Your credit score is an important financial marker for all types of big decisions, including financing a new home. If yours isn’t quite where you’d like it, here are some tips to help improve it, fast.
- Lower your credit card balances. One of the biggest factors in credit score is your utilization rate. That means that the higher to your credit card limit, the lower your score could be. Pay down balances and keep them low to see a positive change in your credit score.
- Make multiple payments a month. If you’re close to your credit limit, but plan to pay off the balance in full each month, make two payments instead of one. This will give you less time with an almost-maxed balance, and will make you look better on your credit report.
- Eliminate “nuisance balances.” Do you have a lot of small balances spread out over a number of cards? Start the process of eliminating them to improve your score. The reason is that one of the items that factors into your score is how many of your cards have balances. So, pay off the small balances and use one or two cards with good terms as primary cards.
- Leave old, good debt on your report. Credit history is also a big factor in your total credit score. So if you have a good history with an older credit card, for example, keep it open to show your positive credit history.
- Always pay your bills on time. This one should go without saying, but overdue accounts negatively impact your score, so don’t delay: pay your bills on time, every month.
- Use a calendar. If you’re shopping for a new mortgage, car loan, etc., don’t waste time. Every time your credit report is run by a potential lender, you’ll get a small decrease that can last a year. So, if you shop around too much, you could put yourself in a worse financial situation.
- Dispute errors. If you find something fishy in your credit report (which you can get for free once a year from Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) dispute it right away directly through the appropriate reporting bureau.
- Mix it up. Having a mix of credit can give you a small boost to your credit score. For example, having a credit card, a mortgage, a student loan and a car loan is a good mix of credit types.
What are your tips for improving your credit score?