7 Ways to Improve Your Credit Score

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Fix Your Credit Here!Big changes are coming. The bulk of the new Credit CARD Act provisions go into effect in February, which may change the way many of us use credit.

While some consumers will benefit, others may find it difficult to access credit at all. In fact, a few credit card companies have already begun cutting off customers without explanation, just a rude surprise at the register.

Instead of being at the mercy of changes to laws and credit card company policies, take action to improve your credit score now so you don’t have to worry about what may come. Here are some tips to get you started:

How to Improve Your Credit Score in 7 Steps:

1) Pay your bills on time every month.

The single most important thing you can do for your credit score is to pay at least the minimum payment (the amount you’re required to pay) for each bill on time every month.

2) If you have past due bills, pay up and stay current.

If you’ve made some mistakes with your credit, you’ll need to settle up to demonstrate that you’re able to pay your debt.

3) Pay down your credit cards.

Not sure where to start? A good rule of thumb is to pay down the credit card with the highest interest rate first (while also paying at least the minimum payment on other cards). When you’ve paid down that balance, move on to the card with the next highest interest rate, and so on.

4) Spread yourself thin.

If you have multiple credit cards, try to spread your charges across them and keep your balances low. Shoot for using less than 30 percent of each card’s credit limit. If you don’t have several credit cards, it’s not necessary (or recommended) to open accounts just to spread out your debt.

5) Don’t close accounts you no longer use.

Closing accounts can hurt your credit score because it lowers the total amount of credit available to you. Instead, dust off those old cards and use them at least once a month on smaller purchases, like gas or take-out. Each month you pay your bill on time, the credit card company will report you as a-okay.

6) Don’t open new accounts you don’t need.

And try not to open too many accounts in a short period of time.

7) Check your credit report regularly and dispute inaccuracies.

Start by getting your free credit report from Quizzle every six months. Learn what’s on your credit report and how things are reported. If you see something that doesn’t look right, dispute it with the credit bureau. In Quizzle, it’s as simple as clicking the “Dispute this with Experian” button next to the account in question.

Lastly, be patient. Improving your credit score can take time. Just like a diet, there are no quick fixes. Be responsible with your credit, pay your bills on time and use your head — pretty soon, you’ll be reaping the rewards of good credit.

[Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/travistruman/ / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]

  • JOHN J CROOK JR.

    THIS WAS THE FIRST TIME IVE DONE THIS AND IT WAS SOOOO EASY! THANK YOU AND MY SCORE WAS NOT BAD AT ALL GOT A ( B ) WE LIKED YOUR SIGHT AND ALL THE FREE INFO AGAIN THANKS

  • Kathi Glomb

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  • http://feedback@quizzle.com Woodrow

    THANK YOU!!!!! And FREE. I can’t stand the other sites that want to charge you for YOUR own credit score. You guys are GREAT!! Will recommend. Again many THANKS….

  • otherheather

    Thanks so much for the USEFULL information. It seems almost a crime that banks and credit card companies are allowed to give consumers a “score” without any information on how these scores are generated. Its like playing a game without knowing all of the rules.

  • Jeanne

    This is one site that I will be using every six months to help me get my credit back on track. With my score being so low, I really needed this help. Thank you so much Quizzle.

  • E J

    This is an AWESOME website. Not only is it educational, it’s easy and the reports are quite understandable. I appreciate the tips as well for bettering your credit. Thank you QUIZZLE.

  • kenneth l Dresser

    Simply Speechless. This is a awsome web site. Your tips I will implement today thank you so much.

  • rick

    Tip # 5 – don’t close out accounts. i disagree, i would rather close out an account, in fact i had two that were charging 25%. i closed them, paid them off. it might affect my credit rating ( when in fact it had no affect ), but thats several hundreds of dollars i don’t have to pay in interest fee’s, while the principal would barely budge.

  • Casey

    Quizzle Rocks! and now my credit will too.. THANK YOU!

  • James Rhett, Jr.

    I received this information off the Clark Howard Radio Show. I have visited this website three times. It is a rewarding experience.

  • Eric

    Great site! A remarkable amount of free information. I had access to another “free” website that told me my credit score was 677 through Transunion, but here it’s 720! What?! I’ve been working very hard to stay current on bills, pay down credit cards and never be late with a payment and here’s my reward! Thanks Quizzle! I’ll be telling my friends!

  • http://www.besomeone.org Orrin Hudson

    Quizzle.com is an amazing site it is outstanding!!!!!

  • Anthony

    This site is a breath of fresh air. They give you all this information with NO gimmicks! This site is a good start to give you a picture of what is going on with your credit and offer tools if you choose to HELP you fix or just get back on track. Keep in mind though that you ONLY get your credit score from just one source and for whatever reason all 3 can be different. Best site ever to help folks like me.

    Thank you so much

  • C Lawson

    Just got my report from 2 of the 3 companies and am very frustrated. Reports of one missed payment in 2003 and 2005 are still major reasons for my low score (500s). That’s over 5 years ago!! This makes no sense to me. Current high debt ratio is solely student loan balance. I can’t get a decent job without a degree and can’t get a degree without loans due to the extremely high cost of a higher education. The loans are in deferment until graduation. It’s a vicious circle.

  • Stacy

    I agree with Rick on no. 5. Having too much credit available too you can hurt your credit score. It’s called revolving credit. It especially hurts if your revolving credit is higher than your income. I would suggest closing store credit cards that you don’t need. You can use your MC an VISA anywhere, no need for specific store credit cards that have higher interest rates anyway.

  • Brittany

    I wish I would have known that closing my credit cards would hurt me more than help.

    After I paid them off, I closed them, and now it will be a couple more years before THAT goes away.

  • Brenda

    I simply want to say THANK YOU. Having access to this information – “FREE” has set me on a positive move forward. Once again, THANK YOU!

  • suzi

    I can’t wait to get my score. Have a few minor blemishes that I know of but
    all that occoured during and post divorce. I have closed several cards over the last few years to “simplify” and that is worth the mental relief not to keep track of cards I rarely use.

  • Don

    And don’t use free credit report dot com as part of inquiriry your bank account numbers are needed for free credit report. However it is so you can be signed up for a credit monitoring service. The bank account numbers are needed to charge your acct on a monthly basis without your knowledge. About $12 to $15 per month. Nothing is free!!!

  • Bill

    Several people have problems with #5. Which is correct?
    To close accounts not used, or keep them open? Or both?

  • amurphy

    @Bill – Great question! Closing an account can hurt your credit score. By taking away available credit, you hurt your credit utilization ratio, which will negatively impact your credit score.

    However, with the new Credit CARD Act going into effect on Feb. 22, many banks and creditors are beginning to charge fees – whether they be general annual fees or fees for lack of use. Is it worth it to keep a card open that you don’t use when you’re being charged money for it? That’s a decision you have to make. But generally speaking, closing an account *will* negatively impact your credit score.

  • Omar

    Quizzle is a great website that allows me to get the most complete layout of my financial picture. I am in the process of looking for a home and I am so glad I found out about quizzle before closing. I now know that I earned a B and I am confident that I am purchasing a home that I can afford.

  • http://quizzle BELLIA

    I LOVE IT! SERIOUSLY I HAVE READ ALL THE RESPONSE AND ITS ALL GOOD AND TRUE..

  • Teresa

    QUIZZLE YOUR AWESOME! GREAT TOOLS, GREAT ADVICE, AND FREE TOO! WTG! LUV IT, LUV IT, LUV IT!!

  • Bonnie

    My credit score makes no sense at all. Credit cards closed were due to deceptive practice and closed immediately and two were closed by the issuing bank due to compromised information by a seller. A new one was was opened automatically by the bank I don’t charge much as I like to know my cash flow at all times which seems to me be smart since I am retired, have more than enough emergency savings and adequate investments.
    If a little charging is necessary to improve one’s credit score, people are being encouraged to get right back where they are now -in tons of debt with no savings.

  • Jerry Bennett

    This place is amazing. Now I know what must be done so I can get my First House. Keep up the Great Work!!!!!!!

  • Ken

    Great site ! If you have any questions about credit, you can e-mail Quizzle and get a reply. I wanted to know the FTC address, it was sent to me. My credit situation was complex, however for a small retainer found a law firm that will also assist getting your credit back on track. Had a bill that was sold to a collection agency for pennies on the dollar. The law firm solved the problem.

  • http://capressocoffee.info Arender

    My credit score makes no sense at all. Credit cards closex were due to deceptive practice and closed immediately and two were closed by the issuing bank due to compromised information by a seller. A new one was was opened automatically by the bank I don't charge much as I like to know my cash flow at all times which seems to me be smart since I am retired, have more than enough emergency savings and adequate investments.
    If a little charging is neceszary to improve one's credit score, people are being encouraged to get right back where they are now -in tons of dsbt with no savings.;

  • Lapsina

    *Ken*on 3/7/2010 you said you “Had a bill that was sold to a collection agency for pennies on the dollar. The law firm solved the problem.” please what was the name of the firm- I have this very same problem and need help.

  • Tiffany

    What I don’t understand is why there are THREE credit companies, when more than half the time their numbers aren’t in sync. I know this one tracks Experian, but what about the other two numbers.
    ~Don’t get me wrong. I seriously appreciate the service this site provides. All of my debts are listed in one convenient location.~
    Now, I just need to figure out how to pay them off without paying until I’m in my 50s or older (I’m 25 now and my debts are doctor related). I’m not worried about credit cards because no bank will give me one anyway without a job, and I’m currently in school (oh yay, another debt to loom over me in a couple years).

  • http://Quizzle.com Pam

    None of these tips help me. I don’t have any credit cards. I have no open accounts besides my checking and savings. I have always paid my utility bills on time but from what I understand, those companies don’t report to the credit bureaus anyway. The only bills I pay is utilities and rent. My credit score hasn’t moved in the last 6 months. I need more helpful tips cause this isn’t working for me. Someone suggested I get a secured credit card and create an auto pay on a utility bill from that card, then another auto pay from my checking account back to the card and keep it revolving, the problem I have with that is I’ll get charged interest on MY OWN MONEY.. I refuse to do it.

    • Brittany

      The majority of credit card companies do not charge interest when you pay your balance in full every month. The best way to build your score and stay ahead of the game is to use a card that you get rewards on to buy the things you need anyway. Most cash reward cards offer 1-5% back depending on the category. I personally put all my utility bills, grocery and gas purchases on a credit card and pay it in full every month. I usually get around $100 back every year just for things I had to pay for any way. It definitely takes discipline to stay on budget and do this so if you’re afraid you may not have the discipline to pay every month try using a card like American Express that requires payment in full every month.

  • http://Quizzle katie Gaston

    I was shocked to see that my credit was all wrong! I had stuff on there that I did not know was effecting my grade! I was able to dispute it and hope to check back with a better grade. Thanks! I feel so much better knowing.

  • Richard

    This site is fantastic! It has given me so much hope. I’m 36 yrs. old and made so many mistakes over the years that are just killing me now. However, I just got my first unsecured credit card in a very long time. True it has a very low limit, but I’ve been paying early every month and also paying more than the minimum. I was so surprised that it was already showing.I have a long way to go, my score is only 618 but I feel confident. Thank you. I wish everyone else great success.

  • robin wilkerson

    finally! great information and tips in
    plain english. thanks so much!

  • Isaac

    I found quizzle to be concise and honest about the free credit score and report. Unlike other sites that claim free and are not. I did a mortgage loan modification and i was pleasantly surprised to see that I still have an A rating inspite of the loan modification. I just hope the other credit rating companies are telling the same story. thanks a lot Quizzle for this much needed fast information.

  • Juan Martinez

    I can’t thank quizzle enough for the service provided gratis. With the scores and how they’re calculated gives me answers to questions I was in the dark about. Additionally, the other help tabs are a great source on how to bring my credit scores up. Keep up the good work quizzle!

  • R. DeVaughn Howie

    I heard about “Quizzle” last week on the “Clark Howard” program, and I just read a lot of great comments. Currently, I am using the credit reporting agency “Credit Inform;” they charge four ($4.00) dollars per month for their service. My credit score is 659 as reported by “Equifax” through “Credit Inform.” Not terribly weak, yet there is room for much improvement. Although I have had no issues with “Credit Inform,” I am looking forward to using the services and tools your company provides to building better credit. “Credit Inform” was cheap, but “Quizzle” is free.

  • Mary

    Quizzle is F’n Awesome!! Definetly will Recommend. Thanx so much!

  • Emilie

    So I have debt between two collection agencys. One agency has medical bills and the beginning balance has stayed the same as the amount due to date, although the other agency has docter bills and is charging a 8% interest rate, on them that just keeps compounding (i.e. I had a medical bill four years ago that was collected and the interest started at $2 and is now $240!) I was just wondering, if they are allowed to collect interest, because I thought in my buisness law class, it said there was a federal law against collecting interest rates on medical bills, I could be wrong that class was 2 years ago. But if anyone knows, please help me because I dont want to pay off more debt than I have to.
    Thanx

  • Clementine

    Loved this site, very easy to use

  • Lyndsi

    Thank you quizzle.com for offering this amazing site to the public. I will do my best to let everyone around me know how useful this information can be, especially when in unstable financial times right now! It is so refreshing to finally encounter an educational site dedicated to helping Americans dissect their finances and confront their debt in an impacting way! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  • James

    TO PAM March 17th,
    I dont know of any Credit Cards that charge interest if you pay them off every month.
    keep your balance at 0, at the end of every month and they shouldnt charge a fee. and you’ll get a better report.

  • Aida

    After many years of having all types of financial problems and receiving financial advise from everybody I know; finally I found a site with the information I have been loking for. I thought my credit score was very low due to all of my money problems in the past and to my surprise it was not. For now, I am very happy with it. There is always room for improvement and I will find the way to improve my credit score; the higher the number the better it will be for me. This site is fantastic with lots of information for people like me that some times do not have a clue about personal finances. Thank you…thank you…thank you…I appreciated very much…

  • STEPHANIE

    THIS IS GREAT!!! THANK YOU!!!!!!

  • Jessica R.

    Thank you so much for the great information and FREE credit Score. You have helped make this journey of 1st time HomeBuying 10x easier in less than 5 minutes!!! Thank you!! Quizzle is great!

  • wendy

    i have a score of 650 i have only 3 bills showing my morgage, 1 stupid 300.00 delinq. and my monthly child support. I have payed off over 28,000.00 in loans and am currently with no bills exept the 3 as stated. why in the world would my credit score not change after paying off those large bills. it didnt even change 1 incrament. im so angry with the way credit is done. who’s the boss of our credit anyway, doesnt seem to be me. I was told i have to much money going out i needed to pay off some bills. so i did and i still cant get a loan and my only owing bill is 900.00 a month. wtf oh i can pay the only 1 payment of 300.00 but if 28,000.00 didnt move my score then i dont think 300.00 is going to move it. i figured if i was at 650 and payed off that chunk of money i should be at lease at 680 – a 780 somewhere in there, but not a numeric one. can some one help me this is crazy.,

  • kelly

    i have been to a million websites that promised a free credit score and this one is the only one that has ever followed through with that promise,it was so easy to use too,my problem is that im 25 and cant get my credit score over 600,they say not to apply for credit cards because itaffects your score,but how am i supposed to get my score up without a credit card,and how do i get my score from the other two companies

  • BungalowMo

    I can only disagree with #4. It’s actually better to show balances on < half your open cards, and the best is around 7% utilization across all cards. I have 7 cards with balances reporting on 2. When I let a balances (on purpose, as a test) report on 4, I got a scorewatch alert that my score had dropped by about 10 points. Paid those off & waited for the next month when those 2 cards reported…another alert…score went back up.

    One thing to keep in mind…pay the bill BEFORE the statement cutoff date. That way, they are reporting the lowest possible balance for you. Nearly all cc companies report to the 3 CRA's on the statement cut date.

    Just a little FYI! :-)

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