An outstanding credit score makes borrowing money simpler and often less expensive, but improving it takes time.
Paying on time, keeping balances low, and diversifying credit accounts are among the best strategies for debt reduction. Avoiding late payments, debt collections and any other negative items is also recommended.
Pay Your Bills on Time
Making payments on time is of utmost importance in maintaining positive credit. Even late payments by just one day can have a devastating effect on your score; once caught up and making regular on-time payments again, your scores should gradually improve.
If you’re having difficulty making utility payments on time, take a look at Experian Boost(tm). This free service connects your bank accounts so it can identify and report on-time utility, phone, and streaming service payments to your Experian credit file in real-time.
Considered in terms of timing, it may take anywhere between 30-45 days for improvements to your credit scores to appear across Equifax, Experian and TransUnion consumer reporting agencies. Rapid rescoring may help speed this process if applying for loans or making financial commitments.
Don’t Open Too Many New Credit Accounts
One of the main factors in credit scores is your payment history. Making payments on time will go a long way toward building your score and improving it.
Length and average age of your accounts also play an important role. Lenders want to see that you’ve demonstrated responsibility when handling both installment loans (car loans or personal loans) as well as revolving accounts such as credit cards.
Opening too many new credit accounts at once can hurt your scores. Scoring models take recent activity into account when assigning scores; applying for new accounts frequently generates hard inquiries that count against your scores; however, personal requests or prescreened credit offers don’t count against your score so only apply for accounts you truly require.
Keep Your Credit Utilization Ratio Low
Lenders typically prefer utilization rates under 30% as an indicator of your creditworthiness.
To boost your ratio, either pay down and maintain low balances, or contact your card issuer and request an increase. Doing this may result in a hard inquiry on your credit report that can temporarily lower your score.
Credit utilization is one of the primary elements that impact your credit score, second only to payment history. Therefore, reducing it should be one of your top priorities; however, since lenders only report your ratio at the end of each billing cycle it can take some time before seeing improvements in it.
Keep Your Debt to Credit Ratio Low
Keep credit card balances low to help boost your score; credit utilization accounts for 30% of it and an accumulation of debt can negatively affect it.
As closing old cards can reduce your average account age – which makes up 15% of your credit score – opening new ones may add extra points to your score if it makes financial sense for you.
An outstanding credit score can save money on loans and insurance premiums, secure an apartment rental contract more easily and open up more options for mortgages, auto loans and credit cards with competitive terms. Repairing your credit can take time and patience.
Monitor Your Credit Report
One of the key steps towards improving your credit score is regularly monitoring your credit report. A credit report contains details of your payment history, amount owed and various types of accounts (credit cards and loans) plus public records such as liens or judgments that could impact it.
Thirty-five percent of your credit score depends on your payment history, so ensuring all payments are made on time should be your top priority. Other ways to improve your score include keeping credit utilization ratio below 30% and disputing any errors on your report. Typically, negative marks like late payments, collections, foreclosures and Chapter 7 bankruptcies will fade over time as long as consistent good payment patterns continue. But be patient as these problems could take some time.