BBB helps consumers make sense of their credit
Albertans carry the most consumer debt in the country with approximately $27,000 racked up in credit card debt and loans*. That's nearly $6,000 more than the national average consumer debt load. With Financial Literacy Month kicking off on November 1, BBB is helping consumers sort out their money matters for a more secure financial future.
"Cleaning up your credit is more than paying your bills on time," says Mary O'Sullivan-Andersen, president and CEO of BBB Serving Southern Alberta and East Kootenay. "It takes regular maintenance and diligence. If you fall into a habit of accumulating debit or bad credit, it will make it difficult to secure loans or other financial investments later on."
Cash in your old credit routine for a clean bill of financial health with these BBB credit-repair tips:
- Know the difference between:
- Credit score: An up-to-date rating of your financial situation that shows lenders the level of risk if they grant you a loan.
- Credit report: A detailed report of your credit history.
- Credit rating: A rating of each of your credit history items on a scale of one to nine, one being the best and nine the worst. This is determined by your payment history and how often you make late payments.
Improving your credit score: Try to pay all of your bills in their full amount and on time. Remember that utility bills are not recorded in your credit report, late payments to your cell phone provider may be reported against your credit score.
- If you can't pay the full amount, at least pay the minimum amount on time consistently.
- Don't max out your credit card. The higher the owing balance, the greater the impact on your score.
- Limit the number of credit applications. Having multiple creditors check your credit score can hurt your credit score.
- Repairing your credit: Verify all of the information on your credit report, both good and bad, is true and accurate. If it's not, you can request a copy of your credit report for free and make changes. But, only proven inaccurate information can be omitted or changed. Negative, but true information, cannot be legally removed.
- You can improve your credit rating for free, all on your own. There is no need to hire a credit repair company. Some credit repair bureaus promise they can completely erase negative information on your record, which is illegal.
For more tips you can trust, visit bbb.org.
Leah Brownridge, Media and Corporate Communications Specialist
Better Business Bureau Serving Southern Alberta and East Kootenay
For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2016, people turned to BBB more than 167 million times for BBB Business Reviews on more than 5.2 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at bbb.org. There are local,independent BBBs across the United States, Canada and Mexico, including BBB Serving Southern Alberta and East Kootenay, which was founded in 1954 and garners more than one million instances of service annually.
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