Your credit score is one of the most important things you have to prove your creditworthiness. If you plan to borrow money to buy a home or car, you’ll need to have a good credit score. That helps lenders see you can be a good credit risk for them. How do you maintain a good credit score? There are a wide range of factors that contribute to your credit score. Here are five ways you’ll need to focus.

#1: Making On Time Payments

Lenders value on time payments heavily. It is one of the most common factors to impact credit scores. Even being a few days late on a loan can make lenders worry you are struggling financially. Prioritize paying your debts a few days before they are due to minimize the risk of making a late payment. The best way to ensure that is to set up an automatic payment. Most lenders let you set up a specific day of the month for money to come out of your checking account. Since it is automatic, you don’t have to worry about it getting there late.

#2: Keep Your Credit Limit Lower

While it is ideal to owe less than 30 percent of your available credit limit on your loans, that is not realistic for many people. What is most important is to keep your balance under the limit. Going over it could hurt your score. Work to pay down your debt over time to help reduce the costs you’ll have to pay in overextending yourself.

#3: Keep Older Credit Lines Open

It’s tricky to keep older lines of credit open and not use them. However, your oldest credit lines are some of the most valuable to you. They show lenders you’ve been using credit for a long time. That means your credit score is a good representation of your actual risk. You’re not new but proven. If you have an old credit line you want to maintain, use it just for a few small purchases each month. Then, pay those debts off in full each month.

#4: Use Credit

Just having a line of credit or a credit card isn’t enough. You also need to use credit and make on time payments to prove yourself. A good way to do this is to use your credit card for gas payments or utility bills only. Then, pay it off every month on time in full.

#5: Check Your Credit Reports

It’s also important to make sure all information being reported about you is accurate. You can obtain a free credit report from each of the three credit bureaus one time each year. Do that at Look for errors and report mistakes right away.

Get the Help You Need to Repair Your Credit Now

Improving your credit score takes time and knowledge. With the help of our team at Key Credit Repair, you can get outstanding support to make better financial decisions. We are a bonded, fully insured, and top-rated credit counseling company ready to support you. Call us today to learn more.

Pros and Cons of Credit Cards vs. Debit Cards

Credit cards and debit cards are both convenient payment methods that most merchants accept. However, notable differences make each preferable for certain purposes. Here are the pros and cons (and when you might want to use) each one:

Interest and Fees: Debit Cards

Both credit cards and debit cards can have fees associated with them, but credit cards tend to have more fees and also charge interest:

  • Credit cards can have any number of fees, possibly including an annual fee, late payment fee, over-limit fee and others. Interest is typically billed monthly on any unpaid balances.
  • Debit cards can have overdraft fees, and many charge a small fee anytime that they’re run as a “debit” transaction.

The fees and interest can be managed with both types of cards. Credit cards without annual fees are readily available. As long as you remain under the credit limit and pay off balances each month, you won’t pay late fees, over-limit fees or interest. Debit card overdraft fees can be avoided by budgeting accurately, and the per-transaction fee doesn’t apply if you pay via “credit.”

For the simplest and most sure way to avoid fees and interest, though, a debit card is the better choice.

Rewards: Credit Cards

Debit cards that offer rewards are hard to find, but many credit cards provide rewards. Rewards can include cashback or points, the latter which might pay for consumer goods, tavel or other items. Some rewards programs even have an option that allows you to donate to charity.

The standard rewards that credit cards offer generally range from 1 to 5 percent, and sometimes certain categories get higher percentages back. This is in addition to bonus sign-up rewards, which can be substantial and many cards come with for new accounts.

Many people use credit cards because of their rewards. In order for the rewards to be worthwhile, however, you must avoid fees and interest.

Purchase Protection: Credit Cards

Many credit cards offer purchase protection, which can include dispute resolution, insurance and other provisions. You can usually contest charges if a merchant fails to meet its obligations. Insurance is normally offered for specific purchases, such as rental cars or travel.

Debit cards don’t offer any such purchase protections. For this reason, it may be wise to use credit cards whenever you pay for more expensive items.

Credit: Credit Cards

Because credit cards are effectively lines of credit that provide short-term financing, they affect your credit. Making at least the minimum monthly payment establishes a payment history, which is part of your credit score and history. 

The effect on credit can work against you if you over-borrow, fail to make payments and carry high balances, however.

Get Help With Bad Credit

If you’ve gotten into credit card trouble and now have bad credit, contact us at Key Credit Repair. We can help you begin improving your credit score and credit report.

Top 7 Ways To Plan Your Budget for a Pet Emergency

Having a pet comes with a lot of love and enjoyment, but it can also come with plenty of expenses. Some of those are expected and easy to budget for, but if you have a pet emergency you might not be prepared. Here are seven great ways to protect your budget and be more prepared for an emergency with your pet.

1. Don’t Avoid Basic, Preventative Care

It can be easy to avoid taking your pet for routine checkups, especially if they seem healthy. But if you have them checked out on a regular basis, a problem could be caught before it develops into something much worse. Not only is that better for your pet’s health, but it’s easier on your budget to treat the problem before it becomes an emergency.

2. Create an Emergency Fund Separate From Your Savings Account

If you put some money back into a separate account, you’ll have it to spend if your pet has an emergency. Whether it’s part of your overall emergency fund, or it’s an additional account that’s only for your pet, it’s a good idea to keep it separate, so you aren’t tempted to spend it on something else.

3. Apply for Care Credit, To Have if You Need It

Care Credit is a credit card that’s designed to be used for pet medical expenses. If you have it and don’t need it, that’s much better than needing it and not having it. It’s easy to apply for, and could help your pet get emergency care when it’s needed most.

4. Choose a Good Pet Insurance Plan

Pet insurance can be one of the best ways to plan for a pet emergency. If you have insurance for your pet the amount you have to pay will be limited, no matter how much the care actually costs. It’s just like having health insurance for yourself or your family members, and can really make a difference in the cost of your pet’s emergency care.

5. Look for Veterinarians Who Work With Their Clients

Some veterinarians will take payments or work out other terms with clients whose pets need emergency care. If you can find a veterinarian in your area who does that, it can be a great way for you to start developing a relationship with medical professionals you can trust in your pet’s time of need.

6. Reach Out to Charities That Help With Vet Bills

There are a lot of charities that specifically help with vet bills, so you have some options if you end up with a pet emergency that goes beyond your budget. It’s a good idea to do some research on the charities ahead of time, so you know which ones will be most likely to help you, and how to apply for that help.

7. Plan Ahead Before Adding a Pet To Your Family

While pets are wonderful additions to many families, they definitely cost money. If you’re not in a position to pay for emergency pet care right now, it may be worthwhile to wait on getting a pet if you don’t already have one. With some planning, you can add one to your family in the future and have more financial peace of mind at the same time.