Your credit score is one of the most critical numbers in your life. It can determine whether you can get a loan, how much you’ll have to pay for that loan, and even whether you can get a job. So it’s no wonder many people want to improve their credit scores.
But what if we told you there are some things about credit scores that most people don’t know? That’s why we asked five experts to share their best tips for improving your credit score — tips that no one wants you to know.
1. Check your credit report for errors
According to Colin Palfrey, CMO at Crediful:
"The first step to raising your credit score is to obtain a copy of your credit report and check it for accuracy. You’re entitled to one free report from the three credit bureaus every year, so take advantage of that."
You can get your free credit report from AnnualCreditReport.com. Once you have your report, look through it carefully to see if there are any errors. If you find an error, you can file a dispute with the credit bureau to have it corrected.
This is so important because your credit score is based on the information in your credit report. So if there are any errors in your report, it could be dragging down your score.
2. Pay your bills on time
This one seems like a no-brainer, but it’s worth repeating: paying your bills on time is one of the best things you can do to improve your credit score.
Dean Kaplan, CEO of Kaplan Collection Agency, says:
"One of the most important credit score tips no one wants you to know is that you should always pay your bills on time, every time. Late payments can stay on your credit report for up to seven years, and since payment history is the most important factor in your credit score, you must make all of your payments on time."
You can set up automatic payments if you have trouble remembering to pay your bills on time. That way, you’ll never have to worry about missing a payment – and your credit score will thank you.
3. Don’t close unused credit cards
According to Peter Robert, CEO & Co-Founder at Expert Computer Solutions:
"An often-overlooked credit score tip is to keep unused credit cards open. This may seem strange, but closing unused accounts can hurt your credit score."
Closing an unused credit card can make it look like you’re using a higher percentage of your available credit. And that can hurt your credit score.
So even if you’re not using a particular credit card, it’s best to keep it open and active. That doesn't mean you have to use it — just don't close the account.
4. Use a secured credit card
Andrew Gonzales, President of Business Loans, says:
"A great way to improve your credit score, especially if you have bad credit, is to use a secured credit card. A secured credit card is a credit card that is backed by a deposit that you make. For example, if you have a $500 secured credit card, you would need to deposit $500 into an account."
Using a secured credit card can help you improve your credit score by showing that you can use credit responsibly. And once you’ve improved your credit score, you can move on to a regular credit card.
5. Get help from a credit counseling service
If you’re having trouble managing your debts, you may consider getting help from a credit counseling service. These services can provide you with budgeting and financial management assistance, and they can also negotiate with your creditors to try to get them to lower your interest rates or waive late fees.
According to Shawn Plummer, CEO of The Annuity Expert:
"A credit counseling service will help you create a budget and work with your creditors to get them to lower your interest rates or waive late fees. This can be a great way to improve your credit score."
Credit counseling services can be a great resource if you struggle to manage your debts. And they may be able to help you improve your credit score.
Most people don't think about their credit score until they need it. But if you're planning to buy a house or take out a loan, your credit score will be a significant factor in whether or not you're approved.
That's why it's so important to keep your credit score high. And these seven tips can help you do just that. As you work to improve your credit score, remember to pay your bills on time, keep unused credit cards open, and use a secured credit card. And if you're having trouble managing your debts, consider getting help from a credit counseling service.
The information and content provided herein is for educational purposes only, and should not be considered legal, tax, investment, or financial advice, recommendation, or endorsement. Breeze does not guarantee the accuracy, completeness, reliability or usefulness of any testimonials, opinions, advice, product or service offers, or other information provided here by third parties. Individuals are encouraged to seek advice from their own tax or legal counsel.