How to Improve Your Credit Score
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Your credit score is your passport to lower interest rates and other perks. A good credit standing can even land you a good job since employers are starting to consider high credit score as a sign of stability. There are many more well-known advantages of having a good credit score. Here’s how you can improve yours.
Check your credit report
This is the easiest to check gauge how good or bad your credit standing is. You can a free report every year from each of the three major credit reporting agencies: Equifax, TransUnion and Experian.
Once you get your report, be sure to check for errors such as unauthorized charges and incorrect information. The smallest of errors can ding your score and cost you more money. Regular checkups can also help prevent nasty cases of identity theft.
If there are any errors on your report, ask the creditor to acknowledge the mistake and have it fixed. They are legally required to correct errors, so be sure to stay on them until they are fixed.
Pay your bills on time
This is not the easiest tip to follow since it requires a tremendous amount of willpower. But do this regularly and you’ll see your score improving over time.
Paying your bills on time is the single largest factor in determining your credit score. Plus, making timely payments saves you from paying penalties and late charges. This alone can save you money and the trouble of having to convince lenders of your creditworthiness. If you have a lot of debt, paying your bills won’t automatically lift your credit score overnight. But start doing it anyway and you will begin to notice small, regular improvements in the long run.
Get more credit cards
Getting one doesn’t mean that you should use it especially if you already have two active credit cards. In case you decide to use it for small, infrequent purchases, be sure to pay your balance in full and on time. Your on-time payments add points to your credit score.
Use a secured credit card
If you can’t get a regular credit card or don’t trust yourself with having one, a secured credit card is a better option. Unlike typical cards, this type of card is pre-loaded. That means can’t spend money you don’t have. It works best when you’re spending within a budget. What’s more, using the card regularly can help you rebuild your credit.
Use no more than 30% of your total available credit
Your credit score is calculated based on a number of factors. One of them is the amount of credit used compared to your total available credit. Ideally you should not spend more than 30% of it. Get the total estimated available credit of all your credit cards and loans (excluding mortgages) and check if how much of it you’re using. If you’re using less than 30% of it, creditors will consider you creditworthy and are likely to lend you money.
This factor explains why opening new credit accounts is helpful and why closing old accounts can lower your score.
Improving your score takes time and attention. Don’t use busyness as an excuse. Set aside time to check your credit report once every four months, pay your bills and monitor your progress.