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Credit Card debt ? Top tips on Increasing and protecting your credit score / ratings

Personal_Finance / Analysis & Strategy Dec 09, 2006 - 12:51 AM GMT

By: Nadeem_Walayat

Personal_Finance

With Households on both sides of the atlantic hitting record amounts of credit card debt, it has never been more important to ensure that you protect and improve your credit score ratings to enable you get the lowest interest rates and best terms when negotiating loans or applying for credit credits. Basically the higher your credit score the lower your payments will be !

Credit Card debt ? Top tips on Increasing and protecting your credit score / ratings

The Market Oracle has prepared a list of top tips that will help you take the right steps to save money on credit payments.


  1. Your credit rating is a function of your total debt divided by your total credit limit, so closing unused accounts without paying down debt, may have the effect of worsening your credit limit. So our advice is to close unused accounts as your total outstanding debt reduces so as to keep a healthy 50/50 ratio, the higher you go the lower your credit scoring.
  2. You must have credit to have a credit history , this includes current accounts WITH an overdraft facility, if this is your first credit card, then look at getting one of the beginner cards such as the Capital One Classic which is much easier to obtain.Get Your Equifax Credit Report Now! (USA)
  3. Keep well managed accounts open , even if not used, i.e. accounts with a lot of history of good usage, as with credit scoring, good account management history matters. Though too many cards can also be a negative, try not to have more than a maximum of 6 active credit cards at anyone time.
  4. DON'T MISS PAYMENTS ! - Don't be late - Period - Manage your monthly payments, use direct debts and standing orders, if in doubt PAY EARLY ! This is not just for credit cards but for ALL bills ! I.e. gas, electric, council tax.
  5. Have a spread of account types , such as overdraft, current, credit card, mortgage, loans.
  6. Don't open a lot of new accounts at the same time - Pace your credit card account openings at say no more than 2 in a six month period.
  7. Periodically check your credit file for errors , say at least once every 12 months. Click for a free 30 day trial with Experian (UK)
  8. Self-Employed - If your planning to go self employed then you may want to apply for your credit cards before you cease being employed as this can be a negative in credit scoring.
  9. Read and understand your cards Terms & Condition s, so as you are not hit by a charge out of the blue i.e. some cards may require you to spend at least £500 over a 12 month period etc.
  10. Beware of mass marketing tricks - In truth, being "pre-approved" or "pre-selected" for credit is not only a waste of time, it can also be a hazard. This marketing trick is most generally used by companies looking for a soft touch - people who will be easily beguiled by the glossy literature with dazzling headline rates and are not too inclined to read the small print in other words, not the sort of person who researches best buys carefully and is wary of catches. In the worst case, being on the lists of marketers who mass-mail this sort of material can get you into trouble, because the ready-completed forms being sent to old addresses from out-of-date databases leave home-movers and people in homes of multiple occupation open to identity theft, as fraudsters scoop up the junk mail in communal halls and waste bins. If you think you might be at risk in this way, contact the Mailing Preference Services (i.e. mpsonline.org.uk)
  11. And above all - Make sure your on the electoral register ! As your application in all likely hood will be automatically rejected if you are not on the electoral roll, or at the very least suffer greatly in the score given.

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Nadeem Walayat

(c) MarketOracle.co.uk 2005-2006

Disclaimer - This Article / Analysis is provided for general information purposes only and not a solicitation or recommendation to enter into any market position, and you are reminded to seek independent professional advice before entering into any investments or trading positions.
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