How to check for credit problems
Americans with credit card balances, ages 45 to 54, carry an average debt of $9,096 per individual.1
Using credit wisely is a critical skill in today’s world. Use it unwisely, however, and it can rapidly shift from a useful tool to a crippling burden. There are several warning signs that may indicate approaching credit problems. Here are some questions to consider:
Have you used one credit card to pay off another? Have you used credit card advances to pay bills?
Do you regularly charge purchases to a credit card because you have insufficient cash? Do you charge items you would not purchase if you were paying in cash? Do you rely on your credit card to buy groceries?
Are you reluctant to open monthly statements from creditors? Do you regularly charge more each month than you pay off?
Do you write checks today on funds to be deposited tomorrow? Do you apply for new credit cards so you can increase borrowing? Are you receiving late and over-limit credit card charges?
It's important to recognize the warning signs of potential credit problems. The quicker you take corrective action, the better; procrastination will almost guarantee that you'll face financial difficulty down the road as you accumulate more credit card debt.
Credit Reports & Scores
Did you know you have a right to see your credit report once annually without cost? Your credit report will contain important information that may affect your credit score. To receive your free credit report you can visit www.AnnualCreditReport.com.
While your credit report can be obtained for free, your credit score will cost you money. One exception to this is if you have been denied a loan based on your credit score, in which case you may obtain your credit score for free.
Your credit score is a numerical representation of your creditworthiness, which considers past and current credit activities, including any late payments, judgments, liens, bankruptcies, and foreclosures.
What's with the ads for free credit scores? If you see an offer for obtaining your credit score for free, it may be a marketing-driven incentive to get you to sign up for a fee-based credit monitoring service. The score is likely only available for free if you agree to sign up for a trial subscription and don’t cancel prior to the end of that trial period.
Here's the dirty little secret of credit scores. Before you purchase your score, you should understand that the methodology used to calculate the score you buy is different from that used to determine the credit score lenders receive. In other words, the credit score provided to you may be different from the one provided to lenders.
There are hundreds of methods for calculating an individual's credit score, and many lenders use private models with proprietary outcomes. While knowing your credit score is useful, it may be more important to review your credit report to correct any errors that are hurting your score. From there you can take the necessary steps to improve your credit profile.
Provided by Patriot Asset Advisors
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1 - thestreet.com/personal-finance/credit-cards/average-credit-card-debt-14863601 [2/14/19]