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Your credit score is an important three-digit number. It impacts whether you can rent a place, buy a home, qualify for a credit card, or, in some cases, get the job of your dreams. If your credit score is less-than-perfect — don’t worry! Credit repair can give your score a boost.
Here are a few strategies that you can implement today to help improve your credit score.
Request Your Official Credit Reports
Before you can improve your credit report, you have to know what’s on it first! The easiest way to do this is to request reports from each of the credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.
Your credit report is a report card that shows creditors and other companies how well you manage debt. The factors on your credit report like your debt balances, late payments, and other details impact your score.
You can check your scores through free sites or through your local bank or credit card company if they have that option. Some credit card companies offer scores for free. You are also entitled to one free credit report from each bureau every year, so use it!
Pay Off Debt
One of the biggest reasons you may have a low credit score is because you have a high debt utilization. Your debt utilization ratio is a comparison of your debt balances to how much credit is available to you. For example, if you have a $10,000 credit limit on your credit card, and you owe $9,000, it means you’re utilizing 90% of your available credit.
A utilization this high isn’t good, and it will likely impact your score in a negative way. You may be able to improve your credit score by paying off some debt. Your overall credit utilization should be below 30%. Lowering it to this level can give your score a boost!
Pay Your Bills On Time
Paying your bills on time contributes to a huge portion of your credit score. If you’ve missed payments or paid late, start paying on time and continue to do so.
You should also review your credit report to see if any of the late payments are inaccurate. We’ll talk about this below, but filing credit disputes can help you remove negative remarks.
If you have to change payment dates or talk to your creditors for an extension, do that as well. The older your late or missed payments get, the less they impact you and your credit score. Get current and stay current to improve your credit score.
Keep Balances Low
Once you’ve paid off some debt and have become current on your bills, it’s time to maintain. Keep your balances low, even if you get a credit limit increase or a new account.
If you pay a credit card off, keep it open. Closing accounts can lower your credit utilization because it decreases your available credit. It’s better to keep the card open and the balances low. If you feel like you’ll be tempted to get back into debt, hide your cards!
Stop Applying for New Credit
Every time a lender checks your credit report to make a decision on whether or not they will lend you money, your report gets hit with a “hard inquiry”. You have to consent to this inquiry and it can dock your credit score a few points.
There’s also something called a “soft inquiry” that’s done by someone like a future employer to check your history which doesn’t affect your credit score. Your goal is to keep hard inquiries down to a minimum. Too many hard inquiries and credit applications can signal to creditors and lenders that you’re having trouble keeping up with your bills.
Check For Negative Items
Sometimes, no matter what you do, your credit score will still be low because of negative items on your report. If you suspect that these items are false, incomplete, or inaccurate, you can file credit disputes yourself, or you can look into credit repair with a credit repair company like Lexington Law. If you’re not sure how to fix credit, Lexington Law, a trusted leader in credit repair, can offer support.
The greatest thing about your credit score is that you can work on it. It doesn’t have to be low for your whole life even if you’ve made some credit mistakes here and there. Using these six easy tips can help you improve your credit score and keep it for years to come.