So, you’re on the market for a new mortgage or some other loan but are always turned down. Or, maybe you’re one of these types that do get a loan offer, but the interest rate is monumental?
What’s the reason? Most likely it’s your sinking credit score.
Basically, the higher your score, the better your chances of getting a loan, and the better your rates and terms.
According to Bankrate.com, there are some ways to improve your credit score rather quickly so that you can obtain the loan you need.
Look For Errors On Your Credit Report
If you’ve regularly paid your bills on time and never had any problem with lenders or credit card companies, but you have a low credit score, it could be that there’s a mistake on your credit report.
According to a Federal Trade Commission study in 2012, about 25 percent of people had some error on their credit report, which had a negative effect on their score, Bankrate.com says.
“The credit reporting agencies corrected errors for about 20 percent of consumers who reported them while about 1 percent of those who reported errors saw a change in their credit score after the mistakes were corrected. In some cases, individual scores went up by 25 points. In very rare cases (1 in 250), a person’s score went up by more than 100 points,” the website reports.
And yes, you may review your credit report for free once a year with each of the three credit reporting bureaus — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. You can get access to your free credit reports by visiting AnnualCreditReport.com.
Pay on Time
Don’t always blame the credit bureaus for a low credit score. Sometimes, a low score is a result of your payment habits. Your payment history has a huge effect on your score.
According to the Fair Isaac Corp., which calculates the FICO score, payment history makes up 35 percent of your score. If you aren’t already in the habit of paying your debts on time, doing so can improve your credit score quickly, Bankrate.com says.
Keep Balances Low
Additionally, how much you owe makes up 30 percent of a FICO score. The less you owe in comparison to what you could borrow, the higher your score.
Do go ahead and try to pay your balances off before the closing date of your credit card statement. If you charge $1,000 to one card during a month but pay the balance in full before the statement period ends, the credit card will report that you owe nothing, making it look as if you’re not using your credit at all, Bankrate.com suggests.
Even if you can’t pay the entire balance off before the statement closing date, try to keep the amount you charge less than 30 percent of the amount of credit available. Essentially, this means if your limit is $10,000, you want to charge no more than $3,000 over the course of a single billing period. Keeping your balance below 10 percent of your total available credit will improve your credit score even more, Bankrate.com says.
Stay Cautious Regarding New Credit
Did you know your credit score drops slightly each time you open a new credit card or other account? If you’re curious on how to improve your credit score quickly, one idea is to be cautious about opening new accounts or cards.
The one exception to this is if you don’t have much of a credit history and need a credit card to get started. Sometimes, opening a new account may help improve your credit mix, raising your score in the long run. Only opening new credit accounts when truly necessary will help improve and maintain your credit score, Bankrate.com adds.
Do be careful about closing credit cards you’ve paid off because it can lower your credit score. Closing a card causes available credit to drop, reducing borrowing power.
A good credit score is regarded as above 700. Very good scores are regarded as above 740 and exceptional scores are regarded as above 800. Raising your scores after a strike on your credit report or building credit for the first time will take some patience and discipline, Bankrate.com says.
In the end, you may expect it to take a couple months to two years to re-build a good credit score. However, if you can follow some of these suggestions, it may improve quicker than you realize.