Don't blow it: Put that income tax refund to work for you

Washington, DC ( — If you’re waiting for your income tax refund, think first before you spend it. Put it to good use to help lower your debt, and in the long run improve your credit score.

Those Americans who are fortunate enough to receive a tax refund check are eager to splurge on a new outfit, a fancy pair of shoes or that new HDTV. Dionne Perry, sales director of Financial Education Services in Washington, D.C., says you’ll be better off using those extra funds to completely pay off a bill or pay down on a credit card you’ve had for years.

“So many people are happy when they know they’re going to get a tax refund,” says Perry, who has been a licensed mortgage broker and certified loan-signing agent. “But what they don’t realize is that with the credit markets still so tight, you need to pay off some bills so that you can improve your credit score.”

Why is a “credit score” so important? Perry explains that banks, credit card issuers, mortgage companies and financial companies use this score to determine how much of a credit risk you are. There are three major companies (Experian, TransUnion, Equifax) that track your payment history, the amount you currently owe lenders, the length of credit history, the number of new credit accounts opened or applied for and the mix of credit accounts you have, e.g. mortgages, credit cards, installment loans. The higher your credit score (720 and above), the more likely it is that you can get loans, refinance your mortgage and in some cases, land a new job or get a promotion. A low credit score (below 720) will make it more difficult for you to get access to credit, particularly if you’re trying to buy a new car, house or even a computer or washing machine or dryer.

“I work with you to sort this all out, then help you with a plan to improve your score that will really help your financial well-being now – and in the future,” Perry says.

To win a free consultation from Perry, send your name, email and phone number to her by email at or call her at 703-593-5488.

For more information about her expertise and other services she offers, go to