Want to raise your credit score to excellent? Increasing your credit score as high as you can is a smart financial move. Your credit score opens up opportunities for increased financial freedom! It determines how much credit you receive for major purchases in life, like a home or car. More importantly, a higher score gives you lower interest rates, which saves you a lot of money over time!
Read on to learn how to make your credit score the best it can be.
Never Miss A Payment
Payment history is one factor that makes up your credit score. Even one late payment could lower your score, so you should aim to make your payments on time 98-100% of the time. Remember, derogatory marks like a past-due bill can stay on your credit record for 7-10 years.
To make sure you never miss a payment, set up automatic payments. Set the automatic transaction for the day after your payday. That way, there is always money in your account to make the payments.
Work Towards A Low Credit Card Utilization Rate
Credit card utilization looks at the amount of credit you have spent versus your credit limit. To raise your credit score to excellent, aim to utilize as little of your credit as possible, less than 10%.
The first thing to low credit card utilization is to keep your balances low. Do not carry large balances on your credit cards.
The next thing to do is increase the amount of credit that you have. Always keep credit cards that you do not use because that gives you unutilized credit. You could open a new credit card, but it will hurt your score by lowering your average age of credit.
Two methods of increasing your credit without changing your spending habits or lowering your average credit age are to 1. Apply for a credit limit increase, and 2. Become an authorized user.
Always apply for more credit on your cards when you are able because this will lower your utilization percentage without lowering your spending habits. Becoming an authorized user is also a way to do this, so ask your loved ones if you can become an authorized user on one of their cards.
Want to learn more about good financial health? Read 8 Powerful Financial Moves for Women.
Maximize the Number & Age of Your Credit Accounts
The number and age of your credit accounts are additional critical factors to having an excellent credit score. Lenders like to see that you have responsibly handled multiple accounts and for a long time. Those with an excellent credit score have at least 11 different accounts and have a record of credit of at least 7 years.
College loans, car loans, home loans, and credit cards can help you show a mix of accounts. If you took out loans for college, you likely already meet the number of accounts criteria. Your credit age is simply something that comes with time, but make sure to hold on to those older lines of credit as long as possible. Slowly pay off your oldest college loan and always keep your oldest credit card active.
Becoming an authorized user on someone else’s credit card will also help with this. Be strategic and become an authorized user on a card that will provide an older age of credit history than what you currently have.
Keep A Tight Leash on Hard Inquiries to Your Credit
Lastly, limit hard inquiries (also called hard pulls) on your credit report. Hard inquiries happen when you apply for credit, such as for a credit card or a loan. You want to keep hard inquiries on your record to two or fewer to keep an excellent score. They stay on your record for up to 2 years, so plan ahead for when you will apply for certain loans so that you can limit yourself to a couple of applications every 2 years.