Having a good credit score is vital to your financial health. Not only does it affect whether or not you’ll be approved for the credit card, mortgage, apartment, and maybe even job you want, it determines your interest rate whenever you secure a loan. Even your credit card APR will depend on your creditworthiness. The higher your score, the lower your rate. To bring your credit score up as much as possible, here are a few easy tricks that you can do now.
• Clean up any mistakes on your credit report. When was the last time you checked your credit report? Reports estimate that up to 80% of consumer credit reports contain at least one mistake. If you haven’t ordered copies of your credit report from all three credit bureaus (TransUnion, Experian and Equifax), you could be paying more interest than you should, simply due to a faulty credit score. Order free copies from each bureau and look them over carefully. Dispute any mistakes in writing, and don’t forget to follow up to make sure inaccuracies are corrected or deleted. Once you rid your credit report of any misinformation, your credit score could start to climb.
• Set up automatic payments. Your payment history counts for more of your credit score than any other factor, so ensure all your payments are on time by signing up for automatic payments. You can choose to pay only the minimum amount due, the full amount due, or any amount in between each month on whatever date you pick. Make sure you have funds in your checking account to cover the automatic withdrawal each month, and remember you can go online and change your payment date if necessary. Once you’ve set up automatic withdrawal, there’s no reason to ever miss a payment due date. That means your credit score will never be dragged down by negative payment history.
• Keep your accounts open. Another factor in your credit score is how long your credit history is. The longer you have a credit card, the better. So don’t get rid of that student credit card just because you’re no longer in college. You can ask your credit card issuer to give you another type of card, with the same account number. You can also ask to have your credit limit raised, if that is an issue for you. Keeping your accounts open, active, and in good standing will definitely help keep your credit score as high as it can be, given all the other factors that play into it.
• Apply for another type of loan or credit card. This can be a little tricky, because having too much new credit can lower your credit score. However, having a mix of types of credit is helpful for your score. So if you have a credit card, a mortgage, a car loan and a business loan, that looks great on your credit report.
These easy tricks are just a few ways you can improve your credit score and get approved for the loans – and the interest rates – you want.