Earlier this year, WalletHub.com ranked 2,534 U.S. cities according to the average credit scores of the consumers who live there. And while, Michigan has been making noticeable improvement on the credit front, a few cities in the Great Lakes state are still struggling with their ratings.
In fact, three Michigan cities are among the bottom ten on the list. Pontiac, with an average credit score of 588.4 ranks at number 2,525. Detroit and Inkster are right next to each other at numbers 2,528 and 2,529 and with 583.4 and 580.85 credit scores, respectively. Flint (2,505), Benton Harbor (2,502), and Eastpointe (2,454) rank higher up on the list, but still have average credit ratings that are considered “subprime.”
In defense of the Mitten, the city of Northville is ranked at number 76 with an average credit score of 733.17. And Birmingham comes in at number 86 with a collective credit rating of 732.25. Plymouth and Hudsonville can also boast pretty good showings, ranking at numbers 120 and 122, respectively, with credit scores of 728 each. Other Michigan cities that rank reasonably well on the list include Bloomfield Hills, Rochester, Troy, Rochester Hills, South Lyon, and Brighton.
Simple Ways for Michiganders to Improve their Credit Scores
Most Michigan cities are somewhere in the middle of the pack, with many Michiganders having “fair” ratings. This means that there are plenty of consumers in the state who aren’t getting the best interest rates on loans or great deals on their car insurance policies. Those Michiganders with poor credit scores are probably getting loan denials, as well as bad deals on insurance coverage and cell phone service.
Luckily, there are relatively simple ways to improve your credit that won’t cost you a ton of money. Just remember that real credit repair takes time and effort, and it doesn’t happen overnight. Any company that promises an “instant credit fix” is almost always running a scam. Here are some things that you can do to at least speed up the credit repair process:
- Get current with your bills.
Paying late on almost anything can hurt your credit score. Plus, if you’re budgeting around your credit building efforts, all of those late fees can present a serious barrier to your financial goals. So, get up-to-date with any bills on which you’re behind. Then, set up an online schedule with email/text alerts so that you never miss a due date again. If you must, figure out which of your creditors are NOT credit reporting. If you have to be late with anyone, you don’t want to be late with those creditors that credit report you.
- Use credit responsibly.
If you’ve had trouble with credit cards in the past, you may be tempted to shy away from using them. But there’s a rule about credit: In order to build it, you have to use it. So, it’s certainly okay to make purchases with credit cards, as long as you never charge more than you can afford to pay off. If you can’t qualify for a credit card because of your low rating, getting a secured card might be a good option. To apply, you’re required to deposit money into an account, and the amount of this deposit becomes your spending limit. This eliminates risk to the lender and allows you to use credit without building debt.
- Don’t get seduced by free offers in connection with credit cards.
You can’t leave stores like Target without being solicited for their credit card. If you don’t absolutely need it, don’t take it. They will offer you a 5% or 10% discount “today” just for applying. Remember, every time a creditor pulls your credit report, it lowers your credit score. If you get declined, that ain’t good either.
- Pay down high credit card balances.
If you’re using too much of your available credit, your credit score can drop even if you’re making every payment on time. This is because, when your score is calculated, something called your “utilization ratio” is factored in. A utilization ratio refers to the percentage of your available credit that you’re using at any given time. Ideally, you don’t want to carry balances Why? Carrying a balance on your credit cards makes FICO think that you’re relying too much on credit, and this makes you risky as a borrower.
- Check your credit reports for errors.
Many people don’t realize that credit reporting agencies are known to make mistakes. In fact, about 80 percent of consumer credit reports contain errors of some type. And a lot of these inaccuracies are significant enough to drag down your credit score.
The good news is that the credit bureaus are required by mandated law called Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) to remove items from credit reports that are false. So, it’s a good idea to regularly check your reports for potential errors. Under the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA), you are entitled to receive a free copy of your report from each of the three primary bureaus every 12 months. Just visit www.AnnualCreditReport.com to request reports from TransUnion, Experian and Equifax.
In order to dispute inaccuracies on your credit reports, you must send written notifications, along with supporting documents to the appropriate agencies, and the process can be complicated. However, you don’t have to do this alone. You can get a lawyer to help you – For FREE.
The Free and Easy Way to Clean Up Your Credit Reports
As a Michigander, you’re working hard to improve your credit, and you are legally entitled to fair and accurate credit reports. And at Credit Repair Lawyers of America, we’ll make sure that mistakes on your credit reports are removed at no cost to you.
Let’s talk about what we can do to get you better credit. To set up your free consultation today, call Attorney Gary Nitzkin at (248) 353-2882 or email him at [email protected].