Keeping Your Credit Clean is Very Important

As a Real Estate professional… as Michelangelo once stated… “I am still learning” Here is a very good article from Phoebe Chongchua at Reality time I thought I should share with you. Don’t hesitate to give me a call at 340-690-9177 or shoot me an email at [email protected] if you would like more information about Real Estate from one our professionals here at RE/MAX St. Croix in Americas Secret Paradise.

A little effort goes a long way in keeping your credit safe

Many homebuyers frequently wonder, “If I am shopping for a home loan will my credit be affected each time a credit report inquiry is made?”

It’s a logical and intelligent question to ask; the answer is: not significantly, if the credit checks are done in a short period of time.

When a credit check is made by a potential lender it is called a hard inquiry. When a hard inquiry occurs it does have an impact on your credit score. However, when you’re shopping for a mortgage or a car loan, credit bureaus typically cluster the hard inquiries together because the credit reporting bureaus understand that the consumer is shopping for the best loan.

That means, for example, that if you’re shopping for a new mortgage and three potential lenders pull your credit score within three weeks, that is looked at as one inquiry for that purpose.

Keeping your credit clean is critical. Here are some things you can do to help ensure healthy credit.

One card you should not carry: Leave your Social Security card at home. Most people have their Social Security card number memorized. If you’re not one of those people, then only carry your card with you when you know you need the information on it. Your Social Security card number contains personal information that if it gets into the wrong hands, can cause major credit dilemmas.

Lock it up: Apartment complexes and condominiums typically have locking mailboxes, but these types of secure mailboxes aren’t as common in residential, single-family neighborhoods. If at all possible, people should have a locking mailbox.

Mailboxes with locking devices are becoming more popular at hardware stores because identity theft is spreading. Taking precaution to protect your personal information can save you months of agony.

Shred your documents: If you don’t shred your personal documents and criminals access the information, the result can be devastating to your credit. Criminals will often attempt to open new accounts using your name and information. If they’re successful, they will use the new account and divert the account information to the criminals’ address or post office box.

You’ll never even know that the account was established. They’ll be receiving the bills and then just throwing them out and it’s ruining your credit.

Keep an eye on your credit card: While it is difficult, people should not let their credit card out of their sight or else they run the risk of becoming a victim of skimming.

Skimming has become prevalent at some restaurants and gas stations where a clerk might have a small device that scans the consumer’s credit card. That small scanner captures all the information that is on the magnetic strip, and then the card’s information can be cloned.

Of course, keeping your credit card visible at all times is nearly impossible. If you’re going to go to a restaurant in an area that you’re a little uncertain of — that’s in a fringe area or you’re in a foreign country and you’re not too certain about where you’re dining — attempt to use cash.

Also, when using credit cards be sure that the receipt you leave with the merchant does not have your credit card number exposed. Most merchants have credit card systems that only print out the last four digits of a consumer’s credit card; however, some still show the entire account number on the print out. If your full credit card account number appears on the receipt, scratch it out with a pen. Additionally, in rare cases where carbon copies are used, ask for the carbon.

Check your credit history: Consumers can check their credit history for free once a year at annualcreditreport.com though the free reports will not contain an actual credit score. Scores are available for a nominal fee.

© by Realty Times