11 steps to improve your credit score

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There are a lot of credit-scoring models, and no two are alike.

Because of that, and also because a lender may not use the exact same scores you get—be conscious of the range of your score, and watch their trends over time. Ulzheimer, a credit researcher at Credit Sesam, formerly FICO and Equifax, suggests these points when looking at your credit score:

 

Pay bills in a timely fashion

Payment activity matters for 35% of your FICO score and 40% of your VantageScore. Pay at least the monthly minimum instead of falling behind.

Check your credit reports

Request a free report from different reporting agencies every four months from AnnualCreditReport.com. “Hard pull” credit—from a possible lender, and other lenders with permission, can drop your scores. But there is not a penalty for checking your scores yourself; its called a “soft pull.” Credit-scoring companies look at many pulls by lenders in 45 days as one pull, because timing shows that you are looking for interest rates for a single loan, and not multiple loans.

Do not apply for more than one credit card at one time

Not like applying for a student loan, auto, mortgage, applying for many credit cards shows more than one hard pulls. Instead, read possible cards’ terms and conditions only apply for a single card.

Do not call and cancel cards that you don't use

Put the card somewhere for safe keeping instead. A portion of your credit score depends credit used versus available credit. Getting rid of a card lowers your credit line and raises ratio

Find a credit card that is best for your needs with a card buying guide. Read how bad credit reports hurt you.

Do not open a lot of new credit cards at once

In doing this, you reduce the  “age” of your credit accounts, and that lowers your credit score

Keep your credit card balances low

Experts say keeping a balance under 10% of your credit line is smart. Higher ratios shows higher risk in credit.

Watch out for points driven balances

Keep a wide variety of types of credit

Successfully paying student loans, an auto loan, and credit cards over a period of time shows that you are capable of juggling kinds of credit. That makes up 10% to your credit score.

Get personal loans to pay credit card debt completely off

Pay off collection debt

It is smart to have no balances on collection. Soon you may see a higher credit score. 

Get secured credit cards after bankruptcy