How can I improve my credit score?
A credit score reflects credit payment patterns over time, with more emphasis on recent information. Here are some things you can do to try and boost your credit score:
- Pay your bills on time. Delinquent payments and collections can have a major negative impact on a credit score.
- Keep balances low on credit cards and other 'revolving credit'. High outstanding debt can affect a credit score.
- Apply for and open new credit accounts only as needed. Don't open accounts just to have a better credit mix. It probably won't improve your credit score.
- Pay off debt rather than moving it around. Also, don't close unused cards as a short-term strategy to improve your credit score. Owing the same amount but having fewer open accounts may lower your credit score.
- Applications for credit show up as inquiries on your credit report, indicating to lenders that you may be taking on new debt. It may be to your advantage to use the credit you already have to prove your ongoing ability to manage credit responsibly.
It Takes Time to Improve Credit Scores
If you have negative information on your credit report, such as late payments, a public record item (e.g., bankruptcy) or too many inquiries, you may want to pay your bills and wait. Time is your ally in improving your credit scores. There is no quick fix for some bad credit scores.