How do I improve my FICO credit score in a month?

Even though I said that a good FICO credit score takes a long time to build, there are situations where time is against you and the last few points really matter. Many mortgage lenders have FICO score thresholds for interest rates, and you may fall a few points short of the next threshold which may mean thousands of dollars’ worth of payments. You don’t have another few years to carry your FICO score to that threshold. So what to do?

Continue reading How do I improve my FICO credit score in a month?

Do you need to carry a balance to build credit?

I often get inspiration for my blog posts from people I interact with. I learn of my readers’ needs through talking with friends, acquaintances, colleagues, and everyone else with whom I have a conversation that involves personal finance matters. In a recent conversation like that, I learned of someone who keeps her credit active by making a large purchase on her credit card and paying the balance gradually, over months, obviously accumulating and paying interests. She learned of this practice from someone else.

You know that I advocate paying off balances before due dates so you’d never pay a penny in interest. Let’s discuss which approach is better for your credit.

Continue reading Do you need to carry a balance to build credit?

Does checking your own credit report affect your credit?

The other day I was having lunch with co-workers. I don’t remember how this topic came across, but one of my co-workers was convinced that checking your credit would lower your credit score. I just wanted to emphasize that checking your credit is totally harmless. Why?

Continue reading Does checking your own credit report affect your credit?

Secured credit card graduation

One and a half year after I graduated from Colgate University following a commencement where I sang the school’s traditional song with 3 friends in front of 7,000 people, I had yet another milestone graduation. For those of you that start your credit journey with a secured credit card, when your credit card gets converted to a non-secured card, your card is said to graduate. That’s what happened to my card. Continue reading Secured credit card graduation

Personal Finance 201: Introduction to credit scores

OK, the credit score. This is perhaps the most controversial topic and most confusing element in the credit history universe. Humans in all stages of their history, have been easily fascinated by numbers, and today still retain a subconscious desire to summarize almost everything in hard numbers. What’s the temperature today? What grade did you get from the econ class? How many days are left till summer? Don’t we all love numbers! Continue reading Personal Finance 201: Introduction to credit scores