Aiming to improve your credit score could mean saving thousands of dollars better spent on cocktails, brunch or hosting a Drag Race viewing party.
Your credit score is a three-point score that tells lenders (like banks) how likely you are to pay a loan back in full and on time. It’s a bank or credit card company’s way of “swiping right or left” on you.
Here are the 5 best ways to improve your credit score:
1. Give it to ‘em
This is one party you don’t want to be fashionably late to. The largest factor in a credit score, 35% of it, is your payment history — or how good or bad you’ve been with paying your bills in the past. So pay all your bills on time and in full every time.
2. Go down
Credit utilization is the amount of debt you have compared to how much credit is available to you and is the second biggest factor in a credit score, making up 30%. Get your credit utilization below 50% and your credit score will go up. So if the credit card company says you can borrow $5,000, only borrow $2,500 or less.
3. When dirty is bad
Because of identity theft, human error and robot error, you could have bad info on your credit report. Fix those errors and your credit score will improve.
Go to AnnualCreditReport.com and ask for a free copy of your credit report from all three credit agencies (those being Equifax, TransUnion and Experian). All consumers are entitled to one free credit report from each agency at least once per year.
4. When no means no
Don’t open that new credit card account, don’t apply for a loan and don’t do anything else for one year that would result in your credit score and history checked. The credit rating agencies above are notified every time your credit report is pulled. The more it’s pulled, the lower your credit score goes.
5. Do it in the car
A gas station credit card can only be used at the gas stations sponsoring the card, and you probably already buy gas regularly. So unless you can down a Shell or Sunoco buffet, get a gas station credit card and use it only for gas. Then pay it off early every month.
This will help you build a good, long credit history without racking up charges as you might with app and credit card purchases.
Follow these five steps, get this handy Credit Score Repair Checklist and be on your way to a near-perfect credit score.