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Money Monday: Ways to improve your credit score

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(WJBK) -

With the housing market continuing to heat up in metro Detroit and used and new cars sales way up this year, it's a good time to talk about credit scores.

They are something many consumers have struggled with over the past few years. Michigan First Credit Union President & CEO Michael Poulos is a credit score expert who runs regular community seminars to educate metro Detroiters on how they can take control of their credit and save big over the long term.

Here are some examples of the consumer-focused tips:

Credit score tips

  • Even if you've had a foreclosure, bankruptcy or other serious issues debt issues, you can improve your score over time by taking the right actions.
  • Never pay someone to "fix" your score.
  • Scores are based largely on payment history (rent, bills, loans, etc.), but recent history is weighted more than 2+ years in the past.
  • Watch your loan distribution: a $15,000 car loan looks much better than $15,000 in unsecured credit card debt to credit scorers.
  • Credit availability matters: Often, it's best to cut up an unused credit card rather than canceling it, which would lowering your available credit.


Where credit scores are used

  • Applying for a mortgage or car loan: a higher score means a better (lower) loan rate
  • Getting a job
  • Renting an apartment
  • Signing up for a cellphone contract

Poulos will offer a free seminar on credit scores on Wednesday, Oct. 16. Click here to register.

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