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Make a Resolution that Can Really Make a Difference in the New Year

Make a Resolution that Can Really Make a Difference in the New Year

(ARA)- Everyone makes New Year's resolutions. Among the most popular ones: to eat better, exercise more and work at losing that extra weight. Another healthy resolution you may not have thought of, but should, is to tone up your credit.
According to a recent survey conducted by the consumer advocacy group "Consumer Action," many Americans don't know how to define a good credit score. A credit score is a three-digit number (typically ranging from 300 to 850) that represents your level of risk to a creditor. Generally speaking, the higher the number, the more favorable your loan options may be.
A credit score is determined by a number of factors, including the length of credit history, payment history and the amount of debt currently owed, just to name a few. "Most people don't take steps to improve their credit scores until they already have marks on their record, but there's a lot you can do proactively" says Steve Ely of Equifax. He offers the following advice to people who want to clean up their credit in the New Year:
1) Pay off credit cards and other bills in a timely fashion- Late payments may be indicated on your credit file. In order to prevent this from happening, make sure you send out your bill payments early enough so that they'll arrive at their destination on time.
2) Always pay more than the minimum on your credit cards- If you only pay the minimum each month, it'll take you a long time to pay off all your debts. Carrying a high balance for a long time is a sign to creditors that you have stretched your budget thin.
3) Never let your balance exceed 50 percent of your limit- Keeping a low balance is a sign that you're able to responsibly handle your debts.
4) Monitor your credit report on a monthly basis. Regularly checking your credit report for changes you did not make is one of the best ways to combat identity theft. Equifax Credit Watch makes monitoring your report easy by automatically alerting you within 24 hours of key changes in your Equifax Credit Report--like when someone tries to get credit in your name--so you can act before serious damage is done.
Credit card fraud is a common type of identity theft, and Equifax Credit Watch can alert you to sudden changes in your credit card balances. Equifax Credit Watch also includes a copy of your Equifax Credit Report, access to live customer support, and up to $20,000 of Identity Fraud Expense Coverage with no deductible (certain limitations and exclusions apply) at no additional charge to you.
5) Keep older cards open- this will add to your credit history.
6) Pay off your credit card balances as soon as possible- By regularly clearing out balances, you demonstrate to potential creditors that you are able to handle credit responsibly.
7) Shred everything! Particularly those credit card offers that come in the mail that you choose not to accept.
No one cares as much about your credit as you do. So take charge of it. For more information about Equifax monitoring services, log on to www.equifax.com.

Courtesy of ARA Content

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