Four Simple Fixes for a Better Credit Score
Credit scores can seem daunting or confusing. To some, they're fateful, seemingly arbitrary numbers that follow their owners everywhere and determine whether they're allowed to finance a new vehicle or rent the ideal apartment. If you’re worried that your number isn’t where it should be, take heart: Poor credit doesn’t have to last forever, and there are several easy steps you can take to improve your score.
1. View Your Reports
It’s amazing how many people fail to track their credit reports, yet they complain that their credit score is bad! Knowledge of your credit health is essential to its management. Keeping a watchful eye over your reports can also alert you to potential problems, reporting errors, or incidences of identity theft. You can view your credit score for free once a year from each of the three major credit bureaus. If you use this to your advantage, you can end up checking your credit score three times a year, which will help you grow your score a lot faster.
2. Apply Carefully
It’s common knowledge that each attempt to get a new line of credit ends up showing on your report, but what you may not know is that applying for many different things in a short time can hurt your score. Avoid applying for credit you don’t need and restrict your cards to a manageable number. The more responsible you are with the different lines of credit that you have open, the more quickly your score will rise.
3. Pay Often
What many people don’t realize about their credit cards is that paying your balance each month doesn’t always mean better credit. Your bank reports to your credit bureau on whatever day it chooses—meaning that if it’s reported a day before you were about to pay your $1,000 balance, you’ll still get dinged. To prevent this from happening, try to keep your credit balance low and make payments frequently – even as often as you are making purchases. You can easily just pay off your credit card each time you make a purchase. This will show your lender that you are responsible and are able to pay off your debt in a timely manner. It will also keep you from forgetting to pay later, which may bring interest along.
4. Pay On Time
Most of us know that on-time payments are essential for good credit, but many of us are guilty of missing a payment from time to time. To avoid this in the future, work with your creditors to set up an automated payment reminder to help you remember when payments are due. Automatic payment options may also be available for those who want to automate the payment process. If you do set up automatic payments, make sure that you always have enough money in your checking account so that you don’t overdraft your account.
These four easy steps can help you fix and build your credit score if you are consistent with completing them. If you want to learn even more about how to save and build your credit score, contact your local Gulf Winds branch today and speak with a member advocate.