Staying on top of your personal and business credit scores is important if you plan to apply for business financing. Setting up banking and credit card alerts can make the job easier. Better still, it can also potentially lead to an improvement in your credit rating.
If you’re not already using banking and credit card alerts to your advantage, here’s what you need to know.
How Alerts Can Help Improve Your Credit Scores
Personal and business credit scores are calculated differently.
Your personal FICO score, for instance, is based on payment history, amounts owed, length of credit history, types of credit used and new applications for credit. Business credit scores focus on different factors. The Experian Business Credit Score looks at your credit obligations to suppliers and lenders, legal filings involving your company and public records. Dun & Bradstreet’s PAYDEX Score is determined by how well your business pays its bills.
While personal and business credit scores can measure different things, alerts can help you stay on top of both by encouraging you to be more conscious of your accounts and credit activity. When you’re paying more attention to your credit, you may become more intuitive about what can help or hurt your score. (That’s a good thing, considering that 72 percent of business owners don’t know their business credit score, according to a Manta survey.)
Getting Started With Banking and Credit Alerts
Your bank and credit card company may allow you to set up many different kinds of alerts or notifications. When you consider the things which are most likely to impact your credit scores, specific alerts may prove useful:
- Bill due date notifications
Payment history is the central factor in influencing your PAYDEX business credit score; it also carries the most weight for personal credit scores. Set up bill payment alerts to help you avoid late or missed payments, which could negatively impact your credit score. Even better, ensure you pay your bills on time by pairing alerts up with automatic bill payment through your bank.
- High credit card balance notifications
After payment history, your credit utilization is the next most important factor for scoring personal credit. Credit Utilization is the percentage of your total credit line that you’re using. Carrying high balances or maxing out your credit cards works against you. Set up an alert to notify you when your balance hits a certain threshold. This may help you put the brakes on spending.
- New transaction alerts
Fraud can affect both your personal and business credit scores if someone steals your credit card or taps into a line of credit you’ve opened and runs up a balance. An easy way to help combat that is to set up an alert to let you know when a new debit or purchase transaction posts to your bank or credit card accounts.
Remember to Check Credit Regularly
Checking your own credit report won’t hurt your score. So this is something you should do at least once per year, if not more often. Review your credit to look for things that alerts might miss — a new account opened in your name that you don’t recognize or a credit reporting error that might be hurting your score. If you spot an error, dispute it with the credit bureaus reporting the information. Doing so could get the information corrected or removed, giving your credit score a lift in the process.
Looking for other ways to improve your credit rating? Check out these articles.