Whether you know it or not, your credit score affects many aspects of your life. Having poor credit can impact your job search, apartment options, interest rates, and potentially even your cell phone bill. If you work to improve your credit score, you could save money and put yourself in a better financial situation.
If you’ve reviewed your credit score and see room for improvement, there are many ways you can boost your credit score. Here are a few habits you can start today to improve your credit score:
Review Your Credit Report Regularly
According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), 17% of all consumer complaints consisted of inaccuracies on their credit reports. This means that there is a chance your credit report could have inaccuracies as well. This might not sound like a big deal, but errors can substantially impact your score.
This is why it’s extremely important to review your credit report frequently. Reviewing your credit report will also highlight areas that need improvement. For example, maybe you have made a few late payments. Paying your bills on time could help improve your credit score.
Review your report annually. You can find a free copy of your credit report from all major credit bureaus on AnnualCreditReport.com or you can call 1-877-322-8228. If you do find an error on your credit report, you need to report the inaccuracies immediately.
Enroll in Auto Pay
Missing payments can also impact your credit. If you are known for making late payments, it’s time to get this habit under control. If you want to improve your credit score, set up your credit cards and bills for automatic payments.
This takes the stress out of bill pay. You can rest easy knowing that all of your bills will be paid on time and you won’t have to fight with any company for late payment fees.
Setting up auto pay is also a great strategy for your savings. If you want to save money while improving your credit, automate your savings. Your bank account and credit score will thank you.
Sign Up for Payment Alerts
Even if you establish automatic payments on your accounts, you may still want to set up payment alerts. A lot of companies will have this feature on their online dashboard. If they don’t have this feature, you can set up your own alerts using Google Calendar or the calendar on your phone.
You never know when something could happen and your auto payment doesn’t go through. For example, let’s say you get a new debit card but forget to update your card information. Your payment may not go through, causing a late payment penalty. Setting up alerts gives you extra insurance to make sure your bills are paid on time.
Try Making Multiple Payments within a Month
Most automated payments are generally the minimum payment. If you’re working towards paying off your debt, you may want to make multiple payments each month.
If you are not in debt but want to use your credit card, this is a great habit to improve your credit score. By consistently borrowing and repaying your debt, you are demonstrating responsibility. The more positive credit activity you execute, the better your chances are of your credit score improving.
If you can use your credit card responsibly, you may also earn rewards or cash back. Get in the habit of making purchases on your credit card and paying them off right away. If you can’t afford the purchase, forgo the purchase until a different time. Ultimately, this habit will help you improve your credit score and help you better manage your finances.
Use Personal Finance Tools
Budgeting is an important aspect of a healthy financial life. It can also help you improve your credit score by better managing your money. If you struggle to stay within your budget, a personal finance tool may be able to help. Personal finance tools can help you stay on track to hitting your goals and you managing your finances.
Using a personal finance tool daily can help you remain focused. It lets you review where you are and the progress you’ve made. Try apps like Mint or Acorns to help you get back on track to a successful financial future. Improving your credit score will be a direct result of your efforts.
Write Down Your Goal
Whether you need to write your goal on a post-it note or directly on your credit card, write down your goal where you can see it. By making your goals visible, it’s a constant reminder of what you’re working toward.
It’s easy to lose sight of your goals in your daily life. That’s why the more visible they are, the better chances you have of succeeding.
Remove Credit Cards from Your Browser
Who doesn’t love shopping online? It takes the hassle out of going to a store to find what you’re searching for. However, saving your credit information on your favorite websites can create toxic spending habits. These habits can lead to high credit balances and a high credit utilization ratios.
Credit utilization is one of the factors credit agencies use when evaluating your scores. It’s the ratio of your balance to credit limits. Let’s say you have a credit limit of $10,000 and a credit balance of $8,000. You would have a high credit utilization ratio.
So, remove your credit information from your favorite stores. This will give you more time to review your purchases and determine if it’s something you really need. A good rule of thumb is to wait at least 48 hours before you proceed with a purchase. Most of the time, you probably won’t go back and purchase it.
Set a Date With Your Finances
Just like you need to review your credit score, you need to review your entire financial picture. This will help you evaluate different areas that may still need improvement.
A part of having strong financial health, is maintaining high credit scores. By taking care of your finances, you can essentially improving your credit score in the process.
So, take out your calendar, and write down a date where you’re going to sit down and review your finances inside and out.
The Bottom Line
Creating positive habits can help you boost your credit score. Having an excellent credit score can help you save money and better your financial situation. So, start today, and work towards excellent credit scores!