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Saturday, February 21, 2009

Repair Your Credit Score By Reducing Your Debt To Credit Ratio

By Bart Icles

One of the major factors that makes up your credit score is your debt to credit ratio. It actually makes up about 30% of your score. You can easily calculate that ratio by yourself by taking your existing credit card balances and divide it by the total amount of credit that is available to you. Even though this is a very simple calculation, it does provide valuable information as to how easy it is to manipulate your credit score.

So, what if you have a low credit score and want to improve it? You can take advantage of any of the following strategies to push your debt to credit ratio to a more favorable position. There is no magic ratio that you are trying to stay under, but it has been said that under 45% is the safest.

1- The first thing you can do to increase your credit score and lower your debt to credit ratio is to increase your credit limits. The more credit you have available the lower your ratio will be. You should get in the practice of calling all the lenders with whom you have made on time payments for the last 6 months and ask for a credit limit increase. Do this every six months!

2- Take time to review your credit report and reactivate all old accounts. Did you know that most lenders will deactivate your credit card if it is not used for 3-6 months? Inactive card limits are not counted towards your debt to credit ratio. You need to make sure to use every one of your cards to make small purchases over 3-6 months to keep the card active and counting toward your ratio.

3- You can raise your available credit by applying for a new credit card (if you can stay in control of your spending). By adding another card, you are adding available credit without adding to your credit balance. The more credit you are issued and have available, the better your debt to credit ratio will be.

4- Have you ever heard of an authorized user? Most of us havent. Sometimes, due to our lack of credit history, it is hard to build a large available credit limit. If you ask a friend or family member, who has excellent credit and a long credit history to add you to their account, you will immediately receive the benefit of their history and credit limit without the responsibility of making payments.

5- The last and probably the hardest for most individuals is to pay down your balances. As I said above, you should try to get your debt to credit ratio below 45% for the maximum benefit to your credit score.

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