Your personal credit scores are very important numbers. Not only for your personal finances, but related to your business as well. Lending has become stricter these days and you often need to demonstrate strong credit borrowing power as a company and individual.
If your scores are low and your credit is lacking, there are things you can do to help boost your score and increase your credit worthiness in the eyes of banks and lenders. It’s not really a big mystery either, as the information is out there. You just need to know where to look and who to trust.
We asked some business professionals to give their input regarding credit score tricks and hacks, and we were able to come up with a solid list of tips and suggestions that all contribute to improving credit and raising credit scores.
Applying for credit often can hurt you.
“One mistake many people make is applying for all of the credit offers extended to them. Banks and lenders want you to accept credit, as that is how they make money. But, every time you apply for credit the lender will perform a credit inquiry. These lower your score, so if you do it often you will impact your score negatively.
Hard inquiries remain on your credit report for two years, so applying for credit often can make you look desperate for credit and when it comes time for large financial purchases, like a home, car or business loan this can result in unfavorable terms and interest rates.” – Chris Moberg, President of Slumber Search
Too many new accounts lowers your average age of accounts.
“Any time you open a new account it lowers the average age of your accounts. The higher the average, the better. It shows lenders that you are able to manage credit responsibly over a long period of time and aren’t constantly opening new accounts.
This is also why you never want to close old accounts, even if you don’t use them. Let’s assume you had a 15 year old credit card that you didn’t use much. Rather than close it, just keep it open and charge a small purchase like a cup of coffee on the card monthly to keep it reporting. This will keep your average age of accounts high.” – Pat Skinner of Answer First
Authorized user accounts is the fastest credit boost.
“If you have a limited credit profile the easiest way to boost your scores is to be added to established accounts with a lot of age as an authorized user. This will report the account and its history to your credit file. You have to make sure the cards report the authorized user account to the credit bureaus, but you can quickly find out by calling customer service.
You want to make sure that any card you are added to has a
perfect payment history, because in addition to the long history, you will also
inherit any negative information like late payments that are attached to the
account. Spend time to make sure the accounts are ones you want to be tied to.”
– Chad Gaynier of Clarity Clinic
Understand your rights.
“If you have information on your credit report that is lowering your scores or affecting your borrowing power, you have the right to dispute it, and if found to be inaccurate the credit bureaus must remove it. This is a right, and there are several laws in place, like the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) that are in place to protect you as a consumer.
You can find information about how to dispute inaccurate
information online. There are certain procedures you must follow, so take the
time to research the steps properly. There are a lot of websites you can cross
reference, but be sure you are on the right government sites and not ones
trying to sell you something.” – Hyung Park, President of Abraham Lincoln University
You are entitled to a free annual credit report.
“Not sure what your credit scores are or what is on your credit reports? By law, you are entitled to a free report from the three major credit reporting agencies every year. There is a website dedicated to this, and you can also reach out to Equifax, Trans Union and Experian directly. They all have different ways to obtain your annual report.
It’s also a good idea to use a credit monitoring service to make sure there aren’t any accounts opened in your name. Also, if something incorrect does hit your credit you can act right away. The faster you respond, the quicker it can be resolved.” – Tad Thomas, Managing Partner of Thomas Law Offices
Avoid department store cards.
“Ever been presented with an offer at a department store when you were checking out? They will often tell you they can give you 10 – 20% off your purchase if you put it on your store charge card. When they learn you don’t have one you are offered the opportunity to apply on the spot?
They approve a high rate of these because the limits are very low, and the interest rates are sky high. Decline these offers for several reasons. You don’t want the inquiry on your credit, nor do you want a new account reporting. On top of that the low limit will kill your average limit, which decreases your borrowing power.” – Christopher Dziak, CEO of Pure Nootropics
Removing old negative accounts that are paid can lower your score.
“A lot of people are under the impression that all bad reporting lowers the score. But that is not always the case. If you have an aged derogatory account that is paid off or settled it may actually be helping your score. If you remove it the score might drop.
The FICO algorithm takes a lot into consideration, and while
they don’t give specifics, many suggest that it’s the age of it and the fact
that you show responsible credit use by paying old debts. So, be careful about
trying to get rid of old negative accounts that are reporting as paid.” – Paul
Kelly, 247 CCTV Security Ltd
Credit repair companies don’t have a secret formula.
“There are so many credit repair companies that claim to have secrets and inside connections at the credit bureaus. The truth is they do nothing different than you can do yourself. You are better off trying to clean up your credit on your own. You learn how it works and you don’t have to give your personal and financial information to a stranger.
There are a lot of shady companies, so be careful. If anything, hire an attorney to help you if there are things to address that might be a bit complex. Some random company on the internet isn’t the solution.” – Michael Herron, Law Offices of Michael R. Herron
Asking for limit increases can lower your score.
“Many of your credit cards will send letters or emails that invite you to seek a credit limit increase. While this might sound good, you need to be aware that they are going to perform a credit check, which will cause an inquiry to show, lowering your score a bit.
If you use credit responsibly and don’t apply for a lot and can honestly put a limit increase to work, then go for it. Just be aware that constant requests can have an ill effect on your score. Make sure you understand the consequence of asking for more credit.” – Christopher Kerr, VP Marketing at Earnhardt Lexus
Most business loans take your personal score into account.
“Some people are under the impression that their personal credit doesn’t factor into securing business credit. While there may have been options many years ago that didn’t require a personal guarantee, those days are over.
Most business loans, lines of credit and business credit cards will all require the owner personally sign for the loan and credit as well, which requires a credit pull. A business can be in great financial standing, but if your personal credit is damaged it can stand in the way.” – Ignacio Soria, CEO of Cann & Co.