With the rise of the internet, it’s never been easier to find information on just about anything you have a curiosity about. There’s lots of information available when it comes to boosting your credit score, plenty of common solutions such as making on-time payments and not using more than about 20 percent of your credit limit, but there are several uncommon ways you can continue to fix your credit without resorting to drastic measures.
Don’t Forget Small Errors on Your Credit Report
While disputing accounts you don’t have and incorrect credit limits, make sure you look out for small mistakes on your credit report. For instance, if your credit card issuer noted you had a higher credit limit than it truly was a few months ago, dispute it. Speak out on any credit pulls you didn’t authorize and incorrect dates. No matter how seemingly inconsequential the issue might be, that small detail can earn you big points on your credit score. As long as your claim is valid, it has to be looked into.
Consider Becoming an Authorized User
If a family member or friend has a solid credit score and good credit-use habits, ask if she or he would be willing to make you an authorized user. How this works is you receive an authorized credit card on your family member or friend’s account, but the card is in your name. Becoming an authorized user extends the overall credit history on your own file, which can boost your score. One word of caution: bear in mind that your credit practices impact the primary holder just as the primary holder’s practices impact you. No one should be tied to an account with a high bill or a card that’s in delinquency.
Pay Your Credit Card Bills According to the Closing Date
Rather than scheduling your credit card payments according to the due date, it’s better to do so according to the closing date. The closing date is the day your credit card balance is reported to credit card bureaus. Even if your latest payment was enough to knock down your credit utilization percentage by one number, it won’t be reported as such to credit card bureaus that month if you made your payment after the closing date but before the due date. Reach out to your credit issuer and ask about your closing date so you can boost your credit score and lower your utilization ratio at the same time.
Report Rent Payments to Credit Card Bureaus
Depending on where you live, you can improve your credit score simply by paying your rent. Every successful rent payment adds to your credit history, which could be a great way to improve your credit score if you don’t like using credit cards. If you don’t mind using credit cards, you can pay your rent with a card to show activity on your accounts. The best way to do this is to use your credit card to pay rent a few months out of the year and immediately take care of that amount with the funds you normally use to pay rent each month. This boosts your credit score without boosting your credit utilization percentage or interest payments.
Open New Accounts When the Time Is Right
You may not need a new credit card, but maybe you do need to increase your credit score. Because your credit utilization plays such a huge part in your credit score, you can increase your available credit by opening a new account with a generous limit. While the hard inquiry required to open a new account might ding your credit score a few points, it could be offset by an increase in your score. Just make sure you don’t increase your spending anymore once your new account is open. This tip is most useful when you don’t see yourself applying for a loan or financing for at least six months. What kind of credit card should you look into in this case? A gas or store card is always a solid bet, just make sure you try your best to pay off the card balances in full before the closing date discussed above.
Look for Additional Credit Lines to Add to Your Report
You might have several opportunities to boost your credit that you’re missing out on simply because you don’t know about them. Get in touch with your cell phone or home telephone service provider, internet provider and utility company to see if they can report your payments to credit bureaus. Because these companies don’t have to report your payments, make sure you’re nice and respectful in your inquiry; they’re doing you a favor.
Take Care of High Balances First
If you have multiple credit cards, resist the temptation to pay off the smaller balances first and instead focus on paying off the card with the highest balance. This is because that high balance is doing an equally high amount of damage to your credit score. Pay the minimum on all your cards, and any extra money you have left should be devoted to the card on which you owe the most. In addition to the high balance, you also have to think about how much more that card is costing you every month in interest, even if the interest rate on that particular card isn’t that high.
Raise Your Credit Limits
Even if you’re perfectly content with your current credit limit, you’re likely to be even more content when a higher credit limit results in a higher credit score. If you’ve had your card for a while, have made all your payments on time and have a good score, ask your card issuer if you can raise your limit by $2,000 or so. To make the most of this tip, it’s best to pretend your credit limit hasn’t changed so you don’t run the risk of increasing your utilization percentage, which is likely to kill your score. Another reason to raise your limits is so you have more financial resources to tap into should you ever encounter a financial emergency down the road.
With a little digging and a few of the right questions, you can have an easier time of boosting your credit score. Put these tips to use yourself to see how well they work for you.
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