Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Companies Offer Advice and Services on Credit Reports Bankers Association Gives Tips to Bolster Scores and Avoid Making Mistakes

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Companies Offer Advice and Services on Credit Reports Bankers Association Gives Tips to Bolster Scores and Avoid Making Mistakes

Article excerpt

Except for maybe cholesterol numbers, few scores are more important in modern adult life than your credit score.

Unlike cholesterol, however, with credit scores, the higher, the better.

The American Bankers Association recently offered some tips for bulking up that crucial financial measure - used by lenders to gauge creditworthiness and by others in a host of situations from setting insurance rates to deciding who gets hired.

* Review your credit report to ensure that it's accurate. Errors that can be unfairly dragging down your score are common, said Corey Carlisle, senior vice president for the ABA. If you spot an error, such as an unpaid bill that isn't yours, first try to clear it up with the company that reported it, then file a dispute with the credit bureau, Mr. Carlisle said.

Also look for accounts that may have been fraudulently opened in your name, or for old credit card accounts that you no longer use and may want to close, he said. For help understanding credit reports and scores, try the ABA at www.aba.com/consumers, the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov, and the websites for the main credit bureaus: www.Equifax.com, www.Experian.com and www.Transunion.com.

* Set up automatic bill payments so you don't absentmindedly pay late. The single biggest way to boost credit scores is to pay bills on time, Mr. Carlisle said. Payment history typically makes up about one-third of a credit score. …

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