At Lee Chrysler Dodge Jeep, we know how important it is that you know and understand your credit when purchasing a new vehicle. At Lee Automotive Group, we offer all sorts of finance programs designed to fit your special circumstances.
So take a minute to fill out our credit application and give us here at Lee Chrysler Dodge Jeep a chance to find a special finance program, military finance program or manufacturer special program to fit your special finance needs.
And in the meantime, remember these important basics about protecting and improving your credit so you can get the best possible finance rates for new and used vehicles anytime you visit a Lee Automotive Group store in
Credit report basics
There are three major credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. These bureaus gather information on your credit payment history, which forms the basis of your credit report. The information they compile includes your current address and past addresses; the amount of debt you carry, what kind of debt it is, the lenders' names, and your debt payment history; how often credit report inquiries are made; and your history of liens and bankruptcies.
Your credit score
Each bureau takes your credit report information and uses it to score your credit. Your credit score is a number between 300 and 850, with 850 being the best credit score and 300 the worst. Lenders use your credit score as a general indicator of your creditworthiness, so if your credit score is low, you might be charged higher interest rates.
How to check your credit
You can get your credit report for free; however you must pay for your score. Every year, you can request a free report from any of the three credit bureaus. That means that you can check your credit report without paying a fee once every four months.
Mistakes can happen, especially for people with similar names or Social Security Numbers. That's why it's important to check your credit before you start the car buying process. If there is an error on your credit report that could negatively impact your credit score, you want to have plenty of time to contact the bureaus and get the error corrected. All you need to do to correct an error is write the credit bureau, explaining which information is inaccurate. The credit agency must investigate the items in question, usually within 30 days. Then you'll get written confirmation of the corrections.
Ways to Improve Your Credit Score
Payment History Tip
Pay your bills on time.
Delinquent payments and collections can have a major negative impact on your FICO score.
If you have missed payments, get current and stay current.
The longer you pay your bills on time, the better your credit score.
Be aware that paying off a collection account will not remove it from your credit report. It will stay on your report for seven years.
If you are having trouble making ends meet, contact your creditors or see a legitimate credit counselor.
This won't improve your credit score immediately, but if you can begin to manage your credit and pay on time, your score will get better over time.
Amounts Owed Tips
Keep balances low on credit cards and other "revolving credit".
High outstanding debt can affect a credit score.
Pay off debt rather than moving it around.
The most effective way to improve your credit score in this area is by paying down your revolving credit. In fact, owing the same amount but having fewer open accounts may lower your score.
Don't close unused credit cards as a short-term strategy to raise your score.
Don't open a number of new credit cards that you don't need, just to increase your available credit.
This approach could backfire and actually lower your credit score.
Length of Credit History Tips
If you have been managing credit for a short time, don't open a lot of new accounts too rapidly.
New accounts will lower your average account age, which will have a larger effect on your score if you don't have a lot of other credit information. Also, rapid account buildup can look risky if you are a new credit user.
New Credit Tips
Do your rate shopping for a given loan within a focused period of time.
FICO scores distinguish between a search for a single loan and a search for many new credit lines, in part by the length of time over which inquiries occur.
Re-establish your credit history if you have had problems.
Opening new accounts responsibly and paying them off on time will raise your credit score in the long term.
Note that it's OK to request and check your own credit report.
This won't affect your score, as long as you order your credit report directly from the credit reporting agency or through an organization authorized to provide credit reports to consumers.
Types of Credit Use Tips
Apply for and open new credit accounts only as needed.
Don't open accounts just to have a better credit mix - it probably won't raise your credit score.
Have credit cards - but manage them responsibly.
In general, having credit cards and installment loans (and paying timely payments) will raise your credit score. Someone with no credit cards, for example, tends to be higher risk than someone who has managed credit cards responsibly.
Note that closing an account doesn't make it go away.
A closed account will still show up on your credit report, and may be considered by the score.