Having trouble getting approved for a loan or finding a good job?
These are just a couple of the bad consequences of having bad credit, so maybe finding some effective ways to improve your credit score is a good idea.
Having (and maintaining) a good credit score is extremely important.
Even if you might not need to apply for a credit card or get pre-approved for a mortgage right now, having a low credit score will have a negative impact should you need to file an application in the near future.
Credit can be repaired but the problem is, it usually takes months, sometimes even years. So, here are a few effective tips to improve your credit score sooner rather than later:
9 effective ways
to improve your credit score
1. Check your credit score every year
Request your free credit report at annualcreditreport.com. You can check out where you stand once a year, for free!
Many people are either unaware of this option or simply decide not to check their credit scores on a regular basis.
The problem with the latter though is, you never know what errors might have squeezed their way into your report without you even being aware!
Missing credit data or inaccurate information are not uncommon credit report errors. So, first step is to start verifying your annual credit reports.
2. Focus on paying your debts
The best way to improve credit score is to pay of your debts.
30% of your credit score is based on your credit utilization. So, if you have old loans you still need to pay off, old bills you ‘forgot’ about or taxes you haven’t paid on time, make sure you tackle these debts immediately!
Owing money always affects your credit score in a negative way. Whether you owe the bank, your utility company or the IRS, your credit score will drop inevitably.
3. Set your payments on autopilot
Wherever possible, set your payments on autopilot.
35% of your credit score is based on your payment history. While paying all bills on time won’t be rewarded by a credit score raise, forgetting to make a payment or making it a couple day late will have a negative impact!
Avoid making things worse by setting up recurring automatic payments.
4. Pay bills twice a month
Making frequent payments can be a helpful way to increase your credit score even faster.
Like already mentioned above, 30% of your credit score is based on the available borrowed credit.
FICO views people who borrow close to their credit limit as financially irresponsible. This means maintaining a low credit card balance is the smart thing to do.
By making frequent payments, you reduce your balance and, at the same time, lower your credit utilization significantly.
5. Raise your credit limit
Seeing how being too close to your credit limit negatively affects your credit score, one way to avoid that is by increasing your credit limit.
However, you should only do this is you’re able to control your spending.
A higher credit limit should help you raise your credit score, not allow you to spend even more money you don’t have!
6. Don’t cancel your credit cards right away
After paying off credit card debt, instinct probably tells you to close the account and never have to deal with that debt ever again.
When you cancel a credit card you just paid off, the result is you’ll only lower your credit score in the process!
Keep your credit cards and try to use them for recurring payments only. The more available credit you have while still carrying a balance, the better.
7. Credit score is like good wine: the older, the better
15% of your credit score is determined based on the length of your credit history. Yet another good reason not to cancel a paid off credit card!
The longer your credit history, the more info it provides about you and your financial habits.
Maintaining a good personal finance “routine” will definitely result in a credit score increase.
People with credit scores above 740 didn’t get there by getting into debt often and forgetting to make payments on time.
8. Credit variety
While intentionally getting into debt just to prove FICO a point isn’t ideal, mixing it up when it comes to your credit accounts can actually help.
Paying off various types of debt proves you can handle debt “like a pro”.
By indicating you’re able to tackle different types of debt, it is possible to appear as a more desirable candidate to lenders.
9. Re-age your delinquent accounts
If you’re able to make your payments on time for 3 consecutive months, you can ask your creditor for a re-aging.
Re-aging of an account implies erasing the negative payment history and listing your account as “paid on time”.
The practice should reward those who prove to be making efforts towards improving their credit scores and maintaining good financial habits.
If your issuer agrees to re-age your account, then you won’t be listed as a late payer every month.
Have some of these ways to improve credit score worked for you?
In your experience, what other ways are there to raise a credit score?
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