Trying to improve your credit score is a lot like trying to lose weight. It takes a long time to see results. Be leery of any “quick-fix” methods that claim to fix your credit score quickly. These tactics usually backfire and do very little to improve anything – again, much like the fad diets many people use to lose weight fast.
The best way to make sure your credit is improving is to manage it responsibly over time. Implementing the following tips will help you do just that.
1. Set Up Auto-Pay and Payment Reminders
One of the biggest contributors to a good credit score is making your payments on time. Many banks offer payment reminder services through their online portals, which sends you emails or texts to alert you when a payment is due.
Alternately, you can set up automatic payments to come directly out of your account when they are due. While this ensures timely payments, it only pays the minimum due, which doesn’t help you with paying down debt, especially on those credit card balances.
2. Pay Down Debt
Easier said than done, paying down the amount of debt you owe might be even more satisfying than raising your credit score.
Begin this process by halting the use of all credit cards. Get a copy of your credit report and figure out how much you owe on each account. Put the bulk of your available monies toward paying off the highest interest cards first and make the minimum payments on the others.
3. Dispute Errors on Your Credit Report
To err is human, but that’s no reason to allow mistakes on your credit report to make you seem a bigger risk than what you are in terms of creditworthiness.
You are entitled to one free credit report each year, so take advantage of that and check your report to ensure it contains all the right information. Should you find something incorrect on your credit report, it’s also your right to dispute it.
To dispute an error on your credit report, contact the agency where the debt is supposedly owed as well as the credit bureau that reported it. All three credit bureaus (TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax) allow you to dispute errors online. Be sure to submit all supporting documents that prove your dispute. It could take a month or more for the error to be fixed, so be patient.
Your credit score is very important, especially if you hope to be eligible for any type of credit or decent payment terms. It can be tough maintaining a high credit score, but if you’d like to get yours back on track, use the advice listed above to see improvement over time.