Seven Sneaky Ways to Improve Your Credit Score

Your credit score is crucial in your life, but it's not something that you should obsess over or make yourself sick over. All you have to do is use a few simple tips to keep your score in line. Here are seven helpful suggestions for you. Consider them all, but don't stress over a single one:

1. Make Timely Payments

Making your payments on time is the best way to pull your credit score up. A revolving account is likely to work best on your score, but even your installment payments will give you a few points if you make your payments on time. Don't ever make a late payment because your payment history is worth 35 percent of your overall score. Make your payments on time even if you have to borrow the money from a family member or a friend or move some of your funds around until you get paid. Use this philosophy, and you will appreciate it in the end.

2. Keep an Eye on Your Balances

Another thing to watch for if you want your credit score to improve is your credit card balance. Utilization plays a role in how potential creditors view you. If you have a $500 credit card, and you charge it to the max, you're going to appear as someone who has severe financial issues. If you use it responsibly and keep your usage under 20 percent of the available balance, then you'll look like a golden debtor to whom other companies will want to offer their products.

3. Don't Close Old Debt Accounts

Account history is actually a positive factor on your credit score. Therefore, don't be quick to remove something just because you are done paying it off. Instead, leave it on the report and let it count toward your lengthy positive account history. On the flip side, you may want to remove old accounts that show some late payments and shaky history.

4. Set Up Reminders

Make use of the technology that you have by setting reminders for yourself. Have your cell phone give you an alert a few days before your payment is due. Sometimes, credit card companies will let you set up alerts through their site, and they will send you an email or text when the time approaches. It's up to you the way you want to handle it, but make sure that you have a reminder set so that you do not forget something that important.

5. Pull Your Annual Credit Reports

You should always stay aware of what's going on with your personal credit report. You have a right to at least one free credit report per year. You should make use of that and pull your reports every year so that you can see what your profile looks like to other companies.

6. Dispute Discrepancies

You should dispute any information that is on your credit report that may be causing problems for you. If you see incorrect address information, misreported balances or accounts that are simply not yours, you can always open a dispute. The credit bureau will have to look into it and provide an answer within 30 days. Anything negative that comes off of your credit report will naturally boost the score up for you.

7. Keep Inquiries Low

The final tip is to keep your credit inquiries low as they can affect your score for up to one year and remain on your credit report for up to two years. Yes, you do have to apply for certain things, but you should only apply for such things if your odds of getting the items are good. You can actually contact the credit bureau and ask for some information about your score before you put a hard inquiry on your report. They should be able to reassure you as to whether your odds are good.

If you follow the above-stated tips, you should be able to increase your score over time. Be patient with the process because most companies only report your payments once every 30 days. Give yourself at least 30 days to see a change before you start to worry. Stay sharp and focused, and you'll be fine.

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