Part 7: Raising Your Credit Score
Let’s say you want to buy a house but your credit score is somewhere around 675 instead of 720 which will get you the best rate on a home loan. If you want to raise your credit score quickly, there are some steps you can take that can guarantee a great home loan or any other credit line for that matter.
The mantra for getting a great score is pay your bills on time, keep account balances low, and take out new credit only when you need it. People who do that faithfully have very high scores. It usually means you're being conservative and cautious about credit.
It's not a toy and it shouldn't be a hobby.
That's good advice, to be sure, but these actions take a long time. What if you're house hunting and you just need a few extra points to bump you over the line to the great rates? As we’ve said before, the first place to start is with your credit report. Check it over and find out what your credit score is right now.
You will want to concentrate mostly on correcting any errors by taking the steps we’ve outlined above. Look for errors such as accounts that aren't yours, late payments that were actually paid on time, debts you paid off that are shown as outstanding, or old debts that shouldn't be reported any longer. Negatives are supposed to be deleted after seven years, with the exception of bankruptcies, which can stay for as long as 10 years.
After repairing errors, the fastest route to a better score is paying down balances on credit cards. There's really no silver bullet, but over 60 day’s time, it is possible to increase your score 20 points by paying down your credit lines.
Had a few late payments in your past? If you find yourself in some financial difficulties, you can protect your score by making sure your payments don't go 60 days past due. Some lenders don't report 30 days past due, but they all report 60 days past due.
Even if you've paid your bills late in the past, you can improve your credit score by paying every bill on time from now on. Forget about grace periods. If you want to have a really good record with the credit agencies, pay your debt before it's due and keep your balances low.
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