How to Improve Your Credit Score
Many people assume that they would never qualify for a loan in the current market and don’t even try. However, if your credit score is lower than you’d like then it’s time you start working to improve it. Depending on what’s holding you down, you could be able to improve it faster than you think. Here are some of the things that you can do to improve your credit score:
Pay your credit card debts
This is something that can highly influence your credit score relatively quickly. Make sure to pay down the balance before the billing cycle ends. Set reminders to pay if you have to, just remember that you want that balance to be low when the credit card issuer reports to the credit bureau.
Keep in mind that the percentage of your credit that you’re using at any given time (credit utilization) should always be lower than 30%. Also, consider asking for a higher credit limit. This may happen automatically if you’ve had the card for some time, but if it doesn’t’ you can make an online request or even call your credit card issuer. Increasing your limit while your balance stays the same will automatically reduce your credit utilization.
Your credit utilization is the second biggest factor in your credit score after paying in time.
Use a secured credit card
If you are unable to get a credit card at the moment, consider getting a secured credit card. They are usually easier to be approved for and are a great tool if you're looking to build credit from scratch or rebuild credit after a bad setback. A secured credit card is a type of card backed by collateral in the form of a deposit from the cardholder. Having can help you establish, strengthen and even rebuild your credit. The issuer holds the deposit in case you don't pay your bill and will report your activity to the credit bureaus as you use your card.
Get credit for rent and utility payments
The impact of this one will vary according to the scoring model. Essentially, if you don’t have much of a credit history you could find a way for your rent payment history to work in your favor. Your rent payments generally don’t get reported to bureaus and you can’t report rent payments yourself. However, you can use a rent reporting service. If your payments are being reported, they can have a positive effect on your payment history and add another element to your credit profile. Remember that this will only have a positive effect if you make on-time payments every month.
If your landlord offers the option, you could also pay your rent with your credit card. After all, rent is probably the largest expense that many people incur each month. As long as you make sure to pay off your balance each month, it can help you boost your score.
Last but not least, you can ask for help! You don’t necessarily have to figure all this out on your own. You can choose to work with a lender to guide you in terms of which steps to take to improve your score. This is why we recommend you reach out to a lender even if you suspect your credit score is not quite where it should be. They will review your score and can offer strategies and steps you can follow to get it up to a qualifying number. At Timber and Rose, we have excellent lenders that can help specifically with free credit improvement programs. Just send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll send you their information.