YOUR credit score is key when applying for a credit card or mortgage — but knowing how to improve it can be difficult.
Sometimes referred to as a credit score, the score determines your creditworthiness to lenders and whether you are a “risky” borrower.
If you have bad credit, banks may refuse to lend you cash – or you may be offered a worse interest rate or deal than advertised.
To help, The Sun spoke to Rod Griffin, Senior Director of Public Education and Advocacy at Experian.
Mr. Griffin leads Experian’s educational programs and works with consumer advocates and financial educators.
Experian is one of the largest consumer credit reporting agencies.
1. Check your credit report
Mr Griffin advised consumers to check their credit report every month, know what’s on it and understand the risk factors.
“Knowing what your credit report says isn’t just about getting a credit card or getting a loan, it’s about any other financial transaction,” he said.
“It can help to rent an apartment and get a reduced security deposit.
“It helps get the phone we all want.”
2. Add the regular payments you make to your credit report
Through Experian’s tool, Experian Boost, you can receive credit for any payments you make.
You can add payments for cell phones, utilities, and even streaming services.
The positive payments increase your credit rating.
“We’re seeing an average increase of about 12 to 13 points,” Mr. Griffin said.
People with low credit scores or thin credit records see an average increase of about 19 points.
3. Check for identity theft
You should also make sure you check your transaction history for anything that seems odd, Mr Griffin advised.
This goes hand in hand with checking your credit history – one should help the other.
4. Set up automatic payments
You don’t want late payments on your credit report.
Late means a full accounting period, which is the full 30 days, Mr. Griffin explained.
“If your due date is today but you pay it tomorrow, Experian won’t be reported,” he said.
“But if your due date is this time today and next month, you still haven’t paid it, then it would be reported as late.”
5. Keep credit card balances as low as possible
This keeps your credit utilization low, which is a risk factor for your credit report.
The credit utilization ratio is one of the key factors that credit bureaus and lenders look at.
Using more than 30% of your available balance can lower your score, but some experts still recommend keeping it lower, below 10%.
6. Be careful about closing accounts
This also applies to your credit utilization.
As Mr. Griffin explained: “When you close an account, you lose the available credit limit, so the balances on your other credit cards are now a larger percentage of your available credit limit.
“This will cause your credit rating to go down.”
7. Beware of credit repair companies
In general, stay away from all quick fixes when it comes to your credit score.
know your rights
It is against federal law for someone to pay to have accurate information removed from their credit report.
If you see offers claiming to offer this service, they are malicious.
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https://www.the-sun.com/money/4974757/how-boost-credit-score-tips/ I’m a credit expert – follow my seven tips to improve your credit score