One of the biggest financial goals most Americans make revolve around improving their credit scores. Whether we get ourselves into trouble during our early years as an adult, or we’re determined to one day buy that dream home in the suburbs, there may come a time when we decide to buckle down and figure this out.
If you want to do anything in your adult life, one of the key factors of success is having a decent score. Need a loan? To get that apartment? To finance a vehicle? Even a lot of employers will pull your credit score to determine your worthiness for hire. So, here are 5 ways you can help improve your credit score in 2018.
1) Use Cash More Often
We all know that the best way to improve your credit score is to lower your debt balance. The problem is, every time you use your credit card, it changes your credit utilization. In layman’s terms, the more credit you use, the more it impacts your credit score. The goal should be to keep your balance as low as possible.
To keep your balance low, try to pay for items with cash. It always pays in the long run if you can use cash instead of credit. You save money in the long run and it helps stabilize your balance. Of course, if you don’t have to make the purchase itself, use that money to pay more of your balance down. That’s a great way to improve your score.
2) Don’t Be Afraid of Talking to Your Creditors
If you find yourself in a bit of trouble, don’t be afraid to talk to the people who can help you! You might be quite surprised to find out that most of these companies have programs designed to help with those who find themselves dealing with a hardship. You won’t know unless you call them and try to work something out.
3) Pay Off Your Debt
Of course, you knew this was coming! You won’t get anywhere unless you start paying down some of the debt you’ve incurred. Current debt accounts for about 30% of your credit score, so if you have a lot of it, you’re going to struggle to maintain your numbers. Credit reports love it when you actively pay off your debts. That’s much better than defaulting!
4) Be Patient and Follow the Process
Improving your score is going to take a lot of planning and months (even years) or following that plan to reach your goals. The amount of time it takes really depends on your debt and what you owe to your creditors. Since you can’t pay it all off immediately, take your time. Every little bit helps and will nudge that score up little by little.
5) Dispute Errors
Don’t always take your credit score as 100% accurate. There are a lot of people who end up with hits against their score that were wrongfully applied to them. If your credit report doesn’t look accurate, you have every right to dispute it. It can be something as simple as an inaccurate late payment claim that can drop your score as much as 110 points!
It’s quite possible to improve your credit score this year. By taking these five steps, you’re well on your way to improving life for you and your family and easing the anxiety and frustration that comes with being in debt to your creditors.