By Brittney Castro
As a Certified Financial PlannerTM, CEO of Financially Wise Women and a Chase Financial Education Partner, I understand that credit plays a big role in your future and has tremendous impact on your ability to achieve life’s milestones.
Good credit health can help pave the way to a life rich with possibilities including buying a home, a car, renting an apartment, getting a new cell phone plan, etc. It can also determine the kind of loan you qualify for, how much credit you qualify for and what your interest rate will be. These tips will help you find the right tools for financial stability and improve your credit health.
GET ON TRACK TO HEALTHY CREDIT: Your financial well-being is impacted by more than the way you spend and save today. Credit plays a big role in your future – bigger than you might think! Poor credit health can impede your ability to achieve financial and personal goals now and in the future and can make everything from buying a home to starting a business more expensive since poor credit usually means higher loan rates. Healthy credit can lead to financial stability so that you can feel empowered to create the life that you want.
KNOW YOUR CREDIT SCORE: Ambivalence and fear lead many Hispanics to not check their credit score. Just over half of Hispanics (54%) have checked their credit score in the last year, according to the Chase Slate 2016 Credit Outlook Survey. Don’t be afraid to check your credit score. Remember, your credit score is an important indicator of your credit health that lenders use to determine your creditworthiness and eligibility for a loan. There are easy ways to check your credit for free. The Chase Slate Credit Card comes with a Dashboard where you can check your monthly FICO score, a 12-month trend of their FICO score that builds over time, as well as the top positive and negative factors impacting your score.
KNOW WHAT IS DRIVING YOUR CREDIT SCORE: Maintaining healthy credit is crucial for achieving your goals and creating the life you want. The Chase Slate Credit Card Dashboard also provides tools that help card members understand what’s driving their score and how to manage their credit health. Knowing your credit score helps you assess where you stand and how close or far you are from creating the life you want.
CHECK YOUR CREDIT REPORT AND PAY YOUR BILLS ON TIME: Look out for any errors, late payments or amounts owed that are incorrectly listed and immediately remedy with the credit bureau. Also, remember to pay your bills on time. Payment history is the most important factor when it comes to calculating your credit score (generally 35 percent of the score). To make it easier on you, you can set up payment reminders or enroll in automatic payments.
PAY DOWN YOUR DEBT: Your credit utilization, meaning the size of your card balance, is the second biggest factor (generally 30 percent of the score). Create a payment plan that prioritizes paying down debt on highest interest cards first and keep balances low on your other cards.
Learning about your credit can be intimidating at first, but if you know where you stand now, you will be able to map out where you can go next and what needs more attention.
Every step you take towards achieving healthy credit and financial stability will get you closer to securing an affordable mortgage or qualifying for the best interest rates.