13 Surprising Ways to Help Raise Your Credit Score
Besides the top 15 ways to improve your credit score, there are a number of other useful tips you can follow to raise this measure of personal financial health. Some of these are simple things that you might not consider otherwise.
Check if You Are Linked to Another Person
Sometimes another individual’s credit gets tied to your own by mistake. This is easy to correct by filing disputes with the credit reporting bureaus. It can have a massive impact on your score if this individual’s credit is poor.
Use Your Secured Credit Card Sparingly at First
You want to keep your credit utilization category low. This gives you more points in this second most important category. The credit card company is also more likely to raise your limit or refund your deposit when they see this type of responsible financial behaviour.
Check for Fraudulent Activity and Fix It
Fraud affected 46 percent of Americans over the past five years, according to electronic payment systems firm ACI Worldwide. If you spot fraudulent activity on your credit report, you need to address this immediately before it becomes more damaging. Requesting a credit freeze is the fastest way to stop the problem from getting any worse. Then you can set about disputing the fraudulent activity.
Move Less Often
Taking on new mortgages continuously can affect you negatively in several ways. You never pay down your mortgage loan. Your credit history average is shortened with each new mortgage as well. By staying in your home and paying your mortgage on time every month, you show the stability and financial responsibility that the credit scoring models love.
Leave Accounts Open
It can be tempting to close credit cards that you do not use, but this harms you in two categories. Your credit utilization will rise if you lose available credit. This is the second most important category comprising 30 percent of your score. Also closing accounts lowers your average account credit history, a component that makes up 15 percent of your score.
Keep these accounts open, charge small amounts from time to time, and then pay them off every month to improve your score.
Take an Auto Loan and a Mortgage
The credit mix category amounts to 10 percent of your score. Creditors like to see different kinds of credit that you are keeping up with on your reports. Two categories they especially like are mortgages and car loans. Having these will give you a number of points in this category and also a stronger payment history category (the most important component).
Pay Your Rent on Time Every Month
You can ask your property management company to report your monthly rent payments to the credit bureaus. This will improve your payment history category that is the most important component. If your landlord does not offer this service, try signing up for an electronic rent payment service which will guarantee reporting to all three major credit bureaus.
Some of the big names in this industry are Rent Track, Pay Lease, eRent Payment, Pay Your Rent, and Clear Now.
Pay Your Cell Phone and Utility Bills on Time
Most utilities and cell phone providers will report your payment history to the credit bureaus. This is a good way to build up new credit or rebuild damaged credit. It counts towards the most important component of payment history.
Get a Personal or Secured Loan
Another way to improve your credit mix category (10 percent of your score) is by taking out either a personal or secured loan. This will give you another form of credit to show on your report. It could add several key points to your FICO or Vantage Scoring scores.
Become an Authorized User
For individuals just starting out with credit, this is a great way for you to establish a payment history. Your parents or a trusted friend can make you an authorized user on one of their credit cards. With each timely payment, you will benefit in the key category of rent payment history. It will also give you a credit utilization component, the second most important category.
Get Credit for the Bills You Pay
Make sure that all bills you pay are reporting to one or more of the credit reporting bureaus. You can ask companies to do this if they are not already. Timely rent payment is a very good one to have on your report.
Obtain Store Credit Cards or Student Credit Cards
Another great way to improve your credit mix component (10 percent of credit scores) is by obtaining store credit. For people who are newly establishing a credit profile, getting a store credit card or student credit card are two of the easier ways to get those all important first accounts approved and open.
Register on the Electoral Roll
This adds another source for your address and contact details to your credit report. Odd as it may seem, it does increase your credit score too, according to Experian.
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