Improving your credit score isn’t an overnight process. Still, the time and effort it takes can open the door to a larger lender selection, lower APRs and higher loan amounts. Here’s what you can do to boost your credit score:
Pay your bills on time
Paying your bills in full and on time is the most important step to getting your credit in order. Just a single missed payment can cause your credit score to plummet by up to 180 points, as payment history accounts for 35% of your score.
Sign up for credit monitoring
Credit monitoring can help you keep tabs on your financial health. Since many services will send you an alert when it detects suspicious activity, credit monitoring can make it easier for you to dispute anomalies or put a stop to credit-ruining identity theft.
Consider a secured credit card
No credit is better than bad credit, but a thin credit history can prevent you from moving from fair credit into the good range. If you’re struggling to build credit, you might want to consider a secured credit card. You’ll need to put down a small deposit, but using a secured credit card responsibly might help you improve your score and gain access to better loan options in the future.
Eliminate excess debt
The amount of debt you have is one of the factors that affects your credit score. If you owe money on several credit cards, try to pay them down. After they’re paid off, it’s best to keep them open and use them sparingly. Closing your account completely can be detrimental, as it lowers the average age of your credit history.
Check your credit report for discrepancies
Unfortunately, it can be common to find a mistake on your credit report. The good news is that if you find one, you can dispute the credit report error with the relevant credit bureau. Start by checking your credit report at AnnualCreditReport.com and carefully analyzing your reported history.