7 Things to do to Improve Your Credit Score
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According to TransUnion, did you know that only 10% of Americans know what their credit score is?
When you apply for a loan or credit card, your credit score helps lenders determine your ability to repay the loan based on your past financial performance. A higher score equals better interest rates and higher limits in most cases than what you would be offered with a lower score.
Despite what you may have seen on some television advertisements, there are no quick fixes to raise a credit score. However, over time you can raise your score by consistently managing your credit responsibly.
Here are seven things you can do to raise your credit score.
- Pay on time.
Having a history of paying your bills on time will make it easier to get your next mortgage, car loan, personal loan or credit card. The past two years of payments carry heavy weight in credit decisions and can help overcome previous missed payments.
- Keep balances low on credit cards and lines of credit.
Using a high percentage of your available credit has a negative impact on your credit score. Keeping your utilization down helps with improving your score.
- Reduce your debt.
Consolidating debt or spreading it over multiple cards will not improve your score in the long run. Paying down the amount you owe is the most effective way to improve your credit. Using a budget tool like Ascend’s free Money Management can help you get on the right track.
- Use credit cards.
Credit cards and installment loans that have a good track record of being paid on time can help raise your score. Make sure to manage them responsibly and avoid piling on extra debt.
- Don’t open multiple accounts too quickly.
Any new account opened will likely lower your score, but multiple new accounts opened in a short time frame can cause a significant drop in your score. Credit providers see this as a risk with a quick increase in credit availability.
- Check your credit report regularly.
Keep tabs on your credit report from Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. You can get copies of each report free annually. If you find a discrepancy, contact the original creditor and the credit bureaus to get the error corrected.
- Keep your oldest account open and active.
A factor that many people overlook when it comes to credit scores is length of credit history. You may not use that old credit card that is hidden away in a drawer at home, but it is likely a factor in your score if it’s your oldest credit account. If you haven’t used that card in a while, you might want to dust it off and make a few regular purchases to keep the credit issuer from closing the account on their own.
We hope these tips will help get you started toward a higher credit score. Our financial service officers at every Ascend branch are here to assist as well. They can take a look at your financial health and help point you in the right direction.