Protecting Your Good Credit

Kolleen Schocke |

When was the last time you checked your credit score? If it’s been more than a year, you may want to check it soon. Understanding your credit score and how it affects your financial future is crucial to any financial plan.

What Impacts Your Credit Score?

Over time, your credit score changes—for better or worse—based on activity in your accounts. Your score will generally go up if you consistently pay lenders on time, pay off balances monthly or when credit card companies increase the line of credit available to you. However, it can also go down—and quickly—if you miss payments, pay late, close a line of credit or have errors on your credit report.

Why Does It Matter?

Keeping your credit clean and your score as high as possible will help you qualify for better rates when applying for a credit card, as well as auto, personal or mortgage loans. Qualifying for a lower interest rate can save you hundreds of dollars in your lifetime. Your credit score can also help you when changing jobs, as more and more companies run credit checks in addition to background checks on potential candidates.

How Can You Keep Track?

Check your credit reports at least annually to make sure they’re error-free and to ensure any errors are corrected as soon as possible. Regularly monitoring your credit reports can also help stop attempts at identity theft, which could save you thousands of dollars in legal fees over time. You can request one free credit report annually from each of the different reporting agencies through AnnualCreditReport.com. While “hard pull” credit inquiries from potential lenders (with permission from you) can lower your scores slightly, there’s no penalty for checking your score yourself; that’s called a “soft pull.”

Good credit health will impact your overall financial position and potentially save you money in interest payments. Understanding your credit score and how to improve it can help you achieve your full credit potential and reach your financial goals.

 

 

C-J Advisory, Inc. is a registered investment adviser located in San Jose, CA. Registration of an investment adviser does not imply any level of skill or training and is not an endorsement of any regulatory agency.