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Paying your bills on time is the the most important thing you can do to increase your score. FICO and VantageScore, which are two of the main credit card scoring models, both consider payment history to be the most influential factor in determining a person’s credit rating. For lenders, a person’s ability to make their credit card payments indicates that they are able to take out a loan and pay it back.
But your credit score isn’t just affected by your credit card bills. You need to pay all of your bills on time. This includes all of your utilities, student loan debt, and medical bills.
If you have a hard time remembering to pay your bills every month (so many different due dates, so little time), there is a simple solution: automatic payment. If you are not sure that you can pay your entire bill, you can pay it so that you pay only the minimum. And the same goes with your utilities: Most major providers will allow you to set up an automatic payment that automatically withdraws from your checking or savings account (or debits your credit card) each month. In the case of student loan companies, some give you a reduction on your interest rate if you set up automatic payment.
If you don’t want to use automatic payment, another easy option is to set up a payment reminder. Many banks and card issuers will allow you to schedule reminders through their websites, including sending you email reminders or push notifications (or both). You can also set up Google or Outlook calendar invitations or write the due date on a physical calendar. It doesn’t matter what notification system you use as long as you pay on time.
The sooner you start paying on time, the sooner your score will start to improve. And just like a bit of motivation, old credit penalties like late payments mean less over time. So start now and stay consistent.
FICO and VantageScore review the number of credit applications, such as new financial product applications or credit limit increase requests, as well as the number of new account openings. Making these kinds of inquiries frequently undermines your credit, so only apply for what you really need to avoid damaging your score.
If you want a new card, but are not sure if you qualify, you can submit a prequalification form online. You can submit as many prequalification forms as you want, as they will not affect your credit score.
If you are already responsible for making your utility and cell phone payments on time, you should check Experience boost. It’s a free and easy way for consumers to improve their credit rating. the how Experian Boost works It’s simple: connect your bank account (s) to Experian Boost so it can identify your utility, telecom and streaming payment history. Once you have verified the data and confirmed that you want it added to your Experian credit report, you will get an update. FICO score delivered to your home in real time.
Visit Experiential to find out more and register. By signing up you will instantly receive a free credit report and FICO score.
It’s a good idea to check your credit reports for each of the top three credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. You can proactively monitor your credit and receive three free credit reports (one from each bureau) each year at annualcreditreport.com.
Make sure to check errors on your credit reports it could hurt your score. While it may seem unlikely that your reports are wrong, 26% of Federal Trade Commission (FTC) study participants found at least one error in their reports that could make them seem riskier to lenders.
Common mistakes, according to My FICO, occur when someone applies for credit cards under different names, if a clerical error is made when information is entered from a handwritten application, or if an ex-spouse’s information remains on the a person’s report. If you spot an error then you should gather all supporting evidence and dispute the error online or by phone with the respective office that issued the incorrect report.
Your credit utilization rate (CUR) is your total credit card balance divided by your total available credit. For example, the average American has a credit limit of $ 22,589 on four cards and a balance of $ 6,028, according to Experiential. This translates to a CUR of around 27%. Experts generally recommend keeping your total CUR below 30%, and below 10% is even better.
If your CUR is over 30% and you have no problem paying your bills on time and in full, you can call your card issuer and request a credit increase. If you’re struggling to pay your bills and have a high CUR, it’s smarter to figure out some areas where you can cut back on your spending.
FICO scores and VantageScore credit scores both range from 300 to 850, but they rank good credit differently. Here’s how the two companies rank good credit, according to Experian:
- 300-579: Very poor
- 580-669: fair
- 670-739: Good
- 740-799: Very good
- 800-850: Exceptional
- 300-549: Very poor
- 550-649: Poor
- 650-699: Fair
- 700-749: Good
- 750-850: Excellent
While this information is useful, just be aware that the ranges vary depending on the credit scoring model used and what the lender perceives as good credit. For example, a credit score of 680 is considered good by FICO, but not by VantageScore. And your lender may have another idea of a good credit score.
Another thing to consider is the credit rating versions that lenders use during the application process – FICO a 19 which are most commonly used by lenders. The different versions are divided into two main categories: basic FICO scores and industry specific FICO scores.
Basic FICO scores, such as the FICO® 8 score, predict your chances of not paying as agreed in the future on any credit product, such as a mortgage, credit card, or student loan. Industry-specific FICO® scores, such as FICO® Auto Score 8, are more in-depth and also provide lenders with a detailed credit risk assessment tailored to the specific type of credit you are applying for, such as a car loan.
Even if your credit score is in the “good” range, there is no guarantee that you will be approved for a financial product that requires good credit. During the application process, lenders consider many factors beyond your credit score, such as income and monthly housing payments.
For pricing and fees for the Discover it® Secure Credit Card, click here.
Editorial note: Any opinions, analysis, criticism or recommendations expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the editorial staff of Select and have not been reviewed, endorsed or otherwise approved by any third party.