Personal Finance

Ten Ways To Increase Your Credit Score

Ways To Increase Your Credit Score

In the pursuit of the American dream, credit often plays an instrumental role. A high credit score can open doors to homeownership, new vehicles, business ventures, education financing, and favorable interest rates.

However, an alarmingly high number of Americans have subpar credit scores, inadvertently compromising their financial health. If you’re striving to bolster your credit profile, here are ten effective strategies to consider:

1. Ensure Timely Bill Payments

This is the cornerstone of maintaining good credit. It is crucial to pay your bills on time. Preferably, you want to submit your payment three or more days before the due date.

Implementing an automatic payment system can help avoid late payments. Your account statement date is important to keep in mind as that is the time when lenders report your status to credit bureaus.

2. Minimize Credit Card Debt

Aim to keep your debt below 10% of your total available credit. For example, if your credit limit is $10,000, maintain your outstanding balance under $1,000. If you must exceed 10%, be sure to pay off the excess before the statement date to avoid impacting your credit score.

3. Monitor Your Credit Reports

Regularly review your credit reports from all three bureaus. If you find any discrepancies or negative errors, dispute them immediately. Delete any names, addresses or employers that do not apply to you by simply calling the credit agency.

4. Maintain Your Oldest Credit Card Accounts

Closing an old credit card account, even when it reaches a zero balance, can negatively impact your credit score. These long-standing accounts demonstrate your credit history, so keep them open.

5. Limit Credit Inquiries

Keep hard credit inquiries to a minimum, ideally three or fewer per bureau per year. Lenders may reject applications if they see multiple hard pulls from the same bureau, even with a good credit score.

6. Avoid New Debt

Prioritize purchases within your financial reach. Using reward-based credit cards can be advantageous, but ensure you can pay the balance in full at the end of the month to avoid incurring interest.

7. Use Credit Monitoring Services

Keeping a close eye on your credit progress is essential. These services, some of which are free, provide monthly updates on your credit status and can help guard against identity theft.

8. Become an Authorized User

If you have a trustworthy friend or relative with good credit, becoming an authorized user on their account can improve your credit utilization and boost your score. This strategy can be particularly beneficial for those building credit from scratch.

9. Request a Credit Line Increase

This can lower your credit utilization ratio, improving your score. For example, if your total credit limit is $20,000 with a $5,000 balance (25% utilization), increasing the limit to $50,000 reduces your utilization to 10%, positively affecting your credit score. Applying for new credit cards with high limits can help increase your credit limit as well.

10. Try Experian Boost

This service allows you to add timely cell phone and streaming service payments to your Experian FICO score calculation.

Remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to enhancing your credit score. Factors vary for each individual, but these ten strategies can guide your journey to financial empowerment.

Aim for excellent credit; it’s a valuable asset that can pave the way for exciting financial opportunities. Start improving your credit score today, regardless of your current financial situation.

About the author

Jennifer Burton

As an author, producer, screenwriter, founder of ALEXZUS Media and BurSel Black Wine, Jennifer inspires women to live boundlessly. Engage with her on a variety of issues from lifestyle and wellness to topics impacting women's social and economic empowerment.