How to improve your credit score

It may not be as hard as you think.

Your credit score is one of the most influential factors when it comes to qualifying for loans, credit cards and other financing plans as well as the interest rates you receive.

So, if you want to qualify for a mortgage, an auto loan or a better kind of credit card, you'll need to make sure your credit score is in tip top shape. 

Best ways to improve your credit score

Fixing your credit score, once it takes a nosedive, can take months or even years. But if you apply the following strategies, your score could be better from the start and should keep improving over time.

Pay bills on time

Paying your bills on time is foundational to keeping a good credit score. Your payment history can represent 35% of your credit score.

If you have trouble remembering due dates, try setting up automatic payments on as many accounts as possible. Doing so can also help you avoid late fees, which can vary depending on the issuer. 

Payments that are 30 days late or greater will typically be reported to the credit bureaus. If you realize you forgot to make a payment, try to fix it as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the more detrimental it will be to your credit score.

Work on your credit utilization rate

Another important part of a credit score is the credit utilization ratio or rate, which can make up to 30% of the credit score. The credit utilization rate shows how much credit you currently use compared to the total credit limit.

Here’s how to calculate your credit utilization rate. Take your current credit card balance and divide it by the total credit limit. A credit utilization ratio of 30% or less is good but 1% to 10% is excellent.

You can improve your credit utilization by chipping away at your balance and paying more than the minimum amount every month. 

Dispute credit report errors

According to research from the Federal Trade Commission, about one in four consumers  identified errors on their credit reports that might affect their credit scores.

You should check your credit report regularly to ensure there are no mistakes. You can find your official report at, where you can view your credit report once a week for free through the end of 2023.

If you notice a mistake, file a dispute directly with the credit bureau. Make sure to file a separate request with each bureau.

Once you’ve submitted the request, check back in a few weeks to verify it has been removed. If it hasn’t, contact the credit bureau again.

Keep old accounts open

The average age of your credit accounts can make up 15% of your credit score. When you close an old account, eventually your average age overall could decrease, potentially affecting your credit score.

Try to keep old accounts open, unless you’re being charged a high annual fee. Opening new credit accounts can also decrease the average credit age, but applying for new accounts also causes inquiries which can lower your score. Just take care to strike a balance.

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