Want Financial Freedom? Here's How To Get It

DW_Up_Credit_Score_1Photographed by Raven Ishak.
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Losing points from your credit scores is all too easy — and getting them back is hard. But, if you know how credit scoring works, you can hack the process to rehabilitate your numbers faster. Here are four effective strategies to do just that.
DW_Up_Credit_Score_2Photographed by Rockie Nolan.
Pay your credit cards twice each month.
Even if you pay your balances in full every month, using up too much of your available credit at any given time can hurt your scores. You can lessen the damage by making two payments each month: one just before the card’s statement closing date and another just before the due date. The first payment typically reduces the balance that’s reported to the credit bureaus, while the second assures that you don’t wind up paying interest or incurring a late fee on any remaining charges.
DW_Up_Credit_Score_3Photographed by Rockie Nolan.
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Dispute old, small collection accounts.
The latest version of the leading credit scoring formula, the FICO 8, already ignores collection accounts where the original balance was less than $100. Not all lenders use this formula, though, so you might see an increase in your scores if you dispute that $50 parking ticket you forgot to pay or the $75 medical bill that slipped through the cracks of your insurer’s reimbursement system. The collection agencies that report these minor bills may not bother to respond to the credit bureaus’ investigation attempts, especially as the accounts approach the seven-year mark, where they’d have to be dropped from your credit reports anyway.
DW_Up_Credit_Score_4Photographed by Rockie Nolan.
Get added as an authorized user on someone else’s account.
Another person’s good history with their credit card could be imported into your credit bureau files to help burnish your scores. Plus, the other person doesn’t have to give you access to the account — you can be an authorized user in name only. Some card companies will allow this importing only if you’re a relative, so check in advance.
DW_Up_Credit_Score_5Photographed by Rockie Nolan.
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Pay off your credit cards with a personal loan.
Paying down your credit card balances widens the gap between your available credit and the amount you’re using, which is great for your scores. If you can’t pay your cards off immediately, consider moving the balances to a three-year personal loan. Balances on such installment loans don’t affect your scores as strongly as balances on credit cards. Check with your local credit union first, since these member-owned financial institutions tend to offer the best rates and terms on personal loans.
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