According to Forbes contributor Ashlea Ebeling, new data that came out in May shows that credit scores are highly malleable. “For consumers with FICO scores of 750-799 in October 2011, a year later, 21% of them had moved into the 800-850 score range (850 is the top FICO score); 58% stayed in the same range; and 21% moved to a lower score range,” said Ebeling.
In order to take advantage of this malleability and improve your credit score, it is important to understand exactly what affects it and how to manage it. The following quick and easy tips will help you get on the path towards improving your credit score today.
- Pay on time. One of the most heavily weighted portions of your credit score is your payment history with other creditors. Because your payment history is a good indicator of how you will pay lenders in the future, it is one of the most important aspects a new or would-be lender can consider. In order to improve your credit score, pay all of your bills on time. If you have a history of paying late, then within a few months of paying on time you may see an increase in your FICO score.
- Don’t overspend. If you have a high ratio of balances to limits, this can indicate that you are spending more than you can afford to pay back. If this is the case, then you become higher risk to new creditors. Lowering the balances in your current revolving credit accounts could help improve your credit score by showing that you are using credit responsibly.
- Stop applying for credit. Another indicator that you may be spending more than you can afford is that you continually apply for new credit. If you have many applications out for new credit cards and loans, then you are showing that you are either planning to increase your debt greatly or that you are overextended and need credit for the wrong reasons. If you have a high number of credit inquiries prompted by your applications for credit, this will lower your credit rating. In order to improve your credit rating, stop applying for new credit.
- Keep old accounts open. The length of your credit history gives would-be lenders another way to qualify your risk. Keeping old accounts open will, over time, improve your credit rating, even if you no longer use the account.
Improving your credit score is about patience, determination and discipline. We’re here to help you with all of your credit and financial planning needs. Give us a call or stop by today to see how we can help improve your credit score and make better use of your money.
Also, don't miss our Money Smart Class on Monday, July 15th from 5-7pm at our Main Branch. Customers and the community are welcome. The workshop will have a credit focus, but we will be discussing budgeting and savings as well. Please call customer service to reserve your spot at 816-483-1210 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
. See the lead story in this e-newsletter for more information. Snacks will be provided.