A gender imbalance also exists when it comes to credit scores and dating. Plus, waiting for your dream partner to come along, with a dream credit score to match, can be a long shot. Some money-conscious singles are taking fate into their own hands by joining dating sites that specifically cater to their needs. After both were burned by former flames with bad financial histories, they signed up for CreditScoreDating.
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View author archive follow on twitter Get author RSS feed. Brooklyn resident Martina Paillant boasts a credit score above and is seeking a mate who also has excellent credit. Photo by Jeffery A. Your credit score is a complex calculation based on your debts and payment history. A low score can keep a bank from lending you money for a house or car, or be the basis for charging a higher interest rate.
Any score below is a red flag; anything above is considered stellar. If your credit is poor, there are steps you can take to fix the problem. One irony is that you must use credit to build a decent credit score. As the Times reported: How to see if you already have a credit history Photo: Personal Finance in Your Twenties and Thirties, told us that if you took out student loans in your name to pay for college, you probably have at least the beginning of a credit history.
Otherwise, your credit history may be a clean slate.
To see where you stand, you can request free credit reports from each of three major credit bureaus at the official website run by Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion or by phone at If you request a credit report online, usually you can see it immediately. If you request one by phone, the bureau should mail it to you within 15 days, according to the Federal Trade Commission. Reports typically show your payments for each account on a month-by-month basis, so check your bank records if a report indicates that you missed any payments.
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Be aware that when you apply for credit, you. The lender does this by asking for a copy of your credit report from one of the three bureaus Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion. This screenshot shows how Experian displays hard inquiries on a credit report.
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Each tile shows the name of the company that made the inquiry and how long the inquiry will stay on the report. If you discover any unfamiliar accounts or errors that cast you in an unfairly bad light, such as late payments that you know you made on time, the FTC suggests contacting both the credit bureau and the company that opened the account or supplied the incorrect information, in writing. You also have other ways to dispute errors online: Credit Karma for errors that you spot on your TransUnion credit report, and , , and each have an online dispute option.
The bureaus, however, prompt you to create an account in order to file a dispute. Getting an error resolved may not be a straightforward process, but it can have a huge impact on financial decisions affecting you in the future. What you can do to build a credit history 1. In fact, she added, a single late payment can typically on a scale of to , although you may be able to recover partly if you pay on time for the next few months.
That negative information can remain on your credit report for up to seven years and continue to affect how lenders and insurers judge you. In addition to the credit impact, a late payment can also prompt your credit card issuer to charge you a penalty fee and increase your APR.
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But you have ways to minimize the damage. To avoid missing payments, Kobliner suggested, sign up for automatic bill paying where you can. Michael Hession Most utility companies, for example, are more than happy to accommodate you in that regard, and most major banks offer an autopay option.
Just make sure to time those payments so you have enough money in your checking or savings account to cover them.
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Think about getting a credit card and using it responsibly Using a credit card sensibly is one of the most effective ways to build credit, so consider one if building credit is a financial priority for you. You can find many cards out there targeted toward people with , such as secured credit cards and student credit cards. However, credit cards also make it remarkably easy to get into financial trouble, which is why many people are hesitant to get one.
But the benefits of having a credit card tend to outweigh the drawbacks if you can commit to keeping close tabs on your usage.
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Consistently spending beyond your means can take you from a nonexistent credit history to a bad one that will trail you for years. Resist maxing out your cards.
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Maintaining a low credit-utilization ratio will help you build a good credit score, but how low should you go? The credit bureau Experian suggests no higher than 30 percent. Kobliner is even more conservative. You can then stash the card away to keep it out of sight and out of mind.