The secrets to improving your credit score

9. If you're struggling, contact your creditors. 
If you're having trouble paying your bills, ask your creditors to change your payment schedule, Snyder from Leader's Bank advises.

"Putting your head in the sand and not making payments will impact your score the most," she says. "Going to your creditors and having them make different arrangements is very helpful."

10. Stay on top of your credit reports. 
Most people know that they should check their credit reports annually, but many don't know that doing so is free if they go to

Few people realize that they can monitor their credit reports (not their scores) every four months without paying a dime. Simply request a free report from one of the three agencies -- Equifax, Experian or TransUnion -- every four months. You'll be getting one free report a year from each agency and you'll be able to quickly fix any mistakes you find.

Even so, if you want your credit score, you'll have to pay for it. You can get it for about $15 at the FICO Web site or from one of the three reporting agencies.

Don't lose hope.
A credit score is a snapshot of your credit risk at any one time. Creditors generally report information to agencies every 30 days or so, meaning that your credit score can change very quickly once you try out some of these tips.



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