10 Steps To Improve Your Credit Score

  1. Check your credit report at all three agencies- Equifax, Experian and Trans Union (checking your own credit is called a “soft-pull” and will not negatively affect your credit). Look for errors that may appear on your report. Each agency offers a place on their website to submit online disputes. They have 30 days to verify the information is correct or they will remove it.
  2. Do NOT open new credit cards that you don’t need just to increase your available credit. This approach often backfires and will lower your score.
  3. Keep your current account balances as low as possible. High outstanding debt will negatively affect your score since you will have a greater chance at missing a payment.
  4. If you have old credit accounts that are paid off, don’t close them, simply cut up the cards. This will show a longer history of good credit and will help your score.
  5. If you cannot make a payment due to illness, losing your job or another serious issue, write a letter to your credit companies explaining the situation and requesting a work out payment plan. You would be surprised how willing they are to work with you before it becomes a problem. After there’s a problem is another matter… they can get nasty
  6. Pay all of your accounts ON TIME! Accounts over 30 days past due will show up on your credit report. If you are late, make that payment as well as the one currently due or every month will show 30 days past due until you are caught up and can ugly quickly.
  7. If you do not have any 10 Steps To Improve Your Credit Score credit cards and cannot get approved, consider getting a Secured Card. This is a credit card secured by money you already have and will improve your credit by reestablishing a credit history.
  8. Keep a small balance on your accounts (small is the keyword). A small balance is better than a zero balance for improving your score- but a zero balance is better than a big balance so lean to the conservative side.
  9. Do not let a lot of companies check your credit. Each time your credit report is pulled from an outside company, your credit score will go down slightly. Five companies pulling your credit can be the difference between that new home and renting for another year.
  10. Stay on top of your credit and check your report at least once a year which is provided free upon request from each of the Credit Agencies.
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