The New Year’s season is, invariably, resolution time and you can’t help but take part. Maybe you’ve resolved to lose weight, get a new job, go back to school, or take that dream vacation you’ve always talked about. No matter your resolution, now’s the time when you focus on bettering yourself, and yet, you may be missing out on one of the most influential ways to improve your life – strengthening your financial health by raising your credit score.
Your credit score is more than just a tool to help you secure a loan. It can be a money saver and a window into your credit behaviors. A better score could mean you’ll pay less in interest, and that leaves you more money to go back to school, take that vacation or keep any other New Year’s resolutions you may have made.
To start improving your credit score today, follow these tips from VantageScore Solutions.
Be vigilant about your credit card balance. Credit cards make purchasing things easy, but too much debt on your credit cards can hurt your credit score. A balance of 30 percent of your limit or less is optimal, and you should try to pay off your balance in full every single month if you can.
Know where you stand. In order to truly improve your credit score, you must first know where you stand. The VantageScore 4.0 credit scoring model offers predictive performance lift across all credit industries and can help you recognize where your credit score is and how you can improve it. The Score, VantageScore’s monthly newsletter, can also be a helpful resource where you can learn more about how credit scoring works, what you can do to improve your score and how to correct possible errors in your score. Exploring your options here can be a real benefit.
Be mindful when you apply. Be sure to shop around for the best deal but do so within a two-week timeframe. Credit scoring models allow multiple credit inquiries without damaging your credit score, but that allowance lasts only for a brief time. This means you should try to do all of your loan shopping in one consolidated period rather than spread out to prevent additional hits to your credit score.
Older accounts can be a benefit. If you are thinking about closing down a credit card account, be aware that most credit score models take into account the length of your credit history. So if that card is one of your older credit cards, you should consider the impact to your credit score before closing it down.
Pay your bills on time, every time. Yes, one of the most effective things you can do to raise your credit score is also one of the easiest: Just pay your bills on time. Every late payment or missed payment you make can lower your credit score significantly, but if you pay your bills on time, you’ll show you have a history of responsible credit use, which should help your score in the months and years ahead.
Take control of your credit score today. When it comes to finances, your credit score is a vital component. That’s why it’s important to not only know your credit score but to take steps to improve it whenever possible.
Improving your credit score can be a process, but if you stick to it and are mindful of the choices you make, your financial future in 2018 will look all the brighter.