Tips For Increasing Your Credit Score
Updated on June 28, 2019
While there is no quick way to fix your credit score, there are simple tips you can follow to greatly improve it over time.
Although credit repair services may claim to be able to fix your credit score in a short period of time, these quick fixes may backfire. If you truly want to master your credit score and work your way to the prestigious 850 club, you’ll need to get whyze and work backward from how your FICO score is calculated.
Because the formula to your FICO score is no mystery, you must use that to your advantage. With your credit score being calculated based on five different categories:
- Payment History
- Amounts Owed
- Length Of Credit History
- New Credit
- Credit Mix
You can increase your score by applying tips that are specific to each category. Let’s start off with tips for the most important category, your payment history.
Payment History Tips
At 35% of your FICO score, your payment history has the largest impact on your credit score. To ensure this category isn’t holding you back from good credit, you’ll want to focus on these following tips:
- Pay your bills on time! Even if you’re only a few days late, a missed payment will significantly damage your credit score.
- If you’ve already missed payments in the past, focus on paying your future bills on time. Things happen, but that doesn’t mean you can’t recover. Since the payment history category takes into consideration how recent and how large your missed payments are, older and small missed payments will have less of an impact on your credit score as time passes. Paying your bills on time after being late will show lenders you are building good payment habits and will allow your past missed payments to become older and less important. This will ultimately help increase your FICO score.
- If you have any bills in collection, you’ll want to be aware that paying off these amounts will not increase your credit score. Although paying off a collection may be a good idea, it will remain on your credit report for seven years regardless of whether you pay it off or not.
Amounts Owed Tips
The next set of tips will help you in the amounts owed category. With amounts owed contributing to 30% of your FICO score, you’ll want to take these following tips seriously.
- Since this category focuses mainly on your credit utilization, you’ll want to make sure you keep this percentage low. Do this by keeping your balances low. This means minimizing the overall amount of credit card and credit lines debt you have.
- You’ll also want to minimize how many accounts have balances on them. This will help increase your credit score since too many accounts with balances on them are seen as tendencies of a risky borrower.
- Don’t close credit cards that you are no longer using. While it may seem like a great idea to close an old credit card, doing so may lower your credit score. As an example, if you have two credit cards with each card having a $5,000 limit, your total available credit is $10,000. If you charge $1,000 to one of your cards, you now have a credit utilization of 10%. Now, if you decide to close one of the credit cards, your utilization will increase to 20% due to the fact you have less available credit. Since your credit utilization is higher now, your credit score may drop!
Length Of Credit History Tips
The next set of tips will help you in the length of credit history category. Contributing to 15% of your credit score, this category is pretty straight forward. The longer you have credit, the better!
- Avoid opening a lot of new accounts around the same time. This will dramatically lower the average age of your accounts. A low average account age will usually lead to a lower credit score, especially if you’re new to credit.
- Caution closing old credit cards that you are no longer using. Regardless if you want to shred the card itself or put it in the freezer to keep you from swiping away, leaving the account open will keep the length of your credit history long. In return, this will boost your score.
New Credit Tips
Next on the list of tips is one for the new credit category. At only 10% of your FICO score, this tip won’t make major changes to your score but it will make a difference.
- Avoid applying for a lot of credit cards and loans at once. Since the new credit category considers how many credit inquiries you have from the last 12 months, too many will be seen as risky behavior to lenders. If you’re rate shopping for the same type of loan, like mortgages and auto loans, this is ok and won’t hurt your score. Checking your credit score through a credit reporting agency or an organization that has the ability to show you your credit score, will also not lower your score.
Credit Mix Tips
Last on the list of tips for increasing your credit score is for the credit mix category. Also at only 10% of your FICO score, this tip won’t make major changes to your score but it will help or hold you back from an 850. To master the credit mix category, you’ll want to prove you can responsibly manage different types of credit. This leads directly to our tip:
- Be responsible with different types of credit. As you’re approved for credit cards and other loans like mortgages and auto loans, make sure you are paying them on time. This will prove you can responsibly manage different types of credit and will in return, increase your credit score.
As you work your way to the prestigious 850 credit score club, make sure to get whyze and keep these tips in mind. While some tips will increase your FICO score more than others, collectively they will lift your score and help you reach your financial goals in life.