A credit score can be one of the largest factors when if you’re looking to take out a loan or seeking financing. Boosting those three magic digits will tell a story of accountability, good financial sense, and the ability to spend mindfully. A great credit score can pave the way for larger (and more affordable) loans, employment opportunities, and more.
Achieving and maintaining a high credit score, however, is easier said than done. There is no quick and easy way to dramatically boost your score, but you can take steps to gradually increase your credit score. Below are six ways you can start amping up your credit score today.
1. Pay your bills on time
Your payment history is the single most important factor in determining your score. A missed credit card payment can significantly impact your score and take you months to recover the loss. Set a reminder a few days before your bill is due to ensure you never miss a payment.
2. Reduce your credit utilization ratio
Credit utilization ratio refers to the amount of available credit you use. It’s best to keep your utilization under 30%, or even 10% if you can swing it.
It can be a good idea to accept increased credit offers or to request an increase on your own, which can instantly bring down your credit utilization ratio. The crux is to avoid overspending as soon as you have more credit at your disposal.
3. Use your cards
Taking a pair of scissors to credit cards can seem like the perfect way to increase your credit score, but you need to use your cards to keep your score high. A great method to ensure use and avoid overspending is to charge fixed expenses, like monthly subscriptions, to your card and pay the balance in full before the credit card bill is due.
4. Work to pay down outstanding debt
If any of your cards are carrying a balance from month to month, showing that you are working to get rid of this debt can do wonders for your credit score. Maximize your monthly payment by trimming an expense category in your budget and channeling that extra money toward your credit card bill. Don’t be afraid to contact your credit card issuer to ask for a lower interest rate as you work to pay off debt. You can also consider consolidating credit card debt with a personal loan, which will help you get rid of your credit card debts and leave you with one low-interest payment each month.
5. Look for errors on your bill and credit history
A fraudulent charge on your credit card can bring down your score without you ever knowing. That’s why it’s important to check your statements each month to look for charges you don’t remember making. If you see anything suspicious, contact your credit card issuer immediately to dispute the charge. It’s also a good idea to get your free credit report once a year from annualcreditreport.com for a more comprehensive look at your credit usage and signs of possible fraud.
6. Become an authorized user on another cardholder’s account
If you’re new to the world of credit and looking to build your score, becoming an authorized user on another cardholder’s account can be a great way to see quick results. Team up with someone who has excellent credit and never misses a payment. Your partner’s responsibility will reflect well on you, helping build your credit history and boost your score.
Credit scores are a crucial component of financial wellness, but achieving and maintaining a high score can be challenging. The Financial Physicians at Notre Dame FCU can go over your credit report and help put together a plan of attack to boost your score. Stop by your nearest Notre Dame FCU branch or call 800-522-6611 for help today.