Credit scores are kind of like grades for grown-ups: You receive a number somewhere between 300-850 that determines interest rates for loans, how much you pay for car insurance and even whether you can get a job. Because so much factors on this three-digit number, it can be extremely intimidating to realize your credit score is less than perfect. If you’re ready to lift that number up a little higher, check out these four tips that will help you start building back up your credit score.
1. Check for Errors: Everyone makes mistakes and that includes the credit bureaus. If you don’t understand why your credit score is so low, and you believe you haven’t done anything to cause a drop in your FICO, then it’s time to get a credit report and start searching for errors. You can always stop by and FCU branch and get a free credit report analysis, where we show you what’s affecting your score and how to begin fixing it. If you do find errors, then immediately start the process for having them corrected.
2. Pay Bills On Time: It might seem a little obvious, but having late payments can really hurt your credit score. Make sure you pay all your bills on time if you want to avoid having those bills go to collections. One great way to do this is to set up automatic payments so you never have to worry about those payments being missed. FCU’s Bill Payer service can help you organize all those automatic payments into one place; check out the Bill Payer tab in Online Banking to sign up!
3. Don’t have a credit card? Get One: While you may pay bills on time and have little to no debt, if you’re lacking in revolving credit (credit cards), your credit score probably isn’t the greatest. Apply for a secured or credit-building unsecured card so you can start building your credit history. And don’t be fooled by misconceptions: You do NOT need to keep a balance on your card to gain credit, and you absolutely shouldn’t. Instead, pay the card off at the end of the month and watch your credit quickly improve.
4. Don’t Max Out Credit Cards: Having a credit card can really improve your credit score, but as we explained in a previous article, how much room you have left to spend on that card is important. Never max out your credit cards and, in fact, try to maintain your balance at below 30% of your total credit line.
Have you struggled with a low credit score? How did you improve it? Let us know in the comments below!