How To Improve My Credit Score
If you find that you aren’t getting approved for credit cards or loans, or aren’t getting favorable rates for financing, then you may need to make some improvements to your credit score. Building credit isn’t a particularly quick or simple process, but here are a few tips that can help.
Most credit scores – including the FICO score – operate within the range of 300 to 850. The credit tiers generally look like this:
- Excellent Credit: 750+
- Good Credit: 700-749
- Fair Credit: 650-699
- Poor Credit: 550-649
- Bad Credit: below 549
Here Are 6 Tips To Help Improve Your Credit Score
Review your credit report
Each year you are entitled to one free credit report from each of the three reporting agencies: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. Requesting a free report has no impact on your credit score. Review the report closely. It’s incredibly important to make sure that all of the information is accurate. If you have a mistake or discrepancy on your credit report, your credit score will reflect that mistake. Therefore, dispute any errors that you find. This is the closest you can get to a quick credit fix. Notifying the credit reporting agency of wrong or outdated information will improve your score as soon as the false information is removed.
Improve your payment history
Your payment history is the biggest factor in determining your credit score. Lenders don’t want to give money to someone who has a history of missed payments. Missed and late payments can stay on your credit for seven years or longer.
So get organized and start paying your bills on time all the time. Online bill pay is a great way to stay on top of your bills by setting-up automated monthly payments.
The longer you pay your bills on time, the more positive the effect on your credit score, as older late payments will have less effect than more recent ones.
Pay off your debts
Keeping your debt balances low will help boost your credit score. Paying off more than just the minimum payment signifies good behavior to a prospective lender. To be seen as managing your debt well, ensures you’re making headway into repaying what you’ve borrowed.
If you're having trouble paying off your debt, check out our 5 Get-Out-Of-Debt-Steps to Financial Freedom.
Limit credit applications
The 15% discount for signing up for a store credit card may seem worth it at the moment, (especially around the holidays) but your credit score will take a hit for applying, whether you get approved or not. A hard inquiry will impact your credit score for a full year. The hit may be small, but if you’re on the edge of two credit score tiers or applying for lots of credit offers in a short time span, you can do a lot of damage.
Build your credit history with a credit card
If you've never had credit before, it's difficult for a lender to assess you. Consider taking out a credit building credit card, making a couple of purchases on it each month and then repaying the balance in full at the end with a direct debit to build a good credit history. This will show that you can responsibly manage credit.
If you do apply for a credit card, be smart about using it and check out our 7 Smart Ways to Avoid Credit Card Debt.
Good credit scores don’t just happen overnight. The less negative information you have on your report, the easier it is to repair your credit score.
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