Many people know that making debt payments on time and keeping credit card debt low are key factors in building a credit score. But there are plenty of other ways to improve credit score that some may not know about. Some methods are so easy that people can start doing them today. Read on to learn about several ways people can improve their credit score:
1. Keep old accounts open
Keeping old accounts open improves three major credit score factors: account mix, credit history length, and credit utilization. Account mix measures the diversity of accounts a borrower has. For example, a borrower with a credit card, mortgage, and student loans will have a better account mix than a borrower with just a personal loan.
Credit history length measures how long a borrower has had credit. It considers the borrower’s oldest and newest accounts, as well as their average account age. Keeping accounts open maximizes account mix and prevents closed accounts from reducing credit history length.
Finally, credit utilization compares a borrower’s total credit balances to their total credit limits on all credit cards. Keeping unused credit cards open provides the borrower a higher total limit, giving them more room to spend without increasing their utilization by too much.
2. Dispute and resolve credit report errors
Sometimes, errors can show up on a borrower’s credit report for various reasons. For instance, a credit bureau may confuse one borrower for another with a similar name and put the wrong information on their report. Credit bureaus sometimes also fail to remove derogatory marks, such as missed payments, from credit reports after they’re handled. These and other types of errors can harm a borrower’s report. Fortunately, the borrower can dispute these errors and have them removed for an easy credit score boost.
3. Ask for higher credit limits
Getting a higher credit limit can instantly improve credit utilization by raising a borrower’s total credit limits. In the short term, asking for a credit increase could slightly lower a borrower’s credit score because it triggers a hard inquiry. But once this hard inquiry’s effects fade, the borrower can reap the rewards of a higher credit limit.
Alternatively, the borrower can simply keep their financial information up to date with their creditor and wait long enough. Eventually, their creditor may automatically increase their credit without a hard inquiry.
4. Report rent and utility payments
Rent and utilities don’t typically show up on credit reports. However, certain services will report borrowers’ on-time rent and utility payments to the credit bureaus for a fee. This can be a great option for renters with little to no credit to establish their credit history and qualify for other credit products more easily. Using these services also puts renters on a level playing field with homeowners by letting renters build credit with housing-related payments.
Use these tips to build credit
There are plenty of ways to build credit beyond making payments on time and staying out of excessive debt. Many of these tactics are surprisingly simple, too. Borrowers can get easy credit score boosts by disputing and resolving errors, asking for higher credit limits, and working with rent and utility reporting services. While doing so, they should keep all their old accounts open to maximize their account mix, credit history length, and utilization. Borrowers that implement these tips will be able to consistently improve their scores and access better lending opportunities in the future.
Notice: Information provided in this article is for information purposes only. Consult your financial advisor about your financial circumstances.
About Advance America
Founded in 1997, Advance America, the country’s leading state-licensed consumer lender, seeks to help every customer achieve their version of financial stability through a variety of innovative, regulated and transparent small-dollar credit options