Your credit score

Your credit score is important. Most people know that it influences your chances of getting a loan or a credit card – and how much interest you’ll pay if you’re approved. But did you know that your credit score can even affect things like your insurance premiums, your ability to get a job and your chances of being approved to rent a home?

If your credit score needs a boost, try some of these simple strategies:

  • Always make your loan and credit card payments on time. And pay medical bills, utility bills, parking tickets and other bills before they go to collections.
  • Maintain low balances on your credit accounts and work to pay off debts to decrease your credit utilization ratio (the percentage of your available credit that you’re using).
  • Be selective about requesting new credit. Don’t apply for and/or open too many new credit/loan accounts or request too many credit limit increases on existing accounts.
  • Don’t just have one type of credit. Your mix of account types (credit cards and different types of loans) affects your score.
  • Building up a longer credit history can naturally help your score over time, provided you are using credit responsibly.

And make sure to take advantage of your right to get a free credit report from each of the three major agencies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) every 12 months! The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) specifically recommends obtaining your credit report from AnnualCreditReport.com. The CFPB also suggests requesting each agency’s report at a different time during the year so you can keep tabs on your credit year-round instead of just once a year. If you see any inaccuracies, be sure to dispute them with the agency.


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