Did you know that 90% of the top lenders use FICO scores when making lending decisions? If you need a loan for a car, a house, or for personal reasons, your FICO Score will play a major role in your approval.
What if your score isn’t up to snuff? Here’s how you can start increasing your FICO Score today.
Check Your Credit Report for Errors
Before you do anything else, check your credit report for errors. Everyone is entitled to a free credit report from AnnualCreditReport.com, so take advantage of it. You can get a report from all three bureaus for free once every 12 months.
Keep in mind that your credit report won’t have your credit score or your FICO score.
Once you have your reports from the three major bureaus, you can start looking for errors. Errors are more common than you think, and they can have a major impact on your FICO score. A study from the FTC found that one in four consumers found errors on their credit reports.
If you find errors in any of your reports, contact the bureau to correct the issue. Fixing errors can have a major impact on your score, especially if they’re serious.
Pay on Time
Payment history makes up 35% of your FICO credit score. One of the best things you can do to raise your score is to pay your bills on time.
Late payments and collections have a serious negative impact on your score. How can you make sure that you pay on time?
Sign up for automatic payments, or
Set up reminders for bill due dates
If you’re already behind, do what you can to get and stay current on your bills. If you need help, try a credit counseling service (it won’t hurt your FICO score).
Pay Off Debt
Amounts owed (debt) makeup 30% of your FICO score. Finding ways to pay off or lower your debt will improve your credit utilization (balance of debt to available credit).
Having debt isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but if your balance is too high, it can negatively impact your score.
Keep your credit card balances low. If you get too close to your credit limit, it will have a negative impact on your score.
Pay off as much of your credit card debt as possible.
Don’t close out accounts or move your balances around. Owing the same amount of debt but having fewer accounts can lower your score.
When paying off debt, start with the cards that have the highest interest rates.
Paying off debt will help increase your score and save you money each month.
Use Your Credit Responsibly
Having and using credit cards can help improve your credit score, but the trick is to use them responsibly.
Pay on time – every time
Pay the balance in full if you can
Only use your card when necessary
It may be tempting to use your credit card to buy a new TV on Black Friday, but you’re only going to hurt your credit score if you don’t have a plan to pay it off quickly.
Following these steps can help increase your FICO Score. It may take some time to see the results, but if you’re disciplined, you’ll reach your goals.