By Stephen Green
on April 23, 2024
Read in 2 min

A solid credit score is a ticket to saving money and financing your future dreams. Is your score less than stellar? Not to worry⁠—it’s never too late to start your credit rating on an upward trajectory. Here are nine tips for setting you on your way to the greener financial pastures:

1. Check your report for accuracy

The first step to improving your credit score is to access your credit reports from the three major credit bureaus: TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian, and to review them for any inaccuracies. If any of the information reported is false, you have the right under federal law to file a dispute. 

2. Pay your bills on time

Paying your bills on time is the number one thing you can do to get and maintain a solid credit score. Thirty-five percent of your FICO score is determined by payment history. 

3. Go for a good mix of accounts

The combination of types of accounts on your credit report is worth about 10 percent of your FICO score. If you currently only have credit cards, a credit builder loan may be an excellent option to improve your mix. 

4. Become an authorized user

If you have a friend or family member with a great credit history, you may consider asking them to add you as an authorized user on one of their accounts. Then, their utilization and payments will be added to your credit history. 

5. Don’t apply for too much all at once

When you apply for a new credit card, the potential lender runs a credit check. This type of check is called a hard inquiry and may negatively impact your credit score. Applying for more than one credit card in a short period results in multiple hard inquiries, and these combined can have a more significant impact on your score. 

6. Pay down balances

The amount of debt you have and the ratio between credit and debt are two factors that impact your credit score. Paying down balances addresses both of these, and if possible, is a sure way to improve your credit score. 

7. Ask for a credit limit increase

Another way to improve your credit-to-debt ratio is to request a credit line increase from your current creditors. Just be sure not to go on a spending spree and use up your new credit. This will most likely result in a negative effect, as you’ll be increasing your overall amount of debt. 

8. Consider consolidation

If you have a decent credit score, you may consider applying for a consolidation loan to pay off your credit cards. If the loan has a lower interest rate than your cards, you will save money. You will also decrease your debt-to-credit ratio, which should give your score a boost. 

9. Establish a credit history

If you don’t have any credit, it’s time to start building so that you qualify for future borrowing. A secured credit card is a great way to start establishing a credit history. With these types of cards, you pay a deposit to secure the line of credit and the lender reports the timeliness of your payments to the three major credit bureaus. Just be sure to pay on-time and to keep your credit utilization down around 10% to build a positive credit history. 

Hopefully, these nine tips have given you an idea of how you can get started improving your credit score today. With a little intentionality and consistency, you have the potential to create the financial life you deserve. 

This is not for legal or financial advice. Please consult a legal or financial advisor for your specific situation.