TIPS: Credit score help and hacks

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- What is your credit score? In today's world you really should be able to answer that question. And the answer should be 720 or above. Getting a good credit score takes time, a bit of devotion and even some coaching.

Zachary Fair works in food services in Antarctica. He was able to take a job there, in part, because he paid off his student debts of $110,000 in four years. The Credit Sesame website and it's insights helped him along the way.

"When you are putting maybe $2,000 a month towards student loans and the number keeps going down and down," he said. "And you're checking your debt and credit score and things are shooting up, it is a very positive feedback."

San Francisco-based Credit Sesame was founded by Adrian Nazari.

"We help people stay on top of their credit, their debt," he said. "We simplify and automating it so they can take simple actions that matter and improves their credit."

Nazari says those who sign up for his free service want to understand their credit and how the whole credit system works.

He tells me, "First we give people their free credit score. Then we break down all the components that make up the score and then for each factor what they are doing right, what they are doing wrong and what they can do to improve their overall finances and their overall credit standing."

Fair understands all of that now and he offers this advice..

"You need a mix of things; loans through mortgages, car payments or whatever," he said. "It is part of that game if you understand the pieces of the puzzle."

Different kinds of loans is one piece of the credit score puzzle, another piece is how much of your available credit is being used. The lower the better. Fair hacks the system by asking for more credit.

"I will ask for maybe $1,000 or $2,000 on all of my credit cards and I try to do it the same month," he says.

So without paying down his debt, he is using less of his available credit, percentage wise.

"Then you notice your credit score going up again," he said. "Using a website like Credit Sesame you will see the impact after a month or two, three at most."

Click here for a look at more stories by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.
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