Having “bad credit” can cause a lot of problems. It can make it difficult to get a loan, credit card, or even a job. Generally, scoring below 580 on the FICO score is considered having bad credit. Luckily, there are ways to move up.
Here are 3 top ways to improve your low credit score.
Set Up Automatic Bill Payments
Payment history is the largest percentage factor in credit score calculations, so late fees and missed payments can really hurt your score.
One way to make sure you never miss another payment is to set up automatic bill payments with your bank. Automated payments are not just for old people with poor memories in senior housing facilities. They’re for anyone who wants to make sure their bills are paid on time.
Typically, you can set this up through your bank’s online system. If not, try calling customer service or swinging by the bank.
However, keep in mind that not all billers are equipped to accept automated payments. Small businesses, for instance, may not have this capability. In this case, set up a reminder system for yourself with an app or a journal.
Check Your Credit Report for Errors
It’s possible for there to be errors in your credit report. In fact, one in five people reportedly has an error on their reports.
These errors could be dragging down your score needlessly. An error like an incorrect late payment could be preventing you from getting the credit score you deserve.
Luckily, you can order your free annual credit report from each of the three main credit bureaus (Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax) and see for yourself.
What do you do if you catch an error? You can file a dispute with the credit bureau in question and have them investigate the error. If they find that you’re right, they will remove the incorrect information from your report and your score should improve.
Limit Frequent Requests for New Credit
Applications for new credit are called hard inquiries and can temporarily lower your credit score.
When you apply for a new line of credit, the lender will do a hard inquiry on your report to see if you’re a good candidate for the loan or credit card. Too many hard inquiries in a short period can make you look desperate for credit and can lower your score.
To avoid this, only apply for new lines of credit when you really need them. And, if you’re shopping around for an auto loan or mortgage loan, do all your applications within a 14 to 45-day period. This will count as one hard inquiry because the credit bureaus will see that you’re rate shopping.
Improving your credit score is possible. With these tips, you can make it happen. Just remember to be patient.