Building Your Credit Score

by Ryan on March 21, 2017

Throughout life, we are scored on lots of different things. We get grades in the classroom and on standardized tests. We have all kinds of medical tests that give us a score that’s used to assess our health.

But there may be no more important single number in our lives than our credit score. These three digits determine if you’ll be able to borrow money, and if so, how much interest you’ll pay on it. There are a wide variety of factors that influence your credit score, and it takes a smart approach to your financial decisions to get the best score you can achieve. Once you do that, you’ll get more benefits than you might imagine, so keep your focus on these key areas.

Stay Current On Your Bills

When someone loans you money, they haven’t dug it out of a magic pile of cash. They are often borrowing it themselves, so they’re paying interest on it. Consequently, they want you to pay them on time so that they don’t pay extra interest to their own creditor.

As you explore installment loans online, it can be tempting to choose an aggressive payment plan that polishes off the debt as quickly as possible. But if this stretches you too far, it can backfire. You want to make sure you have some breathing room around all your payments in case the unexpected comes along. It is much better to pay on a loan for a longer term than to overextend yourself and struggle to stay current.

It isn’t just loans that matter, though. It’s also utilities, phone bills, student loans, and all the other monthly expenses you may have. Many of them will report to credit bureaus, negatively impacting your score if you don’t stay up to date.

Stay Back From Your Limits

If you’ve been paying along responsibly on your bills and maybe picked up a raise at work, your creditors may extend your limits. Don’t make this a shopping spree. It can be easy to get a little high on this feeling and experience what economists call “the income effect“, a state of mind in which behavior changes because a consumer feels that he or she has more money.

Un-utilized credit is a big component of your credit score. If you continuously max out your credit cards, you will soon find no more credit increases are coming your way. That’s because the lenders realize that you are irresponsible and represent a risk to them.

It’s okay to borrow. It’s okay to use credit cards. But you should use only what you need to use, rather than using whatever they offer you.

Keep Accounts Open

It may sound backwards, but if you have a credit card that you’ve paid off, don’t close it. Yes, you should cut up the card (actually, you should shred it into oblivion so nobody else can read the number), but keep the account open. A card with a zero balance contributes to your un-utilized credit, which we referenced earlier. The credit bureaus have no idea that you’re not charging on that account because you don’t have the card anymore. They think you’re not charging because you’re responsible.

On the other hand, by closing the account you keep only cards that have an active balance, meaning a larger percentage of your total limit is spoken for.

Building your credit is slow and complicated. It can be frustrating if you have goals to buy a home or get a new car. From the moment we reach adulthood, we should build responsible credit habits to make those goals attainable.

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Change in retailing is constant, but continual flux is causing a crisis. Many stores in the UK are struggling to exist as the sector is buffeted by mounting costs caused by waves of change: from morphing shopping habits to the introduction of the National Living Wage, and now rising import prices post-Brexit.

Commissioned by UK utilities consultancy Utilitywise, the energy retail whitepaper available to download below will benefit small to medium sized retailers by showing how they can improve energy efficiency and make big savings without having an impact on their customers’ experience.

Is energy-saving worth doing?

Did you know a 20% cut in energy costs represents the same bottom line benefit as a 5% increase in sales in many businesses?

So if a shop’s turnover is £20,000, that’s the equivalent of an extra £1,000 – enough to create a website, train staff in sales techniques or upgrade to LED lighting: all ways retailers can improve their offering and attract customers.

Monitoring = Control

Only 20% of retailers monitor their use of energy and water, but without data it’s impossible to gain a detailed picture of where savings could be made. Guesswork is not enough, because different retailers have different business practices and equipment. Existing circumstances can have a huge impact on the energy used and saved.

Guesswork is not enough, because different retailers have different business practices and equipment. Existing circumstances can have a huge impact on the energy used and saved. Refrigeration systems, for example, can account for 30-60% of electricity used in convenience stores that sell mainly food. On average, lighting is responsible for 28% of a retail outlet’s electricity costs. But for most retailers, the biggest cost (around 40%) is room and water heating. Business energy monitoring devices keep an eye on energy consumption and are easy to install. They take data from meters and other systems and retailers monitor consumption on charts on their desktop.

Utilitywise reckons its Utility Insight product can reduce energy consumption by 33% and water by 50%. As the first step in identifying waste, monitoring can lead to major savings, as our case study shows.

Free WiseLife Connect for 1,000 businesses when they receive a competitive energy contract with Utilitywise.

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How To Avoid Having a Retirement Savings Crisis

February 9, 2017 Personal Finance

When discussing the market, the terms “bear” and “bull,” “correction” and “bubble” will invariably come up in the conversation. What this all basically means is that worldwide markets are ever-changing and always volatile. Even when they seem stable, there’s a good chance a bear is stalking in the background or a bull is waiting to […]

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