Have you ever wanted to improve your credit? If so, you are not alone. Credit is an integral component in the world of finance. It is used by lenders to assess your risk as a borrower. Having a high score can lower interest rates on loans and even help you qualify for certain jobs.
Fortunately, improving your credit score is possible with positive habits and discipline. This article will provide six steps that can help you to keep your credit score at its optimum level.
1. Make sure your bills are paid on time
Your credit score is impacted when you pay your bills on time. Paying your bills on time ensures that you have a positive credit history and maintain your score. If you are not sure how often to pay your bills, try paying the minimum on time. If possible, pay more than what is due. This will prevent any interest from accruing and show lenders that you are responsible for your finances.
2. Know how your credit utilization affects your score
Your credit score is affected by your credit utilization, which is the amount of debt relative to your total available credit. Think of it as how much you owe on your line of credit versus how much you could spend if you chose. Credit scores are calculated based on the information in your credit report, including recent changes related to your account balances and delinquencies.
If you have a low balance and little to no delinquency, then your credit score will be higher. Conversely, you might have a lower score if you have a high balance and too many missed payments.
3. Keep the balance on your credit cards below 30%
One of the most common mistakes people make with their credit cards is allowing the balance to go over 30% of their total credit limit. In fact, it is recommended that you don’t even let the balance get close to that number. If you do, you will lose points from your credit score.
This rule is only designed for people who have a revolving line of credit, which means they have more than one card.
4. Limit the number of hard inquiries for new lines of credit
A hard inquiry is a check for credit with the three major credit reporting agencies. This is done when you apply for a new line of credit, like a loan or a credit card. With hard inquiries, you can see temporary drops in your score that lasts approximately 30 to 40 days. This is because this type of inquiry negatively affects your credit utilization ratio.
5. Keep old credit lines open (and use them responsibly)
One of the most important things to improve your credit score is to keep old credit lines open and use them responsibly. If you can use these cards responsibly, it will increase your available credit limit and decrease the average age of your accounts. This will lower your debt-to-credit ratio, which is a key component in determining a person’s credit score.
6. Monitor your credit activity and stay informed
The first step to improving your credit score is monitoring your credit activity. You can monitor your credit using a credit report or by contacting the three major credit bureaus: Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. It will help you notice activity that hurts your credit, like late payments or someone committing identity theft to open new lines of credit. Staying informed will help you to make important decisions about your finances.
Your credit score isn’t just a number. This guide can help you make sure you’re on the right track to improving your credit score.