5 smart tips to improve your credit score—and keep it in shape
How strong is your credit score? Most consumers strive to improve their credit score or maintain a positive one. That’s because financing for cars, homes, business loans and credit cards all depend on this three-digit reflection of creditworthiness. The goal is to aim high. The stronger the number, the better the score. And that can translate to lower interest rates for you.
The good news is that even if your credit score could use some conditioning, there are simple, smart steps you can take to get it in better shape — and keep it fit.
Longevity is key. Keep your oldest credit line open the longest.
Open lines of credit that are responsibly managed can help establish a strong credit profile over time. Keep the oldest credit card account open and regularly paid off for as long as possible. A long credit history will help maintain a high credit score.
Cut the bulk of any credit cards you aren’t using.
On the flip side, too many open lines of credit can lead to overspending, fees and a greater risk of identity theft. Limit yourself to no more than four open credit cards at a time, and close any unnecessary cards you haven’t used in at least a year to help improve your credit score.
Commit to a routine — pay off at least one credit card in full each month
The best way to avoid paying interest is to stay on top of your credit card payments. A great way to improve your credit score is to pay off the monthly balance of your cards with the highest interest rates first. Plus, you still get any loyalty rewards or perks associated with the card without paying the interest that comes with carrying a balance.
When you’re ready, request a credit limit increase.
After your debts are trimmed down and your credit is in good standing, consider asking your credit card provider for a credit limit increase. Your credit utilization ratio is the total amount of credit available to you across all lines of credit versus the total amount you’re using, and it’s an important factor in determining your credit score. Keep it at 30 percent or less and your score will see serious gains.
Monitor your credit report for discrepancies and fix them fast.
Before you apply for bigger loans, like auto financing or a mortgage, check to make sure your credit history is accurate. If you see anything erroneous, you have the right to dispute that information by contacting the credit bureau.
Looking for more tips for better credit and money management? Check out more of Comenity’s financial resources.