4 secrets to securing a good credit rating

October 9, 2015

A credit score is more than just a number. A low credit rating can prevent you from getting a mortgage or buying a car—it's about financial freedom. Find out how to keep your credit rating in tip-top shape.

4 secrets to securing a good credit rating

1. Limit the number of credit cards you apply for

  • Want to watch your credit score spiral downward? No? Then never apply for more than two credit cards at any one time, says Stanley Kershman, a lawyer, author and financial whiz based in Ottawa, Ontario.
  • If a credit bureau sees that you have applied for three or more cards in a short period of time, the company will probably assume you're in desperate need of cash—and desperate people do not make good credit risks. An even worse scenario, says Kershman: the credit bureaus may think your identity has been stolen, which would also send your credit rating down the tubes.

2. Ask for leniency

  • The quickest path to a low credit score is making late payments on obligations such as your credit card, mortgage or car payment. But if you're coming up short this month and have been a good loan customer up to this point, there's an easy solution: call the lender and ask for an extension.
  • Or ask if you may make a smaller payment this month. If you have a good track record, chances are you'll get a free pass and be able to keep your credit rating high.

3. Never use a post office box

Oddly enough, using a post office box can harm your credit rating. When credit rating companies see that your bills are headed for a PO box, they worry that you have either lost your home or that someone has stolen your identity. Both scenarios raise a red flag.

4. Shred your financial statements

The one surefire way to see your credit rating head south is to get your identity stolen. Not only will it ruin your credit rating, but it's going to take a lot of time, effort and aspirin to restore your previously sterling credit rating. Shredding cuts down on giving the bad guys an opportunity.

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