5 Ways to Improve Your Credit Score

5 Ways to Improve Your Credit Score

Table of Contents


1. Review and Rectify Your Credit Reports

One of the most crucial steps in improving your credit score is to regularly review your credit reports from the three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Errors or inaccuracies can negatively impact your score, so it’s important to dispute any discrepancies you find. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, you are entitled to a free copy of your credit report every 12 months from each credit reporting company. Scrutinize your reports for common errors such as incorrect personal information, mixed credit files, fraudulent accounts, and incorrect account statuses. By correcting these errors, you can ensure that your credit report accurately reflects your financial history, which is a key factor in your credit score calculation.

2. Manage Your Credit Utilization Ratio

Your credit utilization ratio—the amount of credit you’re using compared to your total available credit—plays a significant role in your credit score. Experts recommend keeping your credit utilization below 30% to avoid negatively impacting your score. To improve your credit utilization ratio, you can pay down existing balances, avoid maxing out credit cards, and request higher credit limits from your creditors (without increasing your spending). Additionally, spreading your charges across multiple cards can help keep the utilization low on each individual card.

3. Establish a History of On-Time Payments

Payment history is the most influential factor in your credit score. Consistently making on-time payments demonstrates to lenders that you are a reliable borrower. To avoid late payments, consider setting up automatic payments or calendar reminders. If you have missed payments, getting current and staying current can help your score recover over time. For those with a thin credit file, becoming an authorized user on a family member’s account or using a secured credit card can help build a positive payment history, provided that the primary account holder has a good track record of on-time payments.

4. Diversify Your Credit Mix

Creditors like to see a mix of different types of credit accounts, as it suggests that you can handle various types of credit responsibly. This mix might include credit cards, retail accounts, installment loans, finance company accounts, and mortgage loans. While you should not take on debt unnecessarily, having a diverse credit portfolio can contribute positively to your credit score. If you have only credit cards, consider adding an installment loan like a car loan or personal loan to the mix. Just ensure that any new credit you obtain is managed wisely and fits within your budget.

5. Limit New Credit Inquiries and New Accounts

Each time you apply for credit, a hard inquiry is recorded on your credit report, which can temporarily lower your score. Opening several new credit accounts in a short period of time can also be perceived as risky behavior by lenders, especially if you don’t have a long credit history. To improve your credit score, be strategic about applying for new credit. Only apply for and open new accounts when necessary and beneficial to your financial situation. Over time, the impact of hard inquiries on your credit score will diminish, but maintaining a cautious approach to new credit can help preserve and improve your score.

In conclusion, improving your credit score is a process that involves careful financial management and attention to detail. By reviewing your credit reports for accuracy, managing your credit utilization ratio, maintaining a history of on-time payments, diversifying your credit mix, and limiting new credit inquiries, you can take control of your credit health. Remember, changes to your credit score won’t happen overnight, but with consistent effort, you can see improvements over time.


– consumer.ftc.gov
– annualcreditreport.com
– equifax.com
– experian.com
– transunion.com
– myfico.com