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How to Increase Your Credit Scores with One Short Phone Call

"One of the quickest ways to increase your credit scores is to increase your credit card limits."

Pretty simple, huh?

Now let me explain why something so easy can have such a great impact.

Let's imagine you have 10 credit cards each with a $1,000 limit. So you have a total (or aggregate) credit card limit of $10,000.

Now let's assume that five of these credit cards are maxed out. In this case, you have a total (or aggregate) credit card balance of $5,000. Your balance-to-limit ratio is now 50%. You've used $5,000 of your $10,000 total credit limit. This is called your "revolving utilization." It's the total amount of your credit limits that you are currently using.

Being 50% utilized is considered high by most lenders' standards...and more importantly...by the creators of the FICO credit score.

But now watch what happens.

You pick up the telephone and ask for a credit limit increase on each of the five credit cards you haven't maxed out. Let's suppose each of the five lenders doubles your credit limit. So now you have 5 credit cards with a $2,000 limit and a $0 balance. But you also have 5 credit cards with a $1,000 limit with no available credit.

By increasing your credit limits you've just reduced your balance-to-limit ratio from 50% to 33%. And if you doubled the credit limit on the other 5 cards in this example, your balance-to-limit ratio would be 25%.

That's a significant decrease in your ratio!

Bravo! You've just increased your credit scores by making a few free telephone calls.

However, there are some potential pitfalls with this strategy. When you ask for a credit limit increase it will cause a credit inquiry...the type that lowers your credit scores.

So, to be safe, apply for all credit limit increases within a 14-day period. Here's why.

Credit Scoring Tip

When calling to increase the credit limit of credit cards issued by banks or credit unions, there's a good chance multiple inquiries will be counted as only one, minimizing the impact several inquiries could have on your credit scores.

In the past, you've seen me write about how, when you apply for a mortgage or comparison shop to buy a car, you should always do it within a 14-day period since mortgage and auto inquiries made within this timeframe count as only one inquiry.

Well, the same can be true when you ask your bank or credit union to increase your credit limits. This is the first time I've revealed this tip.

The reason this works is because the FICO credit scoring models can't usually distinguish why a bank or credit union is inquiring about your credit. In other words, there's no way to tell if the bank is inquiring about your credit in order to approve you for a mortgage or because they want to increase your credit limit. So it errs on the side of the consumer because you COULD be applying for a mortgage or auto loan from a bank or credit union. In this case it groups all inquiries within 14 days and counts them as only 1. This is very much in your favor.

But even if you do get stung by a few credit inquiries, generally your reduced utilization percentage will outweigh any negative effect of the inquiries—as long as you don't go on a shopping spree afterwards!

That brings me to the second pitfall...

Increasing Credit Limits is NOT a "Spend More Money" Strategy

If you go out and use up the newly available credit you'll be back in the same situation with your scores (and you will owe even more money). So don't make that mistake.

Think of your increased limit as overdraft protection on a checking account. You're not supposed to ever use it...but it's nice to have just in case.

Use this Technique to Increase Your Credit Scores Every Six Months

From personal experience, I've found that you can request that your credit limits be increased about once every six months—as long as you put yourself in a position to deserve an increase.

In order for the credit card companies to increase your credit limits, you obviously need a good payment history with them. If you continually make late payments or have a large balance, odds are they won't increase your limit. So keep this in mind when you ask for limit increases.

At minimum you should: pay your bills early or on time, pay more than the minimum amount due, and/or pay off your balance each month.This article is free for republishing
Source: http://www.articlealley.com/article_131273_19.html

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