Showing posts with label credit score. Show all posts
Showing posts with label credit score. Show all posts

Make Your Credit Score Increase With One Small Change



Some things stay the same forever, until we do something to change things. Like my weight. It was the same for about ten years, until I finally went on a diet and lost 23 lbs this summer. It required changing my foods, practicing portion control and drinking more water daily for about 100 days. I've maintained my weight loss and decided to try to lose a few more pounds so I have a weight loss cushion for the upcoming holiday food binges that are certain to happen.

The other thing that pretty much has been the same forever is our credit score. It's a good score, and there's no need to improve it. Except when you are really close to perfect, its tempting to strive for it. A perfect credit score is 850. I'm not sure if its even attainable for anybody. I know there are a bunch of factors how its determined exactly. I just know it pops up on Mint every time you login, and its on other banking apps so we get reminded fairly often what it is. But there is no need for that because it hasn't changed for us. But low and behold, for the first time in as far back as I remember our credit score increased from 828 to 834 this week. Granted we haven't really done anything to try to improve our score since we didn't have plans to buy anything that would require good credit. So, it was quite the surprise when I checked our net worth on Mint and a new credit score popped up. We haven't done anything to make it change except maybe one small thing I did in the last month. We don't have any loans, mortgages or credit card debt so that didn't affect it.

The only thing I did different was pay off the credit cards on a weekly basis whenever I noticed a new balance on Mint. Usually, I let all the charges accrue and then just pay when I think they might be due. We pay all our cards off online so I never really know when they are due. I know that's not a good practice to not have due date awareness, so I don't recommend it. But, this past month I've been just paying them off pretty much immediately because we had some travel where were offline for a week. So I paid them before, and then paid them after, and then again a week later.

Now for the disclaimer, I'm not sure paying off cards weekly was what triggered the score to increase, but is the only variance in our finances. My theory is that although we still spend thousands monthly through credit cards and utilize our credit, the amount of time any balance is outstanding has greatly decreased by paying off balances immediately. 

It couldn't hurt to try if you too are trying to increase your credit score.




How Payment Method Impacts Your Buying Decisions


The choices you make in the marketplace are all about knowing what you’re getting and how much you’re paying. Being frugal is about more than pinching pennies here and there; it’s about knowing what causes you to spend more than you should, and avoiding those things.

While some of those things are pretty obvious to recognize – such as not picking up items while you’re in the checkout lane, knowing they’re probably cheaper somewhere else in the store – other factors aren’t as intuitive. You might not realize it, but even the payment method you choose to use can have some bearing on the decisions you make.
In a series of recent studies by Professor Promothesh Chatterjee of the University of Kansas and Professor Randall Rose of the University of South Carolina, the connection between payment method and how we look at products was examined.

What the researchers discovered was that customers who were primed for credit were more likely to focus on benefits, whereas customers that were primed for cash were more likely to focus on costs.

Among the specifics that the researchers discovered:

·         Consumers who were primed for credit were much more likely to remember benefit-related words than they were to remember cost-related words.

·         Cash primed customers, on the other hand, had better recall of cost-related words than they did of benefit-related words.

·         Cash customers were more able to identify all aspects of cost, including things beyond simply the purchase price of an item. They looked at things like delivery or installation costs, installation time, and even warranty costs.

·         Credit customers were more likely to be drawn to high-image products, and those products with greater benefits.

·         For credit customers, the “pain of purchase” is low. The purchase process is separated by a month or more from the payment process. This isn’t something that was newly discovered in this research; rather, the results in these studies seemed to confirm the idea.

·         Consumers who were primed for credit responded more quickly to benefits than they did to costs.

·         Consumers who were primed for cash responded more quickly to costs than they did to benefits.

·         Researchers were able to prime consumers simply by putting credit-related ideas into their minds. In retail applications, this could include things such as placing credit card stickers on the doors, having offers for credit inside the store, etc.
This research has a number of implications for us as consumers. It reminds us that, while we might try to always make good purchase decisions that fit within our budget, credit can be alluring.

It’s easier to make an irresponsible and frivolous purchase with a credit card than it is with cash. When you pay with cash, you immediately get to watch your cash deplete. When you pay with credit, you don’t feel that pain, and are likely to make decisions that don’t factor in cost as much as they do benefits.
If you want to make a cost-conscious buying decision, you need to pay with cash and train yourself to ignore all of the credit priming that businesses do when you walk through their doors.
David Rodwell is a seasoned writer in business and personal finance who takes a particular interest in payment processing technology. You can find more of his articles located at CreditCardProcessing.net.



Buy a Better Home with Better Credit Scores


The prospect of becoming a first-time homeowner certainly is a time of excitement but there are a lot of other considerations that will be involved to make the time a stressful one. While the mortgage process itself can be complex and frustrating at times, the time period before actually applying for a mortgage loan can actually be the most critical for your home options, your wallet, and your overall financial stability.

Do It Yourself Debt Settlement

You might decide to settle your own debts instead of hiring a debt settlement company because you want to save money on settlement fees. Or, perhaps you’ve heard about scams rampant in the debt settlement industry and want to avoid being taken advantage of. Some people decide to settle their own debts so they have control of the process from start to finish. There are lots of good reasons to settle your own debts.

Getting Started
When you decide you’re going to settle your own debts, you stop making monthly payments on your debt. Instead, each month you’ll deposit your regular monthly debt payments into a separate checking account whose sole purpose it to hold your settlement funds until you’re ready to pay a settlement. You might open this checking account at an entirely different bank if the credit cards or loans you want to settle are at the bank of your primary checking account.

Creditors routinely agree to settlements between 40% and 70% on balances that are 90 days or more past due. The account must be past due for the creditor to deem it risky enough to take a settlement on. If the creditor thinks they can get the full balance from you, they won’t agree to a settlement.

When to Make a Settlement Offer
Once you’ve saved up enough money to pay a settlement (about 50% of the current balance due) and you have an account that’s more than 90 days past due, you can make a settlement offer. If this is the first time you’ve mentioned settlement to the creditor, you might briefly mention it as a possibility. For example, you might say, “I’m having trouble getting caught up on my payments. In fact, I’m not sure if I’ll ever be able to pay this account in full. If I could come up with the money, would you be interested in taking a settlement on this account.”

When you bring up settlement with the creditor, be prepared to offer a dollar amount to settle the account. So, if you owe $10,000 and you want to settle for 50%, offer $5,000. If the creditor refuses or asks you to pay an amount you’re not prepared to pay, politely end the call and repeat the process in another month or so.

Settling Your Account
When a creditor agrees to a settlement offer, there’s one more step that has to happen before you make payment. You need to get a settlement agreement on company letterhead. The settlement agreement should include the date of the offer, amount of the settlement, date the settlement must be received, and a note saying the settlement will satisfy the account in full. You’ll get the settlement letter faster if you have access to a fax machine. That way you can sign it, fax it back, and make the settlement payment.

Many creditors will take the settlement payment over the phone if you give your checking account and routing number. The creditor may also accept a cashier’s check or money order for payment. Make sure you confirm the payment method.

Frank Collins is a seasoned writer with strong background in both personal and business finance. You can read more of his articles about debt relief options, credit counseling and related services at the debt settlemmient blog.

Quizzle

Another great tool I use to monitor my finances. Every 6 months you can check in, and get your FREE credit score (not just your report) on Quizzle.com 
Your home, money and credit go hand in hand in life, here you can manage it all. At Quizzle, you'll get access to helpful tools and information that will help you make smart decisions about your life, including:
  • Free Credit Report
  • Free Credit Score
  • Credit Improvement Tool
  • Home Value Estimate
  • Home Loan Recommendations
  • Personal Budget
  • Advice on How to Improve
Knowing your home value and the prices of homes recently sold in your neighborhood will come in handy when you want to sell your home, refinance your home loan or make home improvements. Staying on top of your money situation will allow you to cover life's expenses and save for your future. Understanding what's on your credit report and what your credit score is will put you in a position to qualify for the best mortgage rates, get that dream job or snag the lowest rate and payment on your new car.
It is a secure site where you can enter your debt and income, and it will calculate your grade, A B or C in financial health. It's handy to see how your credit score changes based on how you spend or save your money. Mine actually went down to 797 (the range is 350 to 850) from 819 in the last quarter. I think its because we have less debt and have been spending less. Credit scores are really strange in how they are determined, and healthy financial choices don't always help your credit score.
 
So give Quizzle.com a try for the new year.