February 9th, 2012
How to Woo Your Credit Score
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With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, I expect you already have plans because you’re smart, you planned ahead, and you know just the right way to make your honey feel special, right?
Good. Glad to hear it. Just make sure you don’t screw it up.
And what about your credit score? (Didn’t see that one coming, did ya?) Do you know how to love and care for your credit score? No? Well, you’re in luck, because I’m going to school you on how to woo your credit, just like you would a lady or man on Valentine’s Day and all year ‘round. Read on to get the juicy details.
Take her out once in a while.
Your credit score won’t do you any good if you neglect it. Make sure to keep current activity on your credit accounts. For instance, if you’re like me, your credit score is mostly dependent on credit card use. In order to keep my credit score healthy and happy, I charge a little to my cards each month and pay the balances off in full. Just remember not to overdo it. Keep your credit utilization rate below 30 percent of your available credit. You don’t want to wear her out, do you?
Get to know her.
What do you do on a first date? Propose right away? No way. The same goes for your credit score. Before applying for a loan or credit card, you need to spend some quality time getting to know your credit score. The easiest way to do this is to check out your Score Center and Credit Report Card on Credit Karma. You’ll see your credit score, broken down into the most important factors.
Show her you care.
Don’t just leave your credit score to her own devices. If left alone, she could cheat on you, in the form of a fraudulent credit account. Take some time to care for your credit score by signing up for free credit monitoring . If you’re already a Credit Karma member, it only takes a few seconds. It’s a great way to protect yourself from identity theft.
Pay attention to her.
Once you and your credit score have been dating a while, it could be tempting to ignore her and apply for the first credit card that you see. Instead, it’s a better idea to come back to Credit Karma and check out your approval odds, which will tell you how likely it is that you’ll be approved for a particular credit card. If you’re in the market for a new credit card, focus on the cards in your score range. Otherwise, if you get denied, you’ll hurt your credit with a hard inquiry without getting a new credit account to show for it.
Bottom Line: Let’s be serious for a moment. However you approach your courtship with your credit, remember to keep your eyes on the prize. Maybe you’re hoping to buy a house, get a great rewards credit card, pay down debt efficiently, or just gain credit bragging rights. Whatever your goal, make sure you’re making smart credit moves. Don’t know where to start? Check out this blog post for some pointers, or head over to our Credit Advice Center to learn from the Credit Karma community.
Keep up the Karma!,
Bethy Hardeman, Social Media Maven