Looking to boost your credit score? So are 56% percent of Americans.
In 2015, Credit.com released a study showing that over half of Americans have a subprime credit score—which keeps them from taking advantage of even average interest rates.
The good news is that improving your credit score can be done. It just takes time and discipline. Here are a few things you can start doing to boost your score today.
Check Your Credit Report for Errors
Step one starts with making sure everything is correct and up-to-date on your credit report. As per the Fair Credit Reporting Act, you can request one free credit report every 12 months. The report will include your address, billing information, and whether you’ve been sued or filed for bankruptcy.
Using your report, you can make sure that all payments are listed correctly and the amount you owe for each account is correct. Should you find any errors, you can dispute them with the credit bureau.
If your report is correct, and you still have a low score, you need to zero in on what’s causing it. To do this, you need to know what the main credit scoring factors are:
- Payment history
- Amount of debt
- Age of Accounts
- Account mix (other forms of credit besides credit cards)
- History of credit applications
Reduce Your Debt
While this is obviously easier said than done, paying your balance and reducing your debt is a great way to improve your score.
If you struggle to pay your balance, stop using your card until you get your head above water, and if you have multiple credit cards, try and pay off nuisance balances (small balances across multiple cards).
Schedule Payments and Pay on Time
Delinquent payments are a big contributor to low credit scores. Always, always, always, pay your debt on time.
To help you stay on a schedule, set up reminders or schedule your payments. One good habit is to pay a little bit towards your debt every pay period.
Credit companies don’t penalize you for the fun of it. If you’re not paying, they aren’t making money.
If you’re truly struggling to make ends meet, contact your creditors and seek help from a legitimate credit counselor. Seeking assistance will help you better navigate your credit troubles and won’t hurt your credit score.