5 Lesser-Known Ways to Boost Your Credit Score

×

5 lesser-known ways to boost your credit scoreIf you think your credit score doesn't matter too much because you're not planning on getting a mortgage anytime soon, think again. Credit scores affect many aspects of our lives -- more than you may think. That's why it's important to keep your score as high as possible.

Paying bills on time and staying well below your credit limits are sure-fire ways to build and maintain good credit. But there are some lesser-known strategies to boost your score as well.

Fix clerical errors: Check your credit reports and correct errors. For example, it can make a big difference to your score if your credit limit for a card is understated. Imagine that you owe $5,000 and your limit is $15,000. That means you owe 33% of your limit. If your limit is incorrectly listed as $8,000, though, it will look like you've borrowed 63% of your limit.

Get credit where it's due: When you fix errors or take actions that should boost your score, make sure that all three main credit-reporting agencies know about it. By law, you can get a free copy of your credit report from each of them once a year -- do so, in order to spot errors and find other score-boosting opportunities.

Ask nicely for a favor: One gambit few people think of is simply asking for what you want. In order to help you pay down your debt more quickly, you might ask your lender to lower your interest rate. If the lender refuses, see if you can find a lower-rate card to transfer that debt to. If you've got one or two glaring late payments on your credit record, you might ask your lender if they could be erased, in a "goodwill deletion." Lenders are likely to be especially responsive to their best customers. And if you're dealing with a collection agency over some debt, see whether they'll delete it from your record if you pay it off. That can be well worth it.

Don't delete your history: If you're planning on closing some of your accounts, think twice. It's often a sensible thing to do, to simplify your financial life, but closing an account can actually ding your credit score. Oddly enough, a host of seemingly sensible moves can hurt it -- such as using just one card for most of your charges.

Prevent bad marks from being added to your report: Here's a valuable tip for anyone selling a home for less than they owe on it: What you're looking at is called a "short sale," and if you end up owing many thousands of dollars to your mortgage lender, you might get it in writing before the sale closes that the debt won't go on your record. Ending up with a big balance owed can be a black mark on your record -- reportedly as costly as a foreclosure.

If a high credit score is important to you -- and for most of us it should be -- always consider how your financial actions will affect your score.

Selena Maranjian is a Motley Fool contributing writer.


Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

Intro to different retirement accounts

What does it mean to have a 401(k)? IRA?

View Course »

Goal Setting

Want to succeed? Then you need goals!

View Course »

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum

19 Comments

Filter by:
Baby

I am a tall girl, yesterday I joined a club -- Tal l h u b. С'⊙M -- where I could chat with many hot ta ll guys. Come on, join us, find me here and discuss love with us.

January 03 2012 at 10:11 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply
Nhjymjhmk

Wow, My best fríènd ,she just has annóuncéd hér wēddīng wīth a rich mān who is a cèlèbrìty !They mèt via~~~~SéêkSúɡárDαd.Сσм ~~~~ ..it is the lārgēst and bēst clúb for rich man with yung and beautiful woman and theìr àdmirèrs to chát ōnlìnè. …You do nǒt hávè to bê rīch ór fāmóùs. ,bùt yōu cān meēt yóùr trùē lòvê , It’s wòrthy ǎ try!ou always ideally want to pay off your entire balance each month, if you do not have the cash to buy, do not use a credit card. However, paying more than the minimum does not show up on credit report, it will only state "pays on time".

December 26 2011 at 11:08 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mike

Fed res dollar printing has increased to keep up with US treasury's need for them as debt buyer of last resort. Euro is doing same for their debt but doesn't hold the luxury as world's res currency. Fed exports it's inflation to the world euro can't & WILL hypor inflate to ZERO. Europ will run to the dollar as others trade for gld/slvr. Even with small demand increase gld/slvr price rise outside the fed's ability to keep suprpressed & dollar will start its final fall, world WILL panic & gld/slvr will BE only reserve currency. World fiat monotary system is collapsing & we face deep depression. Got Gold? China & India does, why's that you figure?

December 25 2011 at 4:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
nos2001

A BETTER TIP THEY LOOK AT... ALWAYS PAY MORE THAN THE MINIMUM.

December 16 2011 at 10:08 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to nos2001's comment
Meredith

You always ideally want to pay off your entire balance each month, if you do not have the cash to buy, do not use a credit card. However, paying more than the minimum does not show up on credit report, it will only state "pays on time".

December 16 2011 at 1:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Idjit

When a "host of seemingly sensible moves" can hurt your score it points to the fact that the scoring model needs a lot of work. Anyone willing to get a class action going?

December 16 2011 at 9:20 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
nigelst.pierre

What a stupid article! These are all common sense ways to boost credit, "Don't get in debt!" "Don't close your bank accounts!" "Pay you bills on time!"

How about you actually tell me ways to boost my credit..... what actions should someone with no established credit or low credit do to raise it?

December 15 2011 at 3:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to nigelst.pierre's comment
Meredith

You boost your credit by:
-having low blance to available credit ratios.
-by raising your available credit(using your card often, no late pays, longevity with cc co).
-get credit for a car, different than cc credit, boosts score
-a mortgage over time will bring your score up high.
-most of it is just time, the longer you are with the creditor the higher your score will go.
-do not do anything to lower your score, it takes 10x as long for a score to go up compared to going down

December 16 2011 at 1:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Larry brown

I was Feeling out the application. I'm a AARP member since 2001 and all I wanted is some information on your insurance for your Auto please write back soon

December 15 2011 at 2:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Larry brown's comment
nos2001

WE DROPPED AARP MANY YEARS AGO.. THEY SUPPORT SENIORS AS WELL AS NACCP SUPPORTS BLACKS. BOTH ARE ALL ABOUT THE BUCKS NOT THEIR MEMBERS... THE LAST STRAW WAS WHEN THEY SUPPORTED OBAMACARE. HOW ABOUT THE FACT OBAMA TOOK 600 MILLION OUT OF MEDICARE TO MAKE OBAMACARE LOOK LESS COSTLY.

December 16 2011 at 10:06 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Meredith

injo423

When you dispute something on your credit report in writing to the credit bureaus(CB), by law the credit bureaus have to contact the creditors and the creditors MUST repsond within a certain amount of time in writing( I think it is 30 days). Sometimes, you can wear them down by sheer persistence. Go online to one of the 3 bureaus, start a dispute, most likley within a couple months you will get a response from the CB stating that the creditor has verified the charge and that it will remain on your report. NOTE: verifying is NOT proving it simply means the creditor has responded in writing that the debt is valid, that is all they say. Although their repsonse is brief, it costs money, time, manpower to respond to disputes
Just go right back online and dispute the charge again, and again ,again the creditor will have to respond, eventually after a few times, most creditors just stop responding. I had some stuff on my report that belonged to me and some that did not, I disputed it all, over and over for about 6 months, eventually I received notification from the CB that the negative credit info would be removed from my report because of the credito'rs failure to respond.

December 15 2011 at 12:16 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
tms36

While IM a cash only person I made the mistake of paying off all my credit cards several years ago, sold my home and currently lease. Results , A No-Credit rating which means no credit. This is what this country has come too. Debt free but you are consideered a credit risk, have several credit cards with balances, car payments a home loan [maybe underwater] and you are considered credit worthy. I could care less, but just warning you what can happen if you pay off your credit cards in this great welfare society.

December 15 2011 at 11:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to tms36's comment
vlady1000

Yep, banks make no sense at times on many things. They really do have a hard time understanding high risk and low risk. The biggest reason we are were we are now...a shame.

December 16 2011 at 12:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
cctgos

iinjo423 First you have to buy a elected official then they help

December 15 2011 at 11:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply