5 Ways to Improve Your Credit Score

Editor’s Note: From time to time we like to invite local experts from the community to answer questions about parenting and raising kids in Huntsville and North Alabama. Today we asked Lee Hoekenschnieder, Head of General Banking at Progress Bank, to address questions about family financial planning.

Improving your credit score will have a serious impact on your family’s life, both in the short term and the long term. Your credit score affects everything from buying a home, upgrading to a new minivan for your growing family, or even new employment opportunities.

Ask the Expert: Improving Your Credit Score

Whether you’re trying to raise your credit score or maintain it, here are five ways to change that magic number.

1. Know Your Score

Get a copy of your credit report and review it to see if there is any erroneous reporting. Dispute errors if found.


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2. Limit seeking additional credit.

Each time a potential lender pulls your credit it can have a negative effect on your credit score. In some cases, requesting services such as cable, utilities, renting a car, or leasing an apartment can reflect on your credit.

3. Catch Up, ASAP

Pay all past due accounts.


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4. Don’t close out credit card lines when paid off.

Periodically use credit cards in small amounts to keep accounts open. The relationship between credit available and outstanding balances (utilization) can have an important impact on your score. Having credit lines available is a positive.

5. Stick to Your Due Date

Don’t overextend yourself and pay bills on time.


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Following these five basic steps will almost instantly improve your credit score.

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Lee R. Hoekenschnieder | Huntsville Market President Progress BankABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lee Hoekenschnieder is the Huntsville Market President of Progress Bank. He began his banking career more than 35 years ago and has held senior leadership positions in several areas of banking for AmSouth Bank. He attended the University of Alabama and UAH, as well as, the School of Banking of the South at Louisiana State University and Canon Trust School at Pepperdine University, and also has his Series 7, 63 and 65 securities licenses. Hoekenschnieder has been active in the Huntsville community and has held leadership positions in numerous civic organizations. Currently, Hoekenschnieder is treasurer of FirstCommunity Health, president of the Madison County Veterans Memorial Foundation, member of the board of directors for Biztech, and chairman emeritus of the Huntsville Hospital Foundation.

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