Watch out for credit card scams.
Offers of easy credit or credit without a credit check. No one can guarantee to get you credit. Before deciding whether to give you a credit card, legitimate credit providers examine your credit report.
- Instructions to call a "900" number to apply for a credit card. You pay for calls with a "900" prefix --and you may never receive a credit card. (The operators, of course, make their money from the telephone call.)
- Credit cards offered by "credit repair" companies or "credit clinics." These businesses also may offer to clean-up your credit history for a fee. However, you can correct genuine inaccuracies or outdated information yourself by contacting the credit bureaus directly. Remember that only time and good credit habits will restore your credit worthiness.
- Any offer that sounds too good to be true. It almost certainly is. When you consider a legitimate credit card offer, it is always helpful to study the card offer closely, checking the annual fee (if any), the interest rate, term penalty charges, and billing methods. Make sure you agree with all the terms before investing any time in further research.
What's in a credit score?
Credit scores are used by creditors to indicate probability that an individual will repay their debt. Usually in the 300-900 range, the higher the number the better the score. Typically scores are determined by reviewing the following data:
- Your history of late payments
- Non payments
- Current level of debt
- Types of credit accounts
- Length of credit history
- Number of credit inquiries
- History of applying for credit
- Bad credit behavior, such as writing bad checks
Shield your credit from identity theft.
Take the steps to protect you and your credit against identity theft. Check your credit report regularly to reveal any suspicious activity on inactive accounts or new unauthorized accounts. Here are some other steps to keep your identity safe:
- Safeguard your credit cards just as you would cash.
- Reduce the number of cards you carry daily; one or two are sufficient.
- Minimize the amount of personal information a criminal can steal. Don't routinely carry your Social Security card, birth certificate, or passport with you.
- Keep a list of all of your credit cards with their respective account information in case of theft or loss
- Sign any new cards as soon as you receive them
- When credit card bills are late, call the card's customer service number to ensure your bill was not mailed to a different address.
- Never give anyone your card number over the telephone unless you initiated the call.
- Shred anything that displays your credit card information before putting it in the trash.
What creditors look for
When applying for a loan, credit or mortgage, creditors look at several factors in your credit background before approval. It's important that you stay on top of your credit payments and more, in order to improve your credit rating. Here's what creditors commonly review:
- Bill paying history
- How many accounts you have
- Late payments
- Longevity of accounts
- Outstanding debt
- Collections actions
Protect your credit history!
First PREMIER Bank wants you to protect your credit history. It's important when you're looking to apply for other credit, purchase a home or car, and for many other reasons. Here are some tips to follow to help you ensure a positive credit profile:
- Make payments by the due date-mail payment at least one week in advance of the due date.
- Set up automatic payments.
- Pay at least the full minimum payment due.
- Review your credit bureau at least annually.
Are you interested in learning more financial tips? Click the button below to access Experian's® online financial resources.