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Personal Finance

Improving Credit Score in Four Simple Steps

Sep 10, 2015 01:31 AM EDT

Credit score health is as important as one's reputation. Building a good credit score takes years, but it only takes an instant to destroy it, hence the comparison. The health of one's credit score lies on how someone has been responsible with his or her finances.

According to CNBC, consumers are getting better credit grades these days. More and more people have finally learned how to take control of their finances and credit scores are finally improving on a national level. FICO scores are on its highest level and that's an encouraging trend, especially because credit scores are determinants that help lender decide the rates to offer on credit cards, loans, insurance, and mortgages.

To improve one's credit, there are four things that need to be done. First, one must check his or her credit report. This will cost nothing. The report will reflect late payments and unpaid debts.

Second, one must get his or her free credit score. This can be done by checking the bank or credit card issuers and find out if they provide access to FICO accounts. According to Forbes, it's essential to get the credit score information as it helps avoid costing more money and helps the card holder become more informed regarding his or her credit.

Third step would be to pay on time. The bulk of the credit grade comes from one's faithfulness to pay and this is reflected on the payment history. About 35% of a person's overall credit score comes from his or her payment history so if it reflects that they pay on time, they will have a better score. Other than paying on time Investopedia suggests it's also important to pay every fee connected to the credit card no matter how trivial it is (e.g. library fine, traffic ticket, etc.). These things may be minor but if the other party is offended, they have the power to escalate the issue to a collection agency, which of course puts the cardholder in a bad light. 

Finally, get professional help. Whether or not a person has a good credit score, it's always a good idea to get guidance from the professionals. There are non-profit credit counselling agencies that can give the best advice on how to get out of debt, how to improve grade, or how to efficiently manage finances. A study from the Ohio State University has revealed that those who participated in programs offered by credit counselling companies have improved their credit score by 20 percent on average.

Although it may seem like it's a long shot, improving a credit score now proves to be beneficial especially in the long run when one is looking to buy a new home.

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