New Year Resolution: 5 Credit-Smart Tips For 2018

This article originally appeared on RinggitPlus.com

Make a Healthy Credit Score Part of Your New Year’s Resolution for 2018

With every new year, many of us make resolutions to keep our body and our mind healthy. We plan to read more books, work out more, watch documentaries, and eat healthier. But what about keeping our finances healthy? If that seems like too vague of a resolution to keep, we suggest focusing on one point that can help with that: maintaining a healthy credit score.

Why Do I Need A Healthy Credit Score?

As we’ve covered in our blog before, a healthy credit score is a major way that banks and lenders use to gauge whether or not you’re creditworthy. That is to say, whether or not you’re somebody they would lend money to. A healthy credit score means an easier time getting your loans approved, which is always a good thing as you never know when you need some extra cash. To that end, here are some ways you can keep your credit score healthy for 2018.

1. Check Your Report for Problem Areas

Before you can know how to keep your score healthy, you have to know what makes it unhealthy first. To do this, simply obtain your full credit report from a reputable credit reporting agency like CTOS and go through it carefully. Also be sure to pay attention to your score, which should be 697 and above for it to be in the healthy range (as a rough estimate).

2. Pay Off Your Debts / Pay Your Monthly Credit Obligations On Time

Clearing off your debts will not only help ease your cashflow and help you spend more of your monthly paycheque, it’s also important in keeping a good credit score. Having too many debts means you run the risk of having some outstanding, or even worse, defaulting on them. Keeping your debts low and manageable is a good sign that you’re a responsible paymaster and this will reflect positively on your credit score. If you’re unable to completely pay off all debts, just ensure that you pay all your monthly credit obligations on time without missing payments.

3. Lower Your Interest Rates

There are two quick ways you can do this, one is by transferring your credit card balance to a new card with a lower interest rate. Another way is to consolidate your loans under one card with, you guessed it, a lower rate of interest. Paying less interest means you pay less to reduce the total debt amount.

4. Get the Right Cards

Another thing you need to consider is the types of credit cards you have. We all know that swiping with a credit card gets you plenty of benefits and perks, but having the wrong card can mean wasting the chance to stock up on rewards, discounts and flyer miles. Do a quick audit of your spending pattern for the past year and see which cards have netted you the most rewards and which ones haven’t been swiped enough. After this is done, you can get rid of the low-performing cards and optimise your use of credit.

5. Start an Emergency Fund

When you have an emergency fund, you can always have enough money to keep being a good paymaster even if you’re out of cash for a few months or so. That way, you’re less likely to skip on payments and damage your credit score.

Save at least 3 months’ worth of your salary (or more) so you have a financial cushion. This way, if an unexpected expense comes up, you can dip into the fund to still make your commitments.

Summary

We hope these tips can help you maintain a good credit score and assist you in making financial health a new year’s resolution you can keep. To check your credit score and find out how good your chances are at getting your loans approved, visit the official website of CTOS here.