Credit score advice  
 

 

Improve your credit score



If your credit report is less than squeaky clean, don't despair. Regardless of how creditors may make you feel, it is not a judgment on you as a person, but simply a report on how you've handled your credit related financial obligations. You will need to take a few active steps to set the record straight for the future. Here are a few ways that may help you improve your credit standing.

Improve your credit: Tip 1

Pay your bills on time.
Many creditors will consider lending to someone with some late payments, if recent records show that you've mended your ways. However, apart from extreme circumstances like bankruptcy or tax liens, nothing has a greater negative impact than late payments. The due date for a payment is when it has to be in the hands of the creditor, not postmarked. Anything more than 30 days late will hurt your credit standing, often seriously. Never let a payment of any kind get 90 days past due. Keep in mind that one day past the due date is considered 30 days late.

Improve your credit: Tip 2

Fewer credit cards is generally better.
When it comes to the number of credit cards you should have, fewer is generally better. However, lenders usually prefer you to have at least 3 credit cards. Having a few clean, active credit card accounts will also boost your credit score.

Improve your credit: Tip 3

Minimize your outstanding debt.
Even if your debt is relatively small and your monthly payments are manageable, having outstanding debt is always a negative score factor. Try to pay down your existing debt as quickly as possible within your budget limitations.

Improve your credit: Tip 4

Time is sometimes your best ally.
Although you may have late payments or other derogatory information on your credit report, the more time you can put between such negative information and a better record of on-time payments and low debt, the more favorable your credit profile will appear in the eyes of lenders. Although negative information can stay on your credit report between seven and ten years, every month that passes where you exhibit responsible credit behavior is a positive step toward improving your credit.

Improve your credit: Tip 5

Correct any inaccuracies on your credit report.
Credit reporting companies rely on the accuracy of the reports they receive from creditors and public records. Credit bureaus are committed to reporting accurate information and must resolve any mistakes on your credit report. However, with more than 190 million individual credit files, even a small percentage of errors can mean thousands of files that contain mistakes. Make sure to write legibly when filling out credit applications.

People who have a common name, move, change jobs often or have many different credit lines are more likely to have errors on their credit reports because there are so many details that might be misreported. If you have a common name or share a similar name with someone in your family, get in the habit of using your middle initial on credit applications. It is absolutely essential for you to check your credit report at least once a year to be sure all the information on it is accurate, particularly before you expect it to be reviewed as part of a mortgage loan, refinancing, auto loan, or employment application.

 

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How to Improve Your Credit Score