Credit can be a great financial tool - when it’s utilized correctly. A less-than-desirable credit score can affect many areas of your life, from job opportunities to loan approvals. While it might seem like a painstaking process, it is possible to raise your credit score, and in a reasonable amount of time no less. Scores can range from 300 (poor) to 850 (excellent). Here’s a handful of tips to get your score up and, most importantly, keep it up!
The first and perhaps most obvious thing you can do to raise your credit score is to pay every single bill on time. This will not only boost your score, but show future lenders that you borrow responsibly, thus making you more likely to get approved for credit in the future. Also, while paying the minimum is better than not paying at all, it boosts your score even more to pay your balances or monthly expenses in full.
The next tip pertains to your credit utilization rate. Credit utilization is typically expressed as a percentage and can be found by dividing the credit you’re using (amount owed) by the amount available to you (your credit limit). So, what should your utilization rate be? Experts say anything below 30% is good, but 1-10% is best. This can be achieved by either spending less on credit than what you currently spend or by raising your credit limit and keeping your spending the same.
Finally, a good way to gauge your progress is to check on your score regularly. There are several free sites and apps you can use to see an estimated score, and the three main credit reporting agencies – Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion – are all required by law to provide you a free credit report once a year. Checking your reports regularly allows you to check for any errors and see what is contributing to your current score.
With just a little planning and persistence you’ll see your score creep up in no time.
OMB and its affiliates do not provide legal, tax or accounting advice. You should consult your legal and/or tax advisors before making any financial decision.