Bad credit can haunt you for years. It can make it difficult to get a loan, rent an apartment, or even get a job. If you’re struggling with bad credit, it’s not the end—there is hope. Here are some useful pointers on how to give your credit score a much needed boost. Follow these steps to see a noticeable improvement in no time.
What Is a Credit Score?
A credit score is a critical indicator of one’s financial health and stability. This numeric value is determined based on several factors, including payment history, credit utilization, length of credit history, types of credit used, and recent inquiries on the report.
Because this single number encapsulates so much information about one’s financial behavior and habits, it is essential to monitor a credit score closely. You must take all necessary steps to maintain or improve it. A good credit score can be your ticket to financing significant purchases, such as a home or car. In contrast, a poor score can leave you in the hands of bad credit auto finance companies or other high-interest lenders.
Credit scores go from a low of 300 to a high of 850. Generally, a score above 650 is considered good, while anything below that is fair or poor. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to understand what goes into a credit score so that you can work to improve yours over time. Fortunately, consumers can take steps to improve their credit scores, regardless of where they fall on the credit spectrum.
Pointers to Help Boost Your Credit Score
Looking at your credit score right now may leave you feeling down in the dumps, but don’t despair. You can do plenty of things to improve your credit score over time. The following pointers will help get you on the right track:
1) Pay Your Bills on Time, Every Time
A good credit score is crucial for many reasons. That’s why it’s important to make sure you pay your bills on time, every time.
Unfortunately, things have a way of turning up to scuttle any timely payment plan. If that happens to you, don’t panic. There are steps you can take to minimize the damage to your score.
First, try to arrange a payment plan with your creditor. This shows them that you’re willing to work with them to resolve the situation. Second, cover the minimum payment if you cannot make a full payment. This shows creditors that you’re still trying to meet your obligations even if you can’t pay everything you owe right away.
Finally, keep track of your payments and ensure you don’t miss another one. Even one late payment can significantly impact your credit score, so it’s critical to stay on top of things. By following these steps, you can help ensure that your score stays strong, regardless of life’s challenges.
2) Don’t Apply for Too Many Accounts at Once
It can be tempting to open up many credit cards when you’re first starting. After all, one of the first steps to building good credit is to have a robust credit file. But while it’s essential to have a few lines of credit, you want to be careful about applying for too many at once.
Whenever you submit a new credit application, your credit score takes a minor hit. And if you’re constantly applying for new lines of credit, that can add up to a significant drop in your score. Additionally, you increase your identity theft risk every time you open a new account. So while it’s important to build your credit file, you want to be thoughtful about which accounts you open and how often you submit applications.
3) Regularly Check Your Credit Report
You must always stay on top of your credit report. Whether you’re applying for a mortgage, a car loan, or a new credit card, your credit score will be one of the factors that lenders look at when considering your application. That’s why it’s so important to review your credit report regularly.
By doing so, you can catch any errors or discrepancies and address them before they have a chance to impact your credit score. You can also identify any negative information that may be dragging down your score and take steps to improve your credit standing. Reviewing your credit report is one of the best ways to keep track of your financial health, so do it regularly.
4) Pay Your Bills Every Two Weeks
There are many strategies for improving your credit score quickly and effectively. One helpful method is to pay your bills every two weeks instead of once a month. This pacing enables you to make smaller payments more frequently, which can help reduce the effect of interest over time.
In addition, making frequent and consistent payments helps demonstrate that you are a dependable borrower in the eyes of lenders. Because this can be a powerful tool for increasing your credit score, it is well worth considering if you have the financial means. If you can set aside just a small amount each paycheck or biweekly period, it could make all the difference for your future borrowing prospects.
5) Don’t Close Unused Credit Card Accounts
Some people say it’s good to close any unused credit card accounts. After all, why keep them open if you’re not using them? However, closing these accounts can do more harm than good. One of the factors that creditors look at when considering a loan is your credit history. The longer your history, the better.
So, by closing down those old credit card accounts, you’re shortening your history and making it look like you’re not as reliable. It’s better to keep those old accounts open and pay the annual fee if there is one. That way, you can maintain a strong credit history and improve your chances of getting approved for future loans.
The Bottom Line
Building good credit takes time and effort. But by following these simple tips, you can improve your credit score and make it easier to get the things you want out of life. So don’t wait—start working on your credit today.
Written Exclusively for Merriman.com by Amy Marshall.
Amy Marshall is an automotive expert who loves to write about anything car-related.
Disclosure: All opinions expressed in this article are for general informational purposes and constitute the judgment of the author(s) as of the date of the report. Statements attributed to an individual represent the opinions of that individual as of the date published and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Merriman. The material has been gathered from sources believed to be reliable, however Merriman cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of such information, and certain information presented here may have been condensed or summarized from its original source. Merriman does not provide tax, legal or accounting advice, and nothing contained in these materials should be taken as such.