Three Ways To Improve Your Credit Score

All too often, low credit scores keep individuals from obtaining loans, credit cards, and other forms of financing. Over a long enough period of time, there are ways for individuals of all incomes and debt levels to repair their credit and get back on their feet.

1. Obtaining a credit card is perhaps the simplest way to develop a good credit score, as it establishes reliability and creditworthiness in the eyes of the credit bureaus. Although you do not need to carry a balance in order to have a good score, using a credit card or two and paying off the balances on time can help you gradually boost your credit score. For individuals who do not qualify for a credit card, many banks offer secured credit cards, which contain a balance equal to the deposit made.

2. Another relatively simple way to improve your credit score is to pay off existing credit card balance. For a large number of people, credit card debt represents the primary factor in a low credit score. To repair a damaged credit score, you should start by repaying all credit cards and other revolving accounts. In general, credit bureaus grant higher scores when they see a large difference between available credit limits and the amount of credit actually used.

Tips:

  • If you have more than one card, paying off the one with the lower balance first will allow you to put that money towards the payment on the higher balance card.
  • Check your interest rates and focus your attention on the card with the highest interest rate.
  • Call the card issuer and negotiate a lower rate based on the length of time you’ve been a customer and your solid payment history.

3. Whether or not you pay your credit card bills in full every month, charging a large percentage of your card’s credit limit represents a red flag for credit bureaus. As such, you can increase your credit score by limiting purchases to 30 percent of a card’s maximum limit. Many credit card companies offer text or email alerts at user-specified amounts, which can help you keep track of your monthly spending.