Your credit score is the all-encompassing number that reflects your financial health. The higher your score, the more likely you are to be approved for loans and lines of credit. There are several different factors that go into calculating your credit score, including on-time payments, age of credit, number of open accounts, credit utilization, credit usage, and soft & hard inquiries. Keep reading to learn more about making the most of your credit score.
Pay Your Bills On Time
This may seem obvious but it is an extremely important piece to improving your credit score. Paying on time is the most important factor for credit scores. Any attempt to improve your credit is useless if you are late on your payments. Late payments can stay on your credit reports for up to 7 and a half years.
Set reminders or automatic payments for the minimum payment amount to make sure you don’t miss a payment. As soon as you realize that you missed a payment, pay the number of payments missed and any late fees.
Pay Off Your Credit Card Balances Strategically
Credit utilization is the amount of your credit limit that you are using at any given time. Your credit utilization rate is the second most influential factor in your credit score. The recommended guideline is to keep your credit utilization below 30% of your limit on every card.
To keep your credit utilization down, pay down the balance on your credit cards right before the billing cycle ends or pay a few times throughout the month so your balance is always low.
Apply For Higher Credit Limits
If your income has increased or you have had several years of history on an improving credit score, you can apply for a higher credit limit from credit card companies. When your credit limit increases and your balance stays the same, your credit utilization goes down. This can be highly influential for your credit score.
Add To Your Credit Mix
Any good-standing credit accounts can help your credit, especially if they are diversified.
If you have mostly credit card accounts, look into getting a loan. A credit builder loan or a personal loan could be good options. Be sure the loan will be added to your credit reports to all three bureaus.
If you primarily have loans, consider getting a new credit card. While adding to your credit mix, it can also add to your available credit amount.
Dispute Any Credit Report Errors
If you notice any mistakes on your credit report, you need to dispute the error. Any mistakes could be pulling down your score.
To check your credit reports, go to annualcreditreport.com to request a free report from each of the three major credit bureaus. Common mistakes are payment marked as late when you paid on time, someone else’s credit report information on your reports, or information that is too old to be listed is still on your report. As soon as you notice an error and confirm with your credit reports, dispute the mistake with the correct credit bureau.
Your credit score is one of the most important things taken into account when you are trying to take out lines of credit. If you need assistance in approving your credit and aren’t sure where to start, our advisors at Mooney Lyons can help. Give us a call today to get started.