What can I do to improve my credit score?

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Credit Card Applications » Research » Guides » Building Credit History » What can I do to improve my credit score?

What can I do to improve my credit score?


Updated: December 26, 2012

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What can I do to improve my credit score?
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A higher score can give you more financial options and many favorable credit offers. If you already have a good score, you can still improve it. There is no way to instantly boost your credit score. But improvement is possible, no matter what your credit history includes. With patience, time and tenacity, you can get the credit score you desire.

Seven ways to start improving your credit score today:

1. Check your credit report regularly. Correct any incorrect information you find on your credit report as quickly as possible. Incorrect information is an invalid reflection of you as a credit consumer.
2. Learn what your current credit score is as it appears on your credit report. You can get your credit score by contacting any credit reporting agency, such as Equifax, Experian or TransUnion. These credit reporting agencies allow you to quickly get your credit score, along with your credit report, for a small fee. Remember, each of these 3 credit reporting agencies will have slightly different scores.
3. Have as few open credit card accounts as possible. Don't open new accounts that you don't need. The more open accounts you have, the lower your score - even if your accounts have a zero balance. Why? If you have an open account, it is assumed you could charge on it at anytime. Therefore, even though you have a zero balance, the account is viewed as debt you could possibly incur at any moment.
4. Try to keep account balances on your credit cards as low as possible. The higher your debt to balance ratio, the lower your score will fall. High balances on your account may negatively affect your score because you have a greater chance of missing payments.
5. Make all of your payments on time. Past Due accounts will be listed on your credit report. Usually, you have 60 days before this happens. If you cannot pay your bills on time, call your creditors as soon as possible to explain the circumstances and work out a payment schedule you can meet. If you are having trouble paying due to circumstances such as serious illness or unemployment, submit (in writing) an explanation to the credit reporting agencies. This explanation will be added to your credit report. Remember, the sooner you deal with your payment problems, the more cooperative creditors will be.
6. Minimize the number of inquiries on your credit report. You can do this by not applying for multiple credit cards over a short period of time. Apply for new credit accounts only as needed. Each time an inquiry is made on your credit report, it is listed. You may lose as much as 5 points from your credit score for each inquiry.
7. If you have a bad credit history, consider opening new accounts and then paying them off on time. This establishes a positive credit history for you and shows that you now handle debt responsibly.

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