4 Fixes to Boost Your Credit Score Over the Long Haul
Don’t be late for your very important dates. Paying all of your bills on time is essential to a good credit score. Late payments will stay on your report as long as some bankruptcies — seven years. Plus, the later you are with a payment, the more it hurts your score.
How to use it without losing it. A key way to maintain a good score is to minimize how much of your total available credit you use.
Experts say to keep your use of available credit under 30%. “The lower the better,” says Martin Lynch, director of education at Cambridge Credit Counseling.
The easiest way to improve your utilization ratio is to have a record of on-time payments. Your bank may offer you a higher credit limit because of this, which will improve your credit score.
Mix it up. Your credit mix shows lenders you can manage different types of loans. This makes up 10% of your credit score. But don’t open many lines of credit at once. Lynch says to limit opening a new line of credit to only one or two times in a year. You can let your record of on-time payments build for eight to 10 months and then apply for a different type of credit to diversify your credit report.
Are you and your credit old friends? The length of your credit history counts for 15% of your FICO score and is a factor that may come as a surprise to some people, according to Lynch. So, think twice before closing an old credit account because of a high interest rate.
To make sure your credit steadily improves, be sure to turn to page 122 of The Fixed Income Answer Book for Seniors to learn how to spot the signs of fraud and identity theft!
- FC&A Staff Writer