Your credit score uses your credit history to measure your ability to make timely payments and manage debts. It looks at your past and present spending habits to determine the likelihood that you’ll pay back loans or other expenditures in the future. A low score may prevent make it more difficult to buy a car or a home. It may even affect your ability to get a job. So, how can you raise your credit score quickly?

1. Pay your bills on time

It sounds simple, but many people miss their due dates for loan payments and other bills. Paying a few days late may seem harmless, but a pattern of late payments will be reflected in your credit score. Consider setting calendar reminders or using automatic withdrawals to pay all your bills on time.

2. Get a credit card/pay down credit card balances

Start with small purchases until you’re comfortable using your credit card more often. The significance of building credit by using and paying off your credit card on time can’t be overstated when it comes to your credit score.

However, if you already have credit card debt, to raise your credit score, you must reduce that debt if the ratio is high.

3. Keep old debt on your credit report

Unsatisfactory accounts are never good for your credit score, but it’s misguided to think that all prior debt is as well. If you have debt that spans many years, but you’ve paid it consistently, it can be a real boost to your credit score.

Also keep your credit card accounts open for as long as possible. If you stop using your credit cards, the accounts may not be reported to the credit bureaus. A good rule of thumb is to use the card once every few months for a reasonable purchase that you know you can pay off in one or two payments.

4. Request a higher credit limit

Calling your credit card company and asking for a credit limit increase is a financial slam-dunk. This tactic is effective because it lowers your credit utilization ratio (your total credit card balances divided by your total credit card limits), which has a big impact on your credit score. Raising your limit while moderately spending shows you utilize little of your credit, which is beneficial to you and can boost your score in a big way.

Now that you know how to boost your credit score check out the 7 Essential Things You Need to Know about credit.

Ditech is not a financial advisor and the ideas outlined above are for informational purposes only. They are not intended as investment or financial advice and should not be construed as such. Consult a financial advisor before making decisions regarding important personal financial matters, and consult a tax advisor regarding the deductibility of interest and tax implications.

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