Improving your credit score is the key basis to receive the best interest rates on all of your purchases from a car to a home.
A FICO score is a three-digit number based on information in your credit report. Only FICO Scores are created by the Fair Isaac Corporation and are used by over 90% of top lenders when making lending decisions. FICO Scores are the industry standard for making accurate and fair decisions about creditworthiness.
There are three bureaus for credit reports: Experian, TransUnion and Equifax.
A good credit score is considered anything above 670 out of 850. Typically, the higher your score, the lower the risk and the more likely creditors are to lend to you. You can check your credit score for free at Credit Karma.
Delinquencies and most public record items remain on your credit report for seven years. Some bankruptcies may remain for 10 years. Inquiries remain on your report for two years.
Here are ways to raise your credit score
1. Check your credit report and look for errors
You can get a free copy of your credit report and score every 12 months for free. It does not lower or affect your score to get your own report. Check to make sure that your accounts are correct and there are no false late payments, for example. If there is incorrect information on your credit report, start the process of disputing the information immediately.
2. Pay your bills on time
Lenders look closely at your history of responsible payments, which can predict future actions. Late or missing payments stay on your credit report for seven years.
3. Payoff credit cards/revolving credit
Keeping your balance low or at zero on your high-interest credit will help raise your credit score. Lenders like to see you use below 30% of your credit limit on your cards. They do not like to see you max out your credit cards and only pay minimum payments.
4. Don’t apply for too many credit cards
Not only is it a bad idea to have too many credit cards, increasing your likelihood of overspending, but it also is a “hard inquiry” on our credit report and will lower you FICO score.