In June, the number of individuals with a collections account on their credit report fell to 25 million, down from 33 million the previous year, and the total collections balance reported on accounts declined by about $11 billion during that time, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
In addition, some people might have seen their scores take a jump earlier this year when the three major credit companies scrapped tax liens from their reports.
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You can see if your score is higher for free on websites like Credit Karma or Credit Sesame.
If it has, resist the urge to go deeper into debt or take a break from checking in with your score.
“Anyone who has experienced a jump in their credit score resulting from these changes should take advantage of the momentum and strive for even more progress toward improving their credit health,” said Bruce McClary, vice president of communications at the National Foundation of Credit Counseling.
Consider calling your bank or credit card company and negotiating a lower interest rate. Doing so can result in major savings.
For example, if you have $10,000 in credit card debt with a 25 percent annual percentage rate, you’ll have paid around $2,500 in interest over the year. But if you could get that rate down to 18 percent, you’ll pay $1,800 over 12 months, and save yourself $700.