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How to Increase Your Credit Score Today

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Credit scores are becoming more important today than they have in the recent past. High scores are important for low mortgage rates, low-interest rates on credit cars, buying cars, and even applying for apartment homes. 

Employers are even starting to check credit reports for applicants as well. They don't want to bring on an employee who has a myriad debt and issues they might bring with them to the job. It's not illegal to refrain from hiring someone because of their credit scores 

It's advantageous in so many ways to have a high score. But if you don't, there are certainly a wide array of methods you can institute today to get your scores higher. So check out how you can get started on this now.

What is a Credit Score

A credit score is a 3 digit number assigned to you by one of the 3 major credit bureaus. They include Equifax, Transunion, and Experian. They each have maximum scores ranges that will top out at 850. They are used by lenders to determine how likely you are to repay a debt. 

Score Range for the 3 Credit Bureaus

Experian: 330-830

Equifax: 280-850

TransUnion: 300-850

Each bureau has its proprietary model of how they determine your score. They won't tell you how they arrive at the final numbers,, but they must use your personal credit history to determine it. And you ultimately will control that. 

What is a FICO Score 

You probably have heard the term "FICO Score" thrown around in normal day to day conversations. This stands for Fair Isaac and Company. It's similar to the credit bureaus but slightly different. It's also a publicly-traded company on the NYSE. They are used by many different lenders to make credit decisions. 

Fico Score Range: 300-850

All of these different agencies help lenders determine how likely you are to repay your loan. That is all they do. 

What's a Good Score

You don't have to have an 850 or an 800 to have a good score. Just Google it!

A good FICO score is going to be 670 and above. 

Guess what, a good Equifax score is 670. So you can see there is a strong relationship among the bureaus regarding what qualifies as a good score. 

Good scores get you great rates. So whether you want to buy a new house or rent a luxury car rental New York, you can guarantee you will get the best rate with a good credit score. 

Pay off Credit Cards

One of the fastest ways to increase your credit score is to pay off credit card balances. Many people wrongly believe that having too many credit cards will hurt your credit score. This isn't entirely true. 

Don't make the minimum credit card payments

  • When you pay more than the minimum credit card payment, you start to pay off more debt.
  • As you start paying down debt, you increase your available credit limits.
  • This, in turn, will increase your score

If you pay off a credit card, don't cancel that card. You just decreased your utilization capacity. 

Credit Card Utilization Capacity: This is your total credit card balance / the total available credit limit.

Suppose you have 2 different cards

  • 1 Mastercard with a balance $1k and a total available limit of $5k 
  • 1 AMEX with a balance of 3K and a limit of 5k
  • $1000 +$3000 = a total balance of $4000
  • $4000/$10,000 = a total credit utilization of 40%

The lower the score the better. 

One quick way to increase your available credit is to open up a new credit card account. But you want to be cautious about how much you do spend on this new card.

Some experts believe that carrying a small balance is better for your score than carrying nothing at all. 

If you start maxing out your credit cards, not only do you pay a high amount of interest on the balance, you are saying to the lenders that you might be a high credit risk.

Make Payments On-Time

Another quick way to increase your score is to make your payments on-time. While you cannot do this overnight, it's a sure way to increase your score. 

Remember that lenders want a consumer who will pay back their loans. If you don't pay back what you owe, this will certainly put a dent in your score. 

  • Pay your bills on-time. If you can't afford something, don't purchase it. 
  • The only way to get a great score is to pay your bills when due.
  • Late payments will hurt you if they are reported to the credit bureaus. 

Check your credit report for free. Just run a search online at Google. If you have any derogatory remarks, you might consider contacting the vendor and attempting to negotiate. 

You will want to get this in writing and have them remove the item from the credit bureaus when paid. This may help your score.

Take-Aways

Remember that your score is going to impact mortgage rates, apartment application approvals, and car loans.

  1. Keep a low credit utilization rate
  2. Make on-time payments
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