Give Your Credit Score a Boost
Founding father Benjamin Franklin is credited with having said, “Nothing is certain except for death and taxes.” Well, if Franklin were alive today, he could add an ever-changing credit score to that list. Whether for better or worse, our credit scores follow us around for the entirety of our adult financial lives. Maintaining a high credit score – good is considered to span about 650-75o – is not easy. However, it can pay off big time when it comes to getting lower interest loans, better credit cards, and so on. If you credit score needs a boost, follow these steps below both in the short and long term to help!
- Pay your bills promptly: One of the biggest contributing factors to your overall credit score is whether or nor you have paid you bills on time in the past. If you are behind in payments, contact your creditors and work with them to establish a payment plan. From thereon out, try to find places to cut spending and devote it to paying off past debt.
- Don’t carry a balance: Almost as important as making your payments on time, can be avoiding carrying a balance on your credit cards. Each time you pay off your bill, you prove to the creditor that you are a trustworthy borrower. By making payments throughout the month, you can ensure that you don’t pay interest on your credit cards, and continue to show that you are financially responsible.
- Take a magnifying glass to your report: There are a number of ways that mistakes can crop up in a credit report. From having a common name, to a data entry error, or a simple misunderstanding, your credit score could be getting dragged down by inaccuracies. Start by obtaining a copy of your report, then review everything to ensure there are no errors. If there are, deal with them as soon as possibly. This official government website can be a huge help!
- Don’t close defunct cards: Although it makes sense intuitively to close credit cards, try to avoid the temptation. Cutting up cards and severing ties with a company can actually adversely affect your score, setting you back further. Instead, try to make small charges once a month on the card, and paying them off immediately. This will keep you in good graces with the creditor, and can help improve your score.
- Get a store-specific credit card: With bad credit, it can be difficult to get approved for a card; this in turn can feel like a never-ending cycle. If you find yourself in this situation, consider applying for a credit card only valid at one store. The approval processes can be more lenient, and limits are generally lower. This step is better taken after the above ones, as applying for credit cards can negatively affect your score.