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Managing Credit Scores

Here are the fundamentals to guide you in establishing and maintaining a healthy and legitimate score.

The somewhat obvious:
  • Borrow only what you can afford to repay.
  • Make all of your payments on time.
  • Avoid excessive requests or inquiries for credit
  • Have an emergency account to pay for unexpected expenses
  • Check your report annually to contest and remove any erroneous information.
The not so obvious:
  • Do not open new store credit cards just to save on a purchase. New accounts can lower your score, and too many payments can be difficult to manage. Saving 10% on a $300 lawn mower means little if it costs you even just fractionally more on a $300,000 home loan.
  • Do not open new accounts just to transfer balances for an introductory rate. In addition to possibly lowering your score, these offers often have traps. Instead, use them to leverage a lower rate from your existing card company.
  • Do not close old accounts. If you have a good record of payments on old accounts, these will benefit your score. Using them occasionally and conservatively will keep them active and contribute toward a good score.
  • Do not be afraid to use credit. Without the use of credit, you will have no score, and that can be just as bad as a low one.
  • Keep a high credit line and a low balance. Credit utilization ratios measure this relationship, and lower is better.
  • Maintain a variety of account types. A combination of revolving, installment and secured financing along with excellent records of payment will yield a higher score. Still, don't run out and open an account just to have diversity, as this is the least influential factor.

If you have questions about managing your credit, contact a Fidelity Bank Mortgage Loan Officer today!
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