Tips on How to Improve your Credit Score
Need help getting your credit score up? Find the answers you need!
What you’re looking for on your report are factors that could be affecting your score. Look for errors in the report, such as accounts that aren’t yours, late payments that were actually paid on time, debts you paid off that are shown as outstanding, or old debts that shouldn’t be reported any longer (negatives are supposed to be deleted after seven years, with the exception of bankruptcies, which can stay for as long as 10 years).
After repairing errors, the fastest route to a better score is paying down balances on credit cards. There’s really no silver bullet, but I would think that over 60 days, it’s possible to increase your score 20 points by paying down your credit lines.
Had a few late payments in your past?
If you find yourself in some financial difficulties, you can protect your score by making sure your payments don’t go 60 days past due. Some lenders don’t report 30 days past due, but they all report 60 days past due.
Even if you’ve paid your bills late in the past, you can improve your credit score by paying every bill on time from now on.
A big no-no
Don’t close unused accounts. It won’t help you and it can hurt you. Closing unused accounts without paying down your debt changes your utilization ratio, which is the amount of your total debt divided by your total available credit. If you do cut up cards, though, leave the oldest one open. The length of your credit history is another factor in your score. If you close the account of the credit card you got when you were a freshman in college and leave open the ones you just got within the last couple years, it makes you look like a much newer borrower.
Working with credit card balances
Another strategy for bringing up your score: Transfer balances from a card that’s close to being maxed out to other cards to even out your usage. Or just spread out your charges between a few cards. All of these strategies generally take at least 30 days because lenders don’t report payments more than once a month.
If you’re in the throes of qualifying for a mortgage and need a score boost in a hurry, you can speed the process along with rapid rescoring. If you’ve got legitimate negative information on your credit report, such as late payments or accounts in collections, you’re out of luck. But the process of rapid rescoring can help increase your score within a few days by correcting errors or paying off account balances.
You can’t do this one yourself; you’ll need a lender who is a customer of a rapid rescoring service. Generally, the service will run roughly $50 for every account on your credit report that needs to be addressed, but it could save you thousands on your loan. If a consumer can find a lender who is a customer of a rapid rescoring service, new information can be posted within 72 hours.
The bottom line is that you’re not powerless when it comes to your credit score!