It’s common knowledge that having a good or even great credit score is important, but far fewer people know how to get one, or how to keep and maintain it. We all want a great score but it doesn’t happen by accident and it doesn’t happen overnight. It can take time to establish and build your score, but with a couple of simple mistakes all of your hard work could be lost if you’re not careful.
The following are 7 ways to get the credit score you’ve always wanted.
- Be careful of how often you apply.
Every time you apply for a new loan or line of credit, lenders pull your credit report. A small amount of points is taken from your score each time this happens! You get these points back after a year, but continually having your credit ran can keep your score lower.
- Don’t get too many new loans at once.
When you open a new loan or line of credit, you also lose a small amount of points. You get these points back after a year, but just the same as having your credit report ran, opening too many loans and lines of credit at once can drop your score significantly. Try and plan out the loans you might need in the not too distant future (auto loan, personal loan, etc.) and space them out when possible.
- NO late or skipped payments!
By making your payments on time and never missing one, you not only help build your credit and payment history, but you avoid losing massive amount of points. While it’s better to pay more than the minimum, you always want to avoid paying less or not at all each month.
- Keep low credit card balances.
I know, sometimes this is easier said than done. Avoid losing points by never carrying credit card balances that exceed 30% of the total limit of the card. If you do have higher balances, be sure to pay them down and you will see your score increase!
- Use various types of credit.
Part of what makes up your credit score is what type of credit you use. By using various types of credit, including credit cards, personal loans, and auto loans, you can create a diverse credit portfolio which may increase your score. This helps proves to lenders that you can handle different forms of debt.
- We all make mistakes.
Sometimes life throws something our way that we aren’t prepared for. Whether you maxed out a credit card or were late on a payment, don’t get discouraged. It might take extra time for your score to bounce back, but it isn’t the end of the world. Make sure to take steps to pay your balance down or set reminders for when your payments are due. Eventually these little blemishes will fall of your report and your score will rise. If forgetting every month is the main issue, try setting up automatic payments with your lender.
- Request your annual free credit report.
A lot of us might know our score but have never really seen what our credit report looks like. Everyone is entitled to a free credit report once a year. Take advantage of this and make sure that what’s on your report is accurate. Not only does this help you avoid identity theft but can also help you to better identify areas where you might be losing points unnecessarily.
Credit Takes Work, But We Can Help You Get There
The trick to having good credit is knowing how often to use credit, making payments on time, and being sure to use various forms of credit. Whether you are just starting out establishing credit, working to build or repair credit, or trying to maintain the score you already have, these are tips that should everyone should keep in mind. If you aren’t where you want to be, let Dover Federal Credit Union help you get there with a free credit score analysis. To get started, contact Dover Federal today.