7 Efficient Ways to Improve Your Credit Score
Numerous factors affect loan approvals, your credit score being one of the biggest. It tells the lenders how responsible or reckless you are when it comes to using your credit and paying your debts in just one glance.
If you have a stellar credit score, it will increase your chances of getting approved for new lines of credit. A high credit score can also land you to loans with low-interest rates and favorable payment terms when you borrow.
However, building an excellent credit score is not a walk-in-the-park journey. It’s a marathon!
Fortunately, there are things you can do to spike up your score. Take your cue from the following.
Get a Credit Card Early and Use it Responsibly
If you want to give a lift to your burgeoning credit score, apply for a credit card as early as you can. It’s one of the best ways to show to the banks and lenders how financially responsible you are.
Put your best foot forward and make a good impression by using your credit card to make purchases that you can afford to pay on time. Putting a buffer in your credit is also a good idea just in case you need to divert funds elsewhere.
Pay Your Bills on Time
It may be easier said than done, but paying your bills on time is a must. Defaulted or late repayments are credit score killers! Good thing, it’s easy to fix.
Paying your bills on time will do wonders to your credit score, especially now that there’s a comprehensive credit reporting. It can be likened to a grading system. Whenever you miss a repayment, say, on your credit card or internet bill, your credit score calculated will plummet. So, pay it on time to boost your score.
In case you don’t know, an overdue payment will remain visible on your credit report for five years! Now, if you have a hard time keeping up with all of your expenses, try to set up payment reminders on your calendar. You can also consider using direct debits.
Pay off Debts or Keep Them to a Minimum
We’ve already stressed the importance of paying your bills on time. But sometimes, it’s inevitable to miss paying your monthly dues, especially when there’s a financial incapacity or emergency. If paying all of your balances is impossible at the moment, the best thing to do is to keep them to a manageable or minimum amount.
It’s not only about how much is your debt. It also has something to do about how much you owe compared to your credit limit. For example, you get a 75% total credit utilization for having a P18,000 balance from a P25,000 worth of credit limit, which is still a big amount.
There are services that also allow you to consolidate your credit card debts into a single account so you can easily pay them off. You can transfer credit card balances with high interest into a new credit card with a lower rate. This move will help you pay your debt faster, and you save money.
Don’t Spend Beyond Your Credit Limit
It’s a red flag for most banks and lenders if you have a balance that is higher than all of your existing credit limits. And it may cause your credit score to nosedive.
This balance usually includes interest payments. If you’re almost hitting your credit limit and can’t pay the required balance, consider doing installments.
Make a Request to Increase Your Credit Limit
If you can’t repay your total debt, you can negotiate with your bank to raise your credit limit. A higher credit limit will typically result in lower credit utilization since credit reports are based on percentages, provided that your expenses stay in the same range.
For example, increasing a $25,000 credit limit to $50,000 will minimize will bring down $18,000 balance to just 30% worth of credit utilization. It’s a big improvement and will positively affect your credit score. But keep in mind that requesting for a raise in your credit limit is no longer applicable if you’re considered delinquent or already exceeded the credit limit.
Monitor your Credit Regularly
Checking on your own credit report will require soft inquiry, but it will not affect your credit score, unlike hard inquiries.
The information found on your credit report will not only allow you to check and review all of your financial accounts, but it will also help you look for inconsistencies, errors, or any unauthorized transactions. You can report to credit bureaus in case you find one.
Also, monitoring the fluctuations of your credit score every other month can help you analyze how well you manage your credit and whether or not you should make any changes.
Improving your score doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a gradual process and requires a lot of patience on your end. That’s why it’s best to develop good long-term credit habits to achieve an excellent score.
Build good habits by keeping a low utilization rate, paying your balances on time, and applying for credit only when you need it. If you’re diligent, those practices mentioned above will reflect on your credit score over time.
Improving your credit score is a major goal, particularly if you’re planning to apply for a loan to make a big purchase. It will take weeks, and sometimes months to see visible changes on your score once you start applying methods to tweak it around. But, if you work with improving your credit score early on, the sooner you’ll see improvements.
Tiffany Wagner is a freelance writer and seasoned contributor for various sites that talk about real estate and estate. Apart from writing, she’s also a library and coffee shop habitue. Tiffany likes to indulge in a hot cup of cappuccino while reading her favorite novel.