Better Credit Score Helps Your Business

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Eight tips to help Hispanic Americans improve their credit scores

 

 

One of the things that make the American dream possible–access to credit–has been unevenly distributed among the American population. Improving access to credit for Hispanic business owners and those who want to own homes has long been a priority in the Hispanic market.
Statistically, Hispanics are more likely to have nontraditional credit profiles, making it more difficult for Hispanics to get credit from traditional banks and other institutions that employ automated credit scoring. Hispanic business owners are more than twice as likely to be steered into subprime and Alt-A credit products, for example. With just additional attention to detail on the part of the applicant and lender, many of them could and should qualify for top-tier financing.

Latin Americans are also less likely than Caucasian Americans to have a credit card. While credit card debt has had a devastating effect on many American families’ finance, the lack of a credit card can also make it tougher for Latin American business owners to build credit and qualify for better financing terms down the road.

The following are eight tips to improve your credit score.

1. Pull your own credit report. The law allows you to get a report from each of the three major credit bureaus–Equifax, Experian and TransUnion–annually at no charge. Look the reports over for charges you don’t recognize. If someone has stolen your identity and is opening credit accounts in your name, this is big trouble for your credit score until you address it. If you see anything you don’t recognize, send a registered letter to the credit bureau challenging the debt. By law, the bureau has 30 days to confirm the debt is legitimate or remove it from your credit report.

Identity theft is not the only way for errors to appear on your report. Sometimes creditors may forget to report a payment to the credit bureaus. Or you may have an account listed that you thought you had paid off but the credit bureaus listed as being “settled.” Settled accounts are paid off in a lump sum when the debt holder cannot afford to pay off all of the amounts owed.

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