Simplifying your credit
When was the last time you downloaded your credit score? If you can’t remember or you have never checked it, you should consider taking a look at it soon. But you’re not alone. Two thirds of the population‡ have not downloaded their credit report in the past year, despite the fact that the average American owes $118,000 in debt‡. This includes mortgage, student loans, credit card debt, etc.
Why do you need to know your credit score? High debt combined with little to no information about your credit score could put you in a risky financial situation. If you have so much debt that you can’t keep up with it and your regular monthly bills, you might end up paying a bill late or forget to pay it at all. This will lead to a lower credit score. Then when you go to apply for a home or car loan, you could be either denied or receive a higher than normal interest rate based on your lowered score.
Unfortunately, this has become a very common scenario. Many people are living month-to-month and often carry over their credit card debt each month just like their regular bills. One third of working adults‡ don’t pay bills on time in part due to the number of accounts they have. Many have trouble keeping up with monthly expenses, requiring them to dip into savings to cover regular expenses.
Did you know that there are ways to reduce your loan interest rates‡ and monthly payments? You can also reduce the number of payments you owe and even earn money with rewards points from certain credit cards.
To simplify your credit, consider the following options:
Use the bill pay option with your bank
This saves time and you can go to one place to manage all of your bills and schedule them to pay once per month.
Consolidate your debt
Consolidating your debt allows you to have one payment for all your debt and you can usually obtain a lower interest rate. This can allow you to pay your debt in less time for less money.
Reduce the number of credit cards you use
This is another way to help you keep track of your spending and bills. Consider using a credit card that allows you to earn rewards. When you use the card you can earn points toward purchases, helping you save money.
Take advantage of low interest rates
If you refinance your current mortgage to the low rates available now, you can save on your monthly payment. This is also true of auto loan rates.
If you feel overwhelmed by debt and monthly bills, take advantage of these ways to simplify your credit to help you work on becoming debt-free. Even if you don’t have much personal debt, it’s still a good idea to consider these tips to organize your finances, save money, and monitor your credit.
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Mr. Burditt serves as senior vice president of customer experience in UMB’s Consumer Division. He is responsible for developmental and strategic direction of the UMB consumer customer experience. He joined UMB in 2011. Mr. Burditt earned a Bachelor of Science degree in agricultural journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia. He also is a graduate of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce’s Centurions program.