A recent Wells Fargo survey shows that one-third of Americans worry more about their finances than their health.
Just like regular medical check-ups, regular reviews of your credit can help keep you financially healthy and may even increase your cash flow through lower interest rates.
To help promote financial health and wellness, we are reviving our popular Free Credit Score and Complimentary Credit Report program. In addition to becoming one of the more than 800,000 customers who have taken advantage of this program since we first offered it in 2012, we encourage you to integrate the below tips into your daily life.
- Check your credit report annually. Make sure your credit report contains current and accurate information. Errors could negatively affect your credit score and even be a sign of possible identity theft. Request a free copy of your credit report at least once a year by visiting AnnualCreditReport.com.
- Pay your bills on time. Your payment history is one of the biggest factors in your credit score – including things that may surprise you like on-time payment of your rent and cell phone bill. Using free online tools such as Wells Fargo’s Budget Watch can help you stay on top of monthly expenses. And, pay more than the minimum payment whenever possible to keep your debt level manageable and reduce the cost of borrowing.
- Keep monthly debt at no more than 35 percent of your gross monthly income. Lenders look at the amount of debt a consumer has compared to their monthly income when making credit decisions. To calculate your debt-to-income ratio, add up what you owe each month in rent/house payment, credit card payments, student and other loans, and then divide that total by your monthly income before taxes. For example, if your monthly income before taxes is $3,000 and you owe $1,000 in monthly payments, then your debt-to-income ratio is 33 percent. To keep track of your monthly income and expenses, consider using a budget worksheet like the Hands on Banking Budget toolkit.
- Understand how strong credit affects your bottom line. Your credit score influences the interest rate you qualify for when applying for all types of loans. The lower the interest rate, the less you’ll pay in interest. Many websites, including wellsfargo.com, offer calculators that help consumers understand how interest rates affect their payment and the total cost of the loan.
- Establish and maintain healthy credit — even if you don’t need a loan. Lenders aren’t the only businesses who use credit scores to make decisions — many insurance companies, cell phone providers, and landlords do, too.
If you haven’t checked your credit score lately, visit a Wells Fargo banking store or go online to wellsfargo.com/freecredit score and learn how you can get a unique personal access code to receive a free credit score and complimentary credit report. We’re offering the service Oct. 1 – Nov. 16, 2014 as part of our support of the American Bankers Association’s Get Smart About Credit program — a national campaign to raise awareness about the responsible use of credit.
To learn more about how to responsibly manage your finances and achieve your financial goals, visit any one of these free online resources:
- My Financial Guide, which features articles and videos about money management.
- Hands on Banking®, an interactive financial education program for all age groups (available in Spanish at www.elfuturoentusmanos.com).
- Budgeting Toolkit, a goal-oriented approach to managing your finances (available in Spanish at www.wellsfargo.com/paquetedepresupuesto)
Here’s to your financial health!
Korotzer leads the Wells Fargo Consumer Credit Solutions Marketing team, where he oversees marketing support for multiple lines of business, including Credit Card, Personal Lines and Loans, Direct Auto, Fee-based Services, Rewards and Student Lending.