Tips to Boosting Your Credit Score
It’s hard to imagine a life without credit cards. Yet aside from providing consumers with a convenient and easy method of payment, credit can create a number of problems for people who make late payments or struggle with their finances.
The average credit card holder has a debt of $8,398. Collectively, U.S. consumer debt totals almost $14 billion dollars. A poor credit score can lead to dramatic repercussions on your financial wellbeing. So what can you do to get a higher credit score?
Keep reading to learn about seven ways to improve your credit score.
Why Is a Good Credit Score Important?
Before talking about how to improve your credit score, it’s necessary to first understand the importance of it. Many people don’t, and therefore unknowingly suffer the consequences.
If you have a high credit score, you can take advantage of lower interest rates on loans. When buying expensive items such as a car or a house, you want the most favorable rates possible. Differences in interest rates can seem small, but this can translate into thousands of dollars worth of savings.
Some landlords will run your credit report when you submit an application to live in a home or apartment. Better credit scores can lead to more favorable lease agreements. In some instances, landlords may turn you away you appear untrustworthy with regards to finances.
Ways to Boost Your Credit Score
If you do feel that your credit score is low, there are some steps you can (and should) take to boost it. Here are seven different tactics you can try.
1. Check Your Credit Report
The first thing you need to do is have a clear and accurate understanding of what your credit score is. Around 40% of polled Americans reported that they didn’t know what their score was. Make sure that you don’t form a part of that statistic.
Take advantage of free online credit report websites. These will give your exact score, as well as a rating. Knowing your credit score will let you take steps to boost it, if necessary. You can also check it for errors that may cause it to be lower than it otherwise should be.
2. Pay Bills on Time
Most experts agree that the biggest influence on your credit score is when you pay your bills. If you pay them on time, things should be fine. When you pay them late, it can drag your score down.
Your credit score is a representation of your ability to pay back a debt. If you pay back debts when you should, it shows financial institutions that you’ll pay back future debts on time as well. Avoid things such as late payments, foreclosures, and third-party collections.
3. Be Aware of How Much Credit You Use
Another, more underrated influence on your credit score is the amount of credit that you use. When you have a high credit utilization rate, you’ll lose points in that category. Your credit score will then suffer.
Different scoring systems have different standards on the optimal utilization rate. Some systems want it to be less than 30%, while others want less than 10%. Regardless of the exact number, keeping it as low as you can is a good idea.
4. Don’t Get Rid of Past Debts
If you’ve managed to pay back the debt you owed in the past, it may be tempting to eliminate it off of your credit report. But there can be benefits to keeping it on.
If you paid back the debts in a timely fashion, keeping them on can help your credit score. This includes credit card debts, student loans, and other accounts. It shows that you’re responsible, making you an ideal person for lenders to work with.
5. Look for Programs to Boost Your Score
If your financial situation is dire, you may be unable to resolve things on your own. In that case, consider working with a company or program to help get your financial situation and credit score in order.
Some programs add things such as utility and telecommunications payments to your credit score. This can help boost it. If you need more help, check out this guide on how to find the best credit repair companies.
6. Apply for Credit Only When You Need It
Whenever you apply for credit, it causes a hard inquiry, which in turn lowers your score over the short-term. This effect can last for 6-12 months, and while it won’t be severe, a number of hard inquiries can cause your score to take a big dip.
Make sure that whenever you want to apply for a credit line, you do your research beforehand. This can help you decide whether or not you’ll get approved, without having your score take a hit.
7. Be Patient
When you have a low credit score, it can be tempting to want to solve it right away. But understand that it’ll take time and hard work to improve it.
Like many things in life, it takes a long time to make it right, and a short time to make it bad. Once you do have a high credit score, make sure you do what you can to ensure that you stay there.
Make Your Life Easier With a Solid Credit Score
If you have a poor credit score, you may not be aware of the number of ways it can impact your life. Yet by following this guide and these seven tips, you’ll be on the path to boosting your credit score and enjoying the perks that come along with it.
Do you have any other tips on how to boost your credit score? Let us know!
If you found this article to be useful, don’t forget to check out some of our other blog posts for more finance guides and tips.