Reap the Rewards of Good Credit

Credit Cards

You know that good credit will help you get the best rates on loans (natch)—but what if you’re already stuck with high rates due to a bum credit history?

Good news! Improving your credit score can help you refinance or renegotiate for better terms (and lower payments).

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Monitor your credit score regularly, so you’ll know when things start to look up. (Hint: Paying down balances is a quick way to boost your score; building a reliable payment history takes longer.)

What should you aim for? “There’s no magic number,” says credit expert Gerri Detweiler, author of Reduce Debt, Reduce Stress, “because every bank has different requirements.” Though you should be reaching for the high 700s or 800s, even an increase from 600 to 650 could make a difference.

Be Your Best Advocate

As your score goes up, you’ll become more attractive to lenders—but it’s up to you to point that out. Call your credit card and loan companies, and use the competition to lobby for a better rate.

One of the perks of better credit is being able to push for lower fees when you refinance—another money saver.

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