Millions of Americans are applying for new jobs, planning home renovations, and looking to buy real estate all of which are more attainable with a good credit score.
“Having a good credit report and a good credit score is truly the key to unlocking, I would say, your whole financial future, It’s like the best gift you can give yourself,” Lisa Gill from Consumer Reports said.
Gill said how your credit report is calculated is often ambiguous but there are straightforward ways to keep your scores from dipping.
First off, don’t close credit card accounts even if you are not using them. “It’s important because it would change the credit to debt ratio in your credit report, which could actually negatively affect your credit score,” Gill said. “So don’t rush to close these accounts. Keep them open as long as you can. "
Another important strategy, if you’re shopping for a mortgage or a car loan, is to try to submit your applications within a one-month period. “Those lenders are doing what’s called a hard pull on your credit. And when they do that, it dings your credit by a couple of points,” Gill said.
If you do your applications in a 30-day window, credit bureaus usually consolidate the applications, which can lower the negative impact on your overall credit score.
Also, It’s important to think carefully when looking for credit cards. According to Gill, don’t apply for credit cards that you don’t want or that you don’t think you can actually get because it will also negatively show on your account.
Lastly, pay off debts in collections as soon as possible.
“Paying down any kind, like particularly credit card debt so that you’re not using any more than about 30 percent of your revolving credit,” Gill said.
Gill recommends you check your credit report for errors that could be negatively affecting your score. You can get a free copy of your report through the authorized website: annualcreditreport.com.