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Review Your Credit Reports

Factors that can contribute to a higher credit score include a history of on-time payments, low balances on your credit cards, a mix of credit card and loan accounts, older credit accounts, and minimal inquiries for new credit.

Get a Handle on Bill Payments

Creating a filing system, either paper or digital, for tracking monthly bills Setting due-date alerts, so you know when a bill is coming up Automating bill payments from your bank account.

Aim for 30% Credit Utilization or Less

Credit utilization is the amount of your credit limit you’re using at any given time. After payment history, it’s the second most important factor in FICO credit score calculations.

Limit Requests for Credit: Soft Inquiries vs. Hard Inquiries

A soft inquiry is a credit check that does not affect your credit score. These include checking your own credit, giving a potential employer permission to check your credit, checks done by financial institutions..

Make the Most of a Thin Credit File

One is Experian Boost. This is a new program that tracks personal financial data, such as your banking history and utility payments, and includes them in your Experian FICO credit score.

Keep Old Accounts Open and Deal With Delinquencies

Your credit age represents the average age of your credit accounts. The older your average credit age, the more favorably you might appear to lenders.

The good news is that there are several things you can do to improve your credit score. It takes some effort and, of course, some time. Here’s a step-by-step guide to achieving a better credit score.

LET PULL MY CREDIT SCORES HELP YOU

MY CREDIT SCORES

Factors that can contribute to a higher credit score include a history of on-time payments, low balances on your credit cards, a mix of credit card and loan accounts, older credit accounts, and minimal inquiries for new credit.

FIXING MY CREDIT

As you can see, payment history has the most impact on your credit scores. That is why, for example, it’s better not to have paid-off debts, say of your student loans, expunged from your record. As long as you paid off your debts responsibly and on time, it works in your favor.

YOUR RIGHTS

Most credit card companies allow you to request a credit-limit increase online; you’ll just need to update your annual household income first. It’s possible to be approved for a higher limit in under a minute; the credit card company may do a soft pull of your credit score first. You can also request a credit-limit increase over the phone.

"IMPOSTER" WEBSITES

The credit bureaus assume that your request for additional credit means that you are at greater risk of not paying off your current debts. So if you are trying to improve your credit score, it’s best to avoid applying for new credit of any kind.

KNOW YOUR SCORE

One is Experian Boost. This is a new program that tracks personal financial data, such as your banking history and utility payments, and includes them in your Experian FICO credit score. It’s free to use and designed for people with no or limited credit who have a positive history of paying their other bills on time.

RESOLVING ISSUES

If you have an account with multiple late or missed payments, for instance, get caught up on the past due amount, then work out a plan for making future payments on time. That won’t erase the late payments, but it can improve your payment history going forward.

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