Your credit score is one of the most important factors in determining whether or not you receive a home loan, car loan, or credit card and the interest rate you pay. The higher your score, the more appealing you are to potential lenders. According to a recent study, just under 30 percent of consumers realize that credit scores measure credit risk.
Your credit score is based on reporting from the three national credit bureaus. These credit bureaus receive information from your creditors, including your credit history, the types of credit you have, the length of your credit history, and your balance versus available credit. If you're thinking about making a large purchase in the near future or you just want to improve your credit rating, there are a few simple things you can do to improve your score.
One of the best ways to improve your credit score is to pay your bills on time. Recent late payments carry more weight than past late payments. Over the course of a few months, a new payment history starts to emerge.
Another good strategy for improving your credit score is to keep your debt reasonable. As a general rule, your debt should be below 75 percent of your available credit.
Finally, avoid too many inquiries. Inquiries are interpreted as a sign that you are actively seeking credit and could overextend yourself. If you're in the market for a new home or car and need to inquire with several lending companies, it's a good idea to do so in a short period of time. Multiple inquiries within a 45-day period of time are generally treated as a single inquiry.
According to credit card giant Providian Financial, if all consumers were to raise their scores by just 30 points, they'd save an average of 16 billion dollars in finance charges alone.