Q: Next week will be seven years that I've always been on time with my house payment, car loan, and charge card. Will I be able to start a new credit card at a lower interest rate?
Your good financial habits should help you qualify for some of today's best credit card offers, provided that your debt doesn't overwhelm your income and your credit report doesn't contain any errors.
After seven years of on-time payments, you've earned the opportunity to apply for a low interest credit card. The factors in your credit score that work in your favor include:
- Many years of on-time payments,
- A diversity of account types, and
- Few "hard" credit inquiries from credit card issuers.
However, a few signs of trouble could lurk on your credit report if you haven't viewed it in some time. Watch out for:
- Incorrect or outdated information about your employment or income,
- A mortgage or car loan that appears "underwater" based on your payment history,
- "Maxed out" balances out of proportion to your income.
If you visit AnnualCreditReport.com, you can pick up your free annual credit reports from all three credit bureaus. If everything looks good, consider some of these credit cards for excellent credit.
One more note of caution: once you transfer your balance to a lower rate credit card, keep that original credit card open and use it just once each month for a routine purchase at a drugstore or supermarket. Even though it may have a higher interest rate than your new card, the length of time you've kept it open and active gives your credit score a huge boost.
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