It’s really fun to think about the financial goals, like buying a house or getting your dream car. It’s exciting! The last thing you want is to worry about anything getting in the way of accomplishing those goals, especially if that thing is a credit score you’re worried will hold you back.
First, you are NOT the only person with this concern. There are others just like you when it comes to the reality of their credit score. If your credit score is hovering right about 700, you have a great start. The average score is 695, but the desired range for lenders is anything above 700.
Many future homebuyers wait until their credit score reaches at least 740 to consider taking out a mortgage or car loan, which is when rates are the best for borrowing. Who doesn’t want the best rate possible?
However, it’s not possible to build up or destroy your credit overnight. Thank goodness! There are some legit things that can improve your credit score faster if you put them into action sooner rather than later, especially if your goal is to get into real estate investing. The only question you need to ask yourself is how soon you want that dream house or car!
1. Ninja Chop Your Balances
What will have the biggest and fastest impact on your credit score? If you guessed paying off or decreasing your overall debt, you’re right. The amount of money you’re able to borrow, or credit utilization, contributes to almost 1/3 of your credit score. Basically, when your available credit is as high as possible, that’s when your credit score will thrive.
There is some irony in paying down your balances each month. You might think that keeping a credit card in your wallet without using it is will keep your credit high. That’s not exactly true. You do need to use it because utilizing your credit is what builds it.
Time your payments to hit your account right before your bank reports to the credit bureaus. It’s super simple to ask your bank when they report this information to the credit bureaus if you’re not sure when that is. Founder and CEO of Debitize Liran Amrany says, “The easiest way to optimize your utilization is to use a credit card and pay your balance down to 1% of your credit limit right before your bank reports to the credit bureaus."
2. Get Caught Up On Bills
If it’s not obvious, it should be known that paying bills on time is a positive indicator when your credit score is calculated. Pay bills on time = happy credit score. For a quick boost, pay those late bills ASAP! Another good tip is, most creditors don’t report a late payment until after it’s 30 days overdue.
3. New Accounts
Improving your credit score has some more ironic tips to follow. You might think that opening a new credit card would hurt your score, but that’s not always true. Each new card increases your available credit, which means your credit utilization looks stellar if you keep balances low.
Also, having various types of credit to your name can improve your score. For example, if you already have a credit card open, another credit card might not be the best new line of credit. Consider taking out a small loan to mix it up. It’s literally called the “credit mix” when you have multiple types of credit, and your score loves it.
Be cautious though – don’t go crazy opening every credit card you’re pre-approved for. You might get dinged if there’s a bunch of recent inquiries from all that extra credit you’re taking out.
4. Be An Authorized User
If you’ve never established credit before, this can be a lifeline. If you have a family member or significant other with awesome credit, ask if they will consider adding you as an authorized user on one of their accounts.
The reason this is fantastic for starting your credit history and improving it is that person’s positive credit history will should up on your credit report. Keep in mind that it’s your responsibility to inquire about their credit history because you will be affiliated with any bad credit they have too.
5. More Doesn’t Make A Difference
The number of service providers that report your payment history doesn’t really make a difference on your credit score, at least not yet. Gallegos explains that credit agencies are slowly making some changing in terms of which bill payments they consider, but he adds that “most of the time, these types of payments only appear on credit reports when they are delinquent.”
If you really want to spend time calling your service providers to report your payment history, go for it! You’re probably better off focusing on other tips if you haven’t implemented them already. In the end, all these tips will help you get the keys to your new house or car before you know it.
Christine Yaged is a co-founding partner and Chief Product Officer of FinanceBuzz. Christine launches and scales brands. She is passionate about technology, digital marketing, and people.