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Financial Literacy - Credit scores
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5 tips to improve your credit score
Learn strategies for fixing a less-than-perfect credit score with a little time and elbow grease
Credit scoring, demystified

5 tips to improve your credit score

If you've pulled your credit score and are disappointed by what you see, here are some simple things you can start doing now to improve your score. Credit counselor Bruce McClary of Richmond, Va., suggests these five ways to boost your credit score.

5 ways to bump up your score
Pay your bills on time
Paying on time helps build a healthy payment history. And, as the largest factor in determining your credit score (at 35 percent), it's the best way to rebuild damaged credit. Even if you've had credit problems in the past, depending on how many creditors were involved and how far past due your accounts were, a good 12-month payment history can usually produce noticeable results. "If you fell off for a few months, a year could get you back on track," says McClary.

Expect information about past-due payments to stay on your report for up to seven years. Your score can still improve during that time as long as you make steady, on-time payments. Seven years after the date of last activity the mark may drop off, but the avenues of collecting the money may not be closed. While the statute of limitations on reporting is seven years, the length of time for attempting to collect varies by state and a collector may file a lawsuit against you. In that case the negative mark will reappear as a judgment against you.

Tip: This work sheet makes it simple to be timely.

 Does your credit get high marks or do you feel like
you're flunking out? Share your story.
-- Posted: June 18, 2007
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