From your weight to your income, your life is likely filled with keeping numbers within the desirable ranges, but of all of the numbers about which you must be concerned, the most important one for your financial options is your credit score. By working to raise your credit score, you can increase the likelihood that you qualify for low-interest loans and are able to obtain the credit you desire for large purchases. Raising your credit score may seem difficult, but if you take the right steps, you can see a credit score increase in as little as two months.
Check your credit report for errors. Small errors on your credit report can make a big difference when it comes to your credit score. Obtain a copy of the three major credit bureaus, TransUnion, Equifax and Experian. As these credit reporting companies operate independently, you must check each report separately. If you have recently opened, or attempted to open, an account you can obtain these credit reports for free by writing to or calling each credit reporting agency. If not, obtain a free report from AnnualCreditReport.com, which offers free printable credit reports once a year. Look over your reports and ensure that all of the accounts listed do in fact belong to you, and that your payment history and credit limits are reporting accurately.
Pay off revolving credit. If you regularly carry a high balance on your credit cards, your credit score is likely taking a hit. Dedicate yourself to paying off your revolving credit accounts, putting as much money towards each as possible each month, to increase your credit score.
Stay away from your credit limits. Accounts that sit near or at the credit limit are seen as a sign of over-extension, and hurt your credit score. To ensure that you score doesn't take a hit, you should always avoid using more than 30 percent of your available credit, reports personal finance writer Liz Pulliam Weston of MSN Money. If you regularly put a large sum on your credit cards and then pay this amount off at the end of each month, make several smaller monthly payments to ensure that you at no time to use more than 30 percent of your available credit.
Avoid opening new accounts. Each time you apply for an account or authorize a lender to pull your credit report, you receive an inquiry on your report. If you have a large number of inquiries, it can indicate that you are on the path towards over-extension. To boost your credit score, start by putting a moratorium on credit applications and allow your inquiries, which appear on your credit report for approximately six months, to begin disappearing from your record.
Steer clear of companies offering quick fixes. As the Federal Reserve cautions, some disreputable businesses prey on consumers and claim to offer ways to boost your credit score easily. Avoid these types of schemes at all costs: If a company is offering something that seems too good to be true, it is likely just that. Never pay for credit score improvement assistance as all you will likely end up with is fewer dollars in your pocket and the same old credit score.
- Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images