Many people are concerned about what tomorrow will bring.
It’s understandable to experience anxiety. One thing we know is that it is never wise to make decisions based on emotion. We DO know that our credit will absolutely be important to us when the dust settles.
So what are some things you can be doing to stay laser focused on your FICO scores during this time?
Here are three:
1. Monitor Your Credit
Now more than ever it’s imperative to have a real-time pulse on how your credit is reacting to the changes in your financial life. Have you missed any payments? Have you increased your credit card spending? Do you have any new open collection accounts from existing creditors? Now is the time for you to be notified IMMEDIATELY if that happens. It’s better to be proactive and aware rather than reactive and lose the ability to dispute items on your report because you were unaware.
2. Get a Credit Limit Increase
Contact your creditors (specifically your credit card companies) with whom you have NEVER been late and ask for a credit limit increase.
That’s right….ask your creditors to INCREASE your available limits on your cards. 30% of your FICO score is positively impacted when your utilization of credit is at 25% or lower.
Therefore, rather than focusing on paying DOWN your cards…ask the creditors to increase your limit. This will have an immediate and positive impact on your FICO scores.
3. Not All Late Payments Are Created Equal
Are you worried that you may not have enough money to afford all of your monthly expenses? Where do you cut?
Start with contacting the utilities, cable, cell phone, and insurance carriers that you use. Delaying payments on these types of services will cause penalties, late fees, and potentially lead to services being turned off, BUT they will not negatively report on your scores within 30 days like a credit card, auto payment or mortgage payment.
Many insurance companies are allowing consumers to decrease coverage’s in order to help keep their insurance more affordable for the next few months. Make sure that you do not assume anything. Ask if there will be late fees and get everything in writing.