How to improve your credit score

November 18, 2008 8:24:32 AM PST
Getting a loan these days is more difficult than ever. But the biggest factor determining whether you get that loan or not is your credit score.

Credit standards these days are a lot tougher. Kelli Grant is with Smartmoney.com and Good Housekeeping.

"About two years ago, you could have had a score of about 620 or so to get a lender's best rate on something. Now, lenders are really looking at a rate of 760 at the least," said Kelli Grant, Smartmoney.com.

Getting your credit score is easy, but you'll have to pay about $15 for Go to www.myfico.com and order a score from any of the three credit bureaus.

You can get a free credit report at AnnualCreditReport.com. But, but the free report will not include a score.

"I took a look at my credit score and I wasn't happy with the number. So I closed some of my accounts to reduce my outstanding credit limits, and that brought my score up," said Harly Golub, Raised Her Credit Score.

You can raise your score by trying to pay off more on your credit cards than you have been. Also pay attention to due dates.

"Paying your bills on time: that is the most important thing you can do; one late payment is really going to trash your score by about 100 points or more," said Kelli Grant, Smartmoney.com.

And finally, good housekeeping suggests don't pay only with cash.

"You can't just go to a cash only basis and expect your score to improve. They need to see good borrowing behavior for you to see a major improvement in your score," said Kelli Grant, Smartmoney.com.

That advise only works for people who pay off their credit balances or keep them low. Otherwise, paying everything with a credit card can backfire.


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