Boost Your Credit Score, Boost Your Financial Health
Improving your credit score gives you access to better rates on your mortgage, better offers on a new loan, and better financial opportunities overall. We scoured the internet to find the top five expert tips that will help you improve your credit score fast.
1. Check Your Credit Score Often
My FICO advises you carefully review your credit report from all three credit reporting agencies. Check for errors and dispute inaccurate information by contacting both your lender and the credit reporting agency.
You can monitor your credit on sites like Free Credit Report that allows you to keep tabs on your credit in real time.
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2. Close to Your Credit Limit? Pay It Off
As Money Under 30 shares, even if you pay your credit card on time, every time, you may be negatively impacting your credit score if you have a balance that’s more than 35% of your credit limit. That means if you have a card with a $10,000 limit, you’ll want to keep your balance under $3,500. NerdWallet suggests playing it even safer, recommending staying under 30%.
3. Don’t Close Old Accounts
While your credit history stays on your credit report for seven years, closing a card if you still have balances on other cards increases your credit utilization ratio, explains Investopedia. So, if you have three cards totaling $20,000 in credit and you have $5,000 of charges among them, that’s a 25% utilization. If you close a card and you have
$15,000 of credit with a balance of $5,000 among those two cards, you have a 33% utilization. That may reduce your credit score.
Lenders also may look favorably on those with an older “credit age,” or the average age of your credit accounts. If you close that account you opened in college, it makes your credit age appear younger.
4. Open Up a New Credit Card
Opening a new card, explains realtor.com, not only increases your total credit line (improving your credit card utilization mentioned above) but also shows the credit bureau that you have the ability to manage different types of credit. For example, taking on a car loan or opening a credit card account with a store diversifies your “credit mix.”
5. Stay Under—Well Under—Your Credit Limit
Just in case you skimmed over point number two, it’s important to keep your credit utilization low. Opening a new credit card doesn’t mean you have to go on a spending spree. You’ll want to monitor both your per-card and overall credit card utilization, notes NerdWallet, keeping the rate under 30%
When you boost your credit score, you’ll find you unlock new opportunities for improving your financial situation. For example, a good credit score allows you to access loans with better interest rates and tap into the resources you already have, such as the equity built in your home.
Of course, staying below your credit limit and paying off high balances means tackling your bad debt. Start paying down debt (and improving your credit score) with your copy of The Homeowner’s Guide to Leveraging Good Debt and Eliminating Bad Debt.
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The opinions expressed in this post are for informational purposes only. To determine the best financing for your personal circumstances and goals, consult with a licensed advisor.