance card and put extra towards the monthly payments on one card at a time.  As you get a zero balance on a card, do not close the account. Begin to use the zero balance card in your favor. Charge a small amount of $20 a month, and pay that card off in full each and every month. Use it to raise your credit score, but do not abuse the credit card by going above what you can pay off in full. Then begin working on paying off the next lowest balance credit card, and work your way up until you have all of your cards paid off in full each month.

Another important word of advice to raising your credit score: When a department store offers you credit to receive 10 to 20 percent off of your purchase by opening a line of credit with them, decline the offer. While it would be great for the savings, it will only ding your credit score. Refrain from opening new lines of credit. Same goes with if you all of a sudden get a wild hair to close all of your accounts at once. This, too, will ding your credit score for a while if you close accounts.

If you are going to close your accounts because you find credit too tempting, try to do this at a time when you will not be using credit for awhile, not right before you want to purchase a home or a car. Leave those lines of credit open if at all possible.

Most important of all is pay your bills on time, ahead of the due date on the invoice. If you have to be late on a payment, never  make a late payment to your mortgage.  Contact your mortgage representative for more detailed credit questions and advice.

Information provided by Lori Slings, Valley Bank, 160 Adventureland Drive, Suite H, Altoona, (515) 967-4700,

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