It may take time and effort, but developing responsible habits now can help you grow your score in the long run.
A good first step is to get a free copy of your credit report and score, so you can understand what is in your credit file. Next, focus on what is bringing your score down and work toward improving these areas.
Here are some common steps you can take to increase your credit score.
- Pay your bills on time. Because payment history is the most important factor in making up your credit score, paying all your bills on time every month is critical to improving your credit.
- Pay down debt. Reducing your credit card balances is a great way to lower your credit utilization ratio, and can be one of the quickest ways to see a credit score boost.
- Make any outstanding payments. If you have any payments that are past due, bringing them up to date may save your credit score from taking an even bigger hit. Late payment information in credit files include how late the payment was—30, 60 or 90 days past due—and the more time that has elapsed, the larger the impact on your scores.
- Dispute inaccurate information on your report. Mistakes happen, and your scores could suffer because of inaccurate information in your credit file. Periodically monitor your credit reports to make sure no inaccurate information appears. If you find something that’s out of place, initiate a dispute as soon as possible.
- Don’t close all your accounts. In most cases, no credit is worse than bad credit because lenders can’t predict what you’ll do if they give you a loan.