Your credit score controls a huge amount of your financial well-being. From the rates you’re offered on loans, to the amount you’re able to borrow for a house, your credit score is paramount to succeeding in life. It’s almost impossible to get a perfect credit score, but it is very possible to get a near perfect credit score.
Here are some key tips to help you along the way:
Whether you’re trying to buy a house, a car, or just get a better credit card, your credit score will mean the difference between success and failure. For that reason, it’s incredibly important to understand credit scores, and actively manage your financial life to optimize your credit score.
A perfect credit score is 850, according to Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion (the three credit reporting agencies). That score is designed to be virtually impossible to hit. Some people get obsessed with trying to get the perfect credit score – some succeed, and most fail. It’s not important to worry about having a perfect 850, but you do want to get as close to a perfect credit score as possible.
Here are some tips to get your credit score as close to perfect as possible, in as little time as possible:
1. On-Time Payments
- Set your credit cards to automatically pay in full each month. That will ensure on time payments, and keep you honest about your spending. It’ll also help with credit utilization (see below).
- Set your cell phone bill, utilities, mortgage and car loans to auto-pay each month if possible. Doing this extra step one time will ensure that you don’t ever miss a payment on accident. It’ll also save you on late payment fees, and postage.
- If you ever have a late payment, call the company to see if they’ll waive the late payment fee and not report it to the credit agencies. If you have a good payment history, often they’ll understand the mistake and help you out.
- Never allow an account to be sent to collections – this is when the company has stopped trying to collect the payment and has actually sold your payment obligation to another company. This is called “bad debt” and it’s death to your credit score.
- Everyone has messed up and forgotten to pay a bill. The important thing is to fix the problem and maintain a good payment history. If you need to fix your credit due to missed payments or collections, consider visiting Curadebt for a free consultation.
2. Credit Utilization
- Never spend beyond your means, and set your credit cards to auto-pay in full each month. That way you’re establishing credit history but keeping your credit utilization very low.
- Regularly request increased credit limits on your cards. Most companies make this very easy – just log onto your credit card account and request a higher limit. Usually, credit card companies will do this for your automatically without running your credit again. Sometimes its a small amount, and other times it can be thousands of dollars of extra available credit
3. Age of Accounts
They say the best time to plant a tree is yesterday, but the second best time to plant a tree is today. The same holds for credit scores. The best time to have started a credit card is yesterday, but do it now and your credit score will benefit tomorrow. The age of your accounts is extremely important in calculating your credit score. That’s because lenders are looking for someone with a long term relationship with credit, and a long term payment history.
- If you don’t have a credit card, open a zero-fee card today.
- Don’t close old credit cards, unless they have an annual fee. Just make an occasional purchase and make sure they’re set to auto-pay.
4. Dispute any Errors in your Credit Report
You should be regularly monitoring your credit report, and you’re entitled to one free credit report from each of the credit reporting agencies each year. There are lots of good services out there that can help you with that. Make sure you’re taking advantage of your free credit report, and scrutinizing them to make sure that they are accurate. One of the easiest ways to get a near perfect credit score is to make sure that any mistakes on your credit report are removed.
If you see errors on your credit report, and need help disputing them, there are some services that can help.
5. Maintain a Healthy Mix of Credit Accounts
One of the factors in your credit score is the mix of the types of credit accounts you have. Those are usually lines of credit, like a HELOC or a credit card, and loans for a specific timeframe, like a car loan or mortgage. Credit agencies want to see a history with both types of accounts on your credit history. For that reason, some people take out small personal loans even when they don’t need them, just to boost their credit score.
A perfect credit score isn’t necessary, or even something that you are likely to be able to achieve. You can get a close to perfect credit score with these tips however. Always maintain a conservative financial position with emergency savings so you can avoid ruining your credit if you are confronted with an unexpected expense, or a loss of income.
With an excellent credit score, you’ll be well on your way to getting the best rates on loans, the best credit cards, and reducing the amount of money you spend on things like your mortgage and car payment. Good luck in your quest for a credit score as close to perfect as you can get!