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10 Steps to Boosting Your Credit Score

Cosigning/ Finances | By Dave Bowman

There are plenty of things you can – and should – consider doing to improve your credit score. We’ve got 10 of them here.

  1. Review Your Credit Report – You’re allowed one free credit report each year from the three consumer reporting agencies (find them at annualcreditreport.com). If you find inaccurate information on one of your reports, it may be wrong with all three 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.
  2. Use Payment Reminders – Timely payments are one of the best ways you can improve your credit. Set up reminders or use automatic payments to make sure you don’t have late payments.
  3. Make Extra Payments – 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.
  4. Get a Cosigner – 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 From Nelnet, will let you release cosigners after a certain number of on time monthly payments (that’s 24, in the case of U-fi From Nelnet).
  5. 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.
  6. Limit Applications for New Credit – If you apply for multiple new accounts in a short amount of time, it decreases your credit score.
  7. Contact Creditors for Help – If you can’t afford a monthly bill, quickly contact your creditor to see if setting up a payment plan is an option. This could reduce the negative effects of late payments on your credit, helping to protect your credit score.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Avoid Using Credit Repair Companies – These companies often promise quick fixes when what they largely 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. We have tips to help you establish and boost your credit score. That’s what we are here for. Get started with U-fi From Nelnet today.

Written By:

Dave Bowman is the Regional Director for U-fi From Nelnet and is expertly skilled in many aspects of financial aid, student loans, and financial management. Dave holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and has worked in a number of areas in higher education finance, including positions for banks, guarantee agencies and loan servicers. Dave has spoken at numerous colleges, universities, and financial aid conferences all across the United States.

View all posts by Dave Bowman