More Ways to Improve Your Credit Score
4. Extend Your Credit Limit.
If the idea of managing another credit card gives you a headache, ask your current credit card issuer for a credit line increase on your existing card. Like getting a new card, this will lower the percentage of credit you're using compared to how much you could use (just don't increase your spending to match). Issuers are more likely to grant increases to good customers, so choose the card with which you've had the cleanest and longest history. Then just call up and ask, reminding the rep that you've been a dedicated customer for a long time. Note that requesting a credit line increase also requires a hard credit inquiry, so steel yourself for a temporary hit to your score.
5. Make It Automatic.
Credit Karma told us: "Just one late payment can damage your credit score 20 points or more, so take preemptive measures." Set up automatic payments on installment loans that charge the same amount each time, and create calendar reminders for your credit card bills. (While you're at it, check out our suggestions for how to manage that calendar.)
6. Actually Use Your Credit Card.
As long as you never spend more than you have and pay your bills in full every month, LearnVest actually recommends paying with a credit card. In addition to providing perks like insurance, rewards, and the ability to dispute charges, this is also a powerful tool in building credit. The key is moderation: Using too much credit or maxing out your card hurts your score, but regular, responsible use actually helps it.
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7. Clean Up Your Credit Report.
According to some statistics, as much as 80 percent of consumer credit reports have an error or inaccuracy that can cost 5 to 50 credit points. Check your credit report for errors. Once the mistakes are wiped from your history, your credit score will show the effect within a month.
It's impossible to predict exactly how much these tips will raise your score, because every credit history is different. That said, we expect that you'll soon be raising your glass to a much higher score.
Originally published on LearnVest.com; republished with permission.
Copyright © 2012 Meredith Corporation.