Published On: Oct 24 2011 11:02:44 AM CDTUpdated On: Jan 15 2016 01:00:00 AM CST
Everyone could use better credit. With January representing Financial Wellness Month, here are some easy ways to better your credit score.
Time magazine and MSNBC list some easy ways you can quickly better your credit score.
9. Add an installment loan to the mix
You'll get the fastest improvement in your scores if you show you're responsible with both major kinds of credit: revolving (credit cards) and installment (personal loans, auto, mortgages and student loans).
8. Use your credit cards lightly
Racking up big balances can hurt your scores, regardless of whether you pay your bills in full each month. What's typically reported to the credit bureaus, and thus calculated into your scores, are the balances on your last statements.
7. Check your limits
Your scores might be artificially depressed if your lender is showing a lower limit than you actually have. Most credit card issuers will quickly update this information if you ask.
6. Get a copy of your credit report
Research shows that up to 80 percent of credit reports contain errors. While some won't impact your score, others can. Go to annualcreditreport.com to order a copy of your credit report for free from the three major credit reporting bureaus.
5. Don't close multiple accounts
Cutting up and canceling bunch of cards in a fit of self-imposed reform will only make your utilization ratio shoot up, and your credit score will suffer.
4. Apply only for credit you need
Experts say applying for a lot of new credit at once can hurt your score, especially if you're gearing up for a big purchase like a house or car. It's a red flag for lenders.
3. Keep long-standing accounts
The length of your credit history counts for 15 percent of your score, so keep your oldest card active as long as you don't have to pay an annual fee.
2. Don't have too much debt
How much you owe makes up 30 percent of your score, and too much revolving debt (i.e. credit cards) will burn you, so try to pay down balances as much as possible.
1. Make your payments on time
Your payment history makes up 35 percent of your score, so don't be a sloppy payer. Fortunately, recent activity is given more weight than past transactions so you can make up for a spotty bill history.