I didn’t think it could happen so soon after bankruptcy or re-establishing credit, but less than a year after obtaining my first unsecured credit, from the cell phone company Fido, I have moved up to the ranks of a preferred customer. Quite a change from when I opened the account in May 2010, when they gave me a low limit, restricted account due to my lower credit scores and the bankruptcy appearing on my credit profiles.
Rewards For A Good Payment History Come Quickly
But before I tell you what happened, let me go back a few months to December. In retrospect, it seems that after just 6 months of on-time payments, I was already in Fido’s good books. I received a telemarketing call offering me an upgrade to a new cell phone. As it happens, I was planning on getting an iPhone, so the timing was great. They sent me a phone worth several hundreds of dollars and upgraded me to a much better cell phone plan and also added a data plan that I needed for the iPhone. Quite a change from 7 months prior when I was lucky enough to get the cheapest contract plan using an old, cheap cell phone I already had. When I signed up, I was relegated to a $200 spending limit which would be removed pending my future credit worthiness with them.
Beware Of The Telemarketing Calls
With some companies, like Fido, once you have proven a good payment history, you’ll probably start getting telemarketing calls. Be careful not to go for each and every one because you’ll probably be committing yourself to a new and more expensive contract.
Last week, I received a telemarketing call from a company that Fido hired to promote their Mobile Internet Stick which lets you get wireless Internet on your laptop wherever you travel within Canada (as long as it’s in their cellular coverage zone). I was flattered that I had been pre-approved. All I had to do was say yes and they would sign me up for a 2 year contract and send out the Internet Stick. But, I kindly declined as I don’t really need it.
Beware Of The Upsells Too
Then a few days later, I had to call Fido to ask about something unrelated and the agent advised me that I was pre-approved to add a second phone line to my account. Now, I would have to think that you need need good credit in order to get these offers. When I was with Bell just prior to my bankruptcy, I had less than perfect credit with them. Sometimes I paid on time, sometimes only partial payments, sometimes I was a month or two or three late. And I never, ever got offers like this.
Benefits Of A Good Payment History
So, paying on time has many benefits! Not only do you avoid late fees, but you avoid any negative items on your credit profile (though some companies only report late payments when they go into collections, although they certainly keep track of it internally within their own company). Best of all, many companies, such as Fido report to the credit bureau, so that’s one more positive line of credit that’s helping to boost my credit scores and make my credit worthiness look good! And if you need or want to take advantage of special offers, based on approved credit, you can.
Its important not to get carried away with all of this new found independence thanks to your improved credit worthiness. It’s easy to fall into the trap of easy credit and be enticed by free bonuses for signing up to something that you will be committed to for a couple of years. Plus, the more you owe, the more it increases your debt-to-income ratio.
How Did I Become So Good At Paying On Time?
And just how did I manage to stay on top of things? Automatic payments. Each month, Fido automatically takes out my payment from my bank account. I get an email about 10 days ahead of time to tell me what I owe and when the amount will be taken from my bank account. Of course, I need to make sure there’s enough money in the bank account or it will bounce, resulting in an NSF charge plus but a black mark on my credit worthiness with the company.
Even in this era of tighter credit requirements, it’s possible (and feels very rewarding) to be moving up the ranks of credit worthiness and once again be wanted and appreciated by credit granters. It may seem like common sense, but keep paying your bills on time and you will be rewarded!