Categories

5 Steps Toward Building a Better Credit Score

The need for a good credit score is an increasingly important fact of life. Not only do credit scores influence your ability to get a loan, but they are also now often used to determine whether you will be hired for a job or allowed to rent an apartment.

Being in serious debt can wreak havoc on your credit score. Although filing for bankruptcy is a good long-term solution, it too can cause a credit score to drop in the short term.

There’s no magic trick to raising your credit score. It takes hard work and a lot of responsibility. If you’re looking to improve your credit score, here are the five steps you should take:

Pay on time: The worst thing you can do to your credit is miss payments. Making late or partial payments takes a close second. If you want to improve your credit score, you need to pay all your bills on time every month.

Pay down your balances: While making the minimum payments every month may keep you out of trouble, it won’t have a substantial impact on your credit score. Instead, you need to chip into the principal, especially on your credit cards. Make a budget, and allot as much as you can to paying down debt.

Use your credit: It feels unfair, but it’s true – the only way to improve your credit is to keep using it. But, this doesn’t mean that you should run up a balance. Instead, make a couple small, but necessary, charges – like groceries or gas – and pay them off in full every month.

Check your report: Most credit reports have some kind of mistake noted on them. Sometimes, those mistakes could cause you to receive a lower score than you deserve.

Get help: Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. Sometimes, a Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the best solution to overwhelming debt problems. In other cases, a financial counselor or community organization might be able to help you make a plan to make a budget and take control of your finances.

Taking these steps can help you get your credit score back to where you want it to be.

Source: New Jersey Newsroom, “How to Improve Your Credit Score in 5 Steps,” Paul Sisolak, March 23, 2012.

Related Posts: CARD Act helping consumers avoid, understand credit card fees, Stats point to signs of improvement in U.S. credit card debt, Keeping debt solution options in perspective, Can understanding credit cards can help people avoid debt?