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Financial Literacy - Credit scores
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5 tips to improve your credit score
Learn strategies for fixing a less-than-perfect credit score with a little time and elbow grease
Credit scoring, demystified

5 tips to improve your credit score

If you've pulled your credit score and are disappointed by what you see, here are some simple things you can start doing now to improve your score. Credit counselor Bruce McClary of Richmond, Va., suggests these five ways to boost your credit score.

5 ways to bump up your score
Look before you leap
When you apply for a loan or a credit card, lenders check your credit. These inquiries can put a temporary dent in your credit score. Start your loan search by shopping and comparing rates rather than applying for a loan first and deciding later. If you can do all your shopping within the same month, all the better. Mortgage and auto loans are counted as one inquiry if they fall within a 45-day period in the FICO scoring model.

Inquiries have the least impact as far as overall weight. Inquiries, types of credit and the number of loans you have play into the remaining amount of your score.

"I'm always amazed at how people tend to concern themselves with someone making an inquiry when they should be focusing on their payment history," McClary says. "I think if you want to stop solicitations, opt out. But if the motivation for opting out is to have an impact on your credit score, then it's not efficient." Save a few trees, opt out.

Tip: To opt out of unsolicited offers, visit OptOutPrescreen.com or call (888) 567-8688.

 Does your credit get high marks or do you feel like
you're flunking out? Share your story.
-- Posted: June 18, 2007
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