In our last post we provided you with three great tips on how to avoid common credit mistakes and, in turn, hopefully get you on the path to boosting your credit score. Here’s a few more tips to add to that list:
- Shop Smart When it Comes to Rates – Did you know that every time you apply for credit it can cause your credit score to drop just a little bit? And, it’s a drop that lasts for a year. The thought process behind it is this: if an individual is making multiple credit applications, it must mean that that individual is planning on using all that credit. However, with mortgage, auto and student loans, the scoring formulas now allow for the fact that you’ll be making multiple applications but, in the end, will only take out one loan. For instance, your FICO score – which is one that’s commonly used amongst lenders – will ignore any such inquiries that are made within the 30 days prior to scoring. So, if you’re shopping for a home, car, or student loan, do your rate shopping within a short time span to avoid unnecessary credit dings.
- Always Pay On Time – Big purchases often require a sizeable down payment, which is something that often requires “scrambling” on behalf of the buyer. However, keep one thing in mind as you’re juggling all those bills – keep on top of things and don’t send them in late! One of the biggest factors in a good credit score is on time payments and, since credit scores are determined by what’s in your credit report, late payments (which get reported) damage your credit and hurt your score. So, make sure you save – and pay – smart!!!
- Don’t Sabotage Yourself – Often times one of the best ways to improve your credit score is to NOT do something to hurt it. If you begin missing payments or suddenly are paying less (or charging more) than what’s typical for you, it could signal a red flag that will eventually cause a dip in your score.
- Focus – Along with your bills, make sure you’re keeping up on your credit report, too. You are entitled to one free copy of your credit report from Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion (credit bureaus) every 12 months. In fact, if you stagger your requests by utilizing one bureau’s report every four months (such as requesting Experian’s in January, Equifax’s in May, and in September requesting your TransUnion report), you can monitor you score for free all year long.
So, there you have it. Follow these steps and you should be well on your way to bumping your credit score up at least a few notches.