Experts say credit scores are sinking due to the economic downturn.
Have you checked your credit report lately? Do you know your score?
Experts say credit scores are sinking due to the economic downturn. It’s estimated one in four people have scores below 599, making obtaining loans and credit cards with reasonable terms tough.
"It’s astounding and needs to change," said Gerald Lewis, a vice-president at Harris Bank. He adds, “It’s trending downward.”
Credit scores of 750 and above are considered Excellent. Scores in the 659 to 749 range are considered good. If you're sitting at 650 or below, you need improvement.
The economic downturn has made paying bills on time difficult, but Lewis said one late mortgage payment can be a credit score killer.
"A late mortgage payment could be 20 to 30 point reduction in your credit score right off the top," said Lewis.
To fix the damage and boost your score, you have to create a history of improvement.
Lewis, who runs credit restoration seminars, offers these fast fixes:
Lewis said taking these steps can offer up results in as few as three months.
If you don't have any credit at all, try this:
Also important: check your credit report twice a year through Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. You can fight mistakes and outdated items with a letter and typically the credit bureaus have 30 days to respond.