If you have a credit score that you are not proud of then you are not alone. According to Experian, approximately 1/3 of Americans have a “not so good” credit score. In fact we take our credit and credit cards so seriously, one report says more than 7 million Americans have hidden a bank or credit card account from their spouse or partner. This breaks down to approximately 4.4 million men and 2.8 million women. And if you fall in that number of Americans with poor or fair credit, don’t be alarmed. Here are four tips that are not outdated, on how to improve your credit score.
1. Check your credit annually
First, it is important to see what is actually on your credit report. Keep in mind, you don’t have to pay for a copy of your credit report but you can obtain a free copy of all three reports at annualcreditreport.com. However, in order to receive your credit score, you may have to pay a nominal fee. Taking time to review your reports is essential. Determine if there are any inaccuracies and if so dispute! This way, negative reporting items could possibly be removed, thus maximizing your overall credit score.
2. Add the positives to your credit score
If you review your credit report and find that an account in good standing has not been reported, take action! In some cases, there may be instances where an account that can actually help boost your credit score was omitted from your report. Consider contacting the creditor and request the information is added. Doing so can also help improve your overall credit score.
3. Use a credit calculator
If you are thinking of making changes to your credit situation, consider using an online calculator first. Credit Karma has a cool calculator to answer “what if” scenarios, such as:
What if I pay off a credit card? What happens if I increase my line of credit? What changes will be made to my score if I charge on my credit card? How many points will my score decrease if I miss a payment?
4. Pay down balances
It also essential to have an understanding of what comprises your credit score. Amounts owed and payment history comprise 65% of your credit score! So with that being said, it is not only important to make certain you make timely payments but it is also essential to be mindful of your credit utilization.
So what does that mean? If you have a credit line of $1,000 and used $600 of your available credit, your credit utilization is 60%! Not a good idea. Using 30% or less of your credit lines can help improve your credit score.
Lastly, remember, you can boost your credit score yourself. You don’t have to pay tons of money to get your credit together! Don’t be discouraged, keep pressing and keep pushing and one day you will have a score that works best for you!