Optimise your credit score to transform your future

Maintaining one’s credit score is crucial in the current economy, where financial stability is paramount.

A low credit score has more immediate consequences, such as higher interest rates or difficulty getting loans, but it also has less obvious but just as significant effects on one’s mental health.

Experts claim that the emotional toll of a damaged credit history can affect a person’s relationships, exacerbate family conflicts, and impede their ability to advance professionally.

Similarly, the stigma attached to financial hardship can cause people to feel alone and ashamed, which prevents them from getting the help or advice they need.

A clinical psychologist who specialises in transformative learning, Dr Khosi Jiyani, has emphasised the significance of changing one’s perspective
on money.

“Financial depletion and the worry that follows reveals as much about the time of year as it does about who we are as individuals.”

While it is in human nature to seek pleasure and avoid suffering, Jiyani emphasises that striking a balance between short-term satisfaction and long-term financial security is essential.

“We cannot live for the moment at the risk of tomorrow’s finances.”

Credit score tools offer consumers valuable information about their credit status, such as risk profiles, debt utilisation percentages, and full views of all open accounts and loans, according to Lerato Thwane, head of E-Commerce at Tesserai.

Thwane provides the following advice to customers to raise their credit scores:
  • Check your credit report: Regularly review your credit report for inaccuracies and dispute any errors found.
  • Pay bills on time: Timely payment of bills, including credit cards and loans, is essential to maintaining a good credit score.
  • Reduce credit card balances: Aim to keep credit card balances low relative to credit limits to avoid negatively impacting your credit score.
  • Avoid opening too many new accounts: Opening multiple new credit accounts within a short period can lower your credit score. Only apply for credit when necessary.
  • Extend your credit history: Maintain open credit accounts to improve your credit history’s length, which positively influences your credit score.
  • Diversify your credit mix: Having a mix of different types of credit can positively impact your credit score. However, manage new credit responsibly.
  • Be cautious with credit inquiries: Limit the number of credit inquiries, as too many can lower your score. Only apply for new credit when necessary.
  • Work with creditors: In times of financial hardship, communicate with creditors to talk about adjusted payment schedules and possible fixes.

It takes persistent and sensible money management practises to raise one’s credit score.

Although there are no quick remedies, anyone can attain and keep up a good credit standing with commitment and awareness.

Jiyane counselled: “It’s critical that we learn to live with our reality rather than with dreams that are out of our reach financially.

“View yourself as a producer of opportunities, if not now, then in the future, rather than as a victim of life.”

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