If you have a parent, sibling, spouse, or close friend who has a good credit score and is willing to cosign on a loan with you, this can help you increase your credit score. Some lenders, like U-fi, will let you release cosigners after a certain number of on-time monthly payments (that’s 24, in the case of U-fi). But there are plenty of things you can – and should – do on your own, too. We’ve got 10 of them here.
- Review Your Credit Report – You’re allowed one free credit report each year from the three credit reporting agencies (find them at annualcreditreport.com). If you find inaccurate information on one of your reports, it may be wrong with all three credit reporting agencies. In order to improve your credit score, notify all reporting agencies to have them correct any inaccurate amounts, invalid accounts, or mistaken late payments that adversely affect you.
- Use Payment Reminders – Set up reminders or use auto-pay to make sure you don’t have late payments. Timely payments are one of the best ways you can improve your credit.
- Pay Multiple Times in a Billing Cycle – If you can afford to pay down your bills twice a month rather than once a month, this improves your credit score by lowering your credit utilization (the percentage of your available credit used during a billing cycle). Keeping your balance low on credit cards and making regular payments are key in boosting your credit score.
- Fix Late Payments – Ask for forgiveness for a late payment if you have a valid excuse (e.g., you were out of the country, a check got lost, etc.). If you don’t have a history of many late payments, your creditor may forgive a late payment if you ask.
- Keep Unused Credit Card Accounts Open – The longer your credit age (the length of good history your credit accounts show), the more positive the impact on your score. If you have to close some of your accounts, close newer accounts rather than those you’ve had open longer.
- Limit Applications for New Credit – If you apply for multiple new accounts in a short amount of time, it decreases your credit score.
- Contact Creditors for Help – If you can’t afford a monthly bill, quickly contact your creditor for help setting up a payment plan so that you can reduce the negative effects of late payments.
- First Pay Down Maxed Out Cards – If one of your credit cards is at or near the credit limit, pay down that credit card balance first before paying down other balances. The goal is to never borrow more than 30% of your available credit on a card to build a positive history.
- Don’t Pay On Charged Off Debts – If a creditor has charged off your debt, meaning they no longer expect payments from you, don’t make a payment on that account. It will reactivate your debt and hurt your credit score.
- Avoid Using Credit Repair Companies – These companies often promise quick fixes when what they large do is help you correct inaccurate information on your credit reports (something you can do for yourself at no charge!). There are many scams that prey on people in debt.
Know what helps or hurts your credit, take the steps you need to build your credit – and put your hard-earned cash toward paying off your debt.
Your credit score impacts your ability to get student loans, credit cards, a vehicle, job, apartment, or home. A cosigner can help you qualify for lower interest rates, but if you don’t have one, we have tips to help you establish and boost your credit score. That’s what U-fi is here for. Get started with U-fi today.