Five Ways to Boost Your Credit Score

Whether you’re renting or buying, your credit score is significant. It is important for you to responsibly manage your debt levels and maintain good credit reports so that you are more attractive to leasing agents and mortgage lenders. Bath State Bank suggests the following tips to improve your credit score:

  1. Request a copy of your credit score report – and make sure it is correct. Your credit report illustrates your credit performance, and it needs to be accurate so that you can apply for other loans – such as a mortgage. Everyone is entitled to receive a free copy of his or her credit report annually from each of the three credit reporting agencies, but you must go through the Federal Trade Commission’s web site at www.annualcreditreport.com, or call 1-877-322-8228.  Note that you may have to pay for the numerical credit score itself.
  2. Set up automatic bill pay.  Payment history makes up 32 percent of your VantageScore credit score and 35 percent of your FICO credit score. The longer you pay your bills on time, the better your score.  Avoid missed payments by setting as many of your bills to automatic pay as possible.
  3. Build credit through renting if you do not own your home. VantageScore’s scoring model, created by the three major credit bureaus, will now weigh rent and utility payment records.
  4. Keep balances low on credit cards and ‘revolving credit.’ Racking up big balances can hurt your scores, regardless of whether you pay your bills in full each month. You often can increase your scores by limiting your charges to 30 percent or less of a card's limit.
  5. Apply for and open new credit accounts only as needed. Keep this in mind the next time a retailer offers you 10 percent off if you open an account. However, if you need a new line of credit, don’t jump at the first appealing offer; compare rates and fees.