6 Ways to Improve Your Credit Score
- Keep your balance low in relation to your available credit
- Pay your bills on time
- Make more than the minimum payment
- Don’t open a lot of new accounts over a short period of time.
- Pay off credit card debt rather than transferring it
- Review your credit report regularly and correct errors
Keeping your credit balance to 25% or below your available credit is a good general rule. But, don’t open credit accounts you don’t intend to use just to increase this ratio.
Late payments make a huge (negative) impact on your score. If you have missed payments, get current and stay current.
If you make only the minimum payment on your credit card each month, it may take longer than you think to pay off your balance. For instance, say you have a balance of $1,500 on your credit card with the modest interest rate of 14.99% and make $100 in new charges each month. If you pay only a the minimum payment of $125 per month it will take you more than 10 years to pay off your credit card debt. Increasing your monthly payment to $174 per month means you can pay off that debt in 2 years and save hundreds in interest charges.
Having many “inquires” into your credit report and expanding your credit line too quickly may signal to creditors that you’re on the brink of major financial problems.
Revolving your debt from card to card keeps your debt-to-credit ratio higher, increases the number of new accounts on your records, and artificially diminishes the length of your credit history because no one account is open very long. Not to mention all of the finance and interest charges you’ll have to pay with all of those new cards…
By federal law, you are entitled to one free copy of your credit report per year from each of the 3 major credit bureaus. Check your credit report at least once per year to ensure that the information on it is yours, and correct.