Office of Financial Empowerment
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Ways to Improve Your Credit Score

Credit impacts our lives.  Whether you're trying to obtain a loan from a bank, buy a house or even get a job, people look at your credit report or score to determine your financial trustworthiness.  Improving your credit report (which reflects your credit score) makes it easier to apply for a loan or credit card and get better rates.

Please note: Your credit score will not change overnight.  Improving your credit takes time.  
       Follow these quick tips to start improving your
       credit score.   

  • Pay your bills on time.
    Even if you can make only the minimum payments for a while, paying your bills on time will help improve your credit because it proves that you are responsible.

  • Pay more than the minimum requirements.
    Many lenders, including credit card companies, allow you to make minimum monthly payments to your bill.  The problem is, you'll pay more in the long run since fees and interest add up.  To lower the repayment amount, try to pay more than the minimum due each month.  Even if it's just $20 more, you'll be paying less in interest and by maintaining low balances, your credit score will improve.

  • Don't take on any more debt you cannot afford to pay off.
    Shred those tempting offers to open a new credit card or apply for a loan.  Taking on debt you cannot pay off will hurt your credit rating.  Only take out a loan you know you can pay off.

  • Understand what can impact your credit score positively and negatively.
    • The length of your credit history provides insight on how you manage your credit.  Usually a long credit history will have a positive effect on your credit score.
    • The types of credits you have refer to the number and variety of credits you have.  A mix of credit types, such as credit cards, installment loans and retail accounts can have a positive effect on your credit score as it shows you're able to handle different credits.
    • Recent credit includes any new accounts you open and the number of credit inquiries.  Taking on too much debt or applying for a number of new accounts are indicators of credit risk and may impact your credit score negatively.
    • The amount of credit you use can send a signal to creditors as to whether or not you are a risk.  If you use a high amount of credit, you are considered to be high-risk and this may lower your credit score.

  • Get help from a counselor.
    If you need help to improve your credit, consider speaking with a Financial Empowerment Center counselor.  Don't pay a company that promises to erase your bad credit for a fee.  Most likely it's a credit repair scam