Suze Orman Recommends Doing These 3 Things to Increase Your Credit Score

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  • People often want to know the best ways to increase their credit score.
  • Suze Orman has some simple, effective tips that can help.
  • The financial guru recommends keeping credit utilization to a minimum and paying everything on time.

If you follow this advice, it will have a positive impact on your credit score.

Your credit score is that ever-important number that plays a huge role in your everyday life. It determines which credit cards you qualify for, how much you pay for auto and home loans, and much more. Simply put, life is much easier with a high credit score.

For those who want to boost their credit scores, financial advisor Suze Orman has some good, easy-to-follow advice. In a recent episode of her podcast, she gave three recommendations to a listener trying to get better credit.

1. Don't carry high balances

Orman's first tip is "don't carry high balances, or don't carry balances at all on your credit cards." High balances result in a high credit utilization ratio, which is one of the biggest parts of your credit score.

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Your credit utilization ratio is calculated by dividing your card balances by your credit limits. For example, if you have a credit card with a $1,000 balance and a $5,000 credit limit, your credit utilization is 20%.

It's normally recommended to keep your credit utilization below 30%, but the lower you can get it, the better. That's why Orman recommends you don't carry balances at all if you can avoid it.

Remember, this doesn't mean you need to avoid using your credit cards. In fact, Orman suggests continuing to use credit cards and paying them off in full every month.

2. Pay everything on time

Orman's next piece of advice is "make sure that you are never ever late on a payment." This is a must, because nothing has more of an impact on your credit score than your payment history.

How payment history works is pretty straightforward. When you pay your credit card bill on time, or any bill that gets reported on your credit file, it improves your payment history. But even a single late payment can seriously hurt your credit score.

It's important to clarify that there is leeway on what's considered a late payment. Technically, a payment can't be reported as late to the credit bureaus until it's 30 days late or more. Regardless, you could end up with a late fee sooner than that, so it's always best to pay bills by the due date.

3. Ask the card issuers to increase your credit limit

Although it isn't a must like the previous two tips, Orman mentions you can "call the credit card companies and ask them to increase your credit limit." Specifically, this is a good idea for anyone carrying balances on their credit cards.

This ties back to what we covered earlier, your credit utilization ratio. If you have high credit utilization impacting your credit, one solution to lower your credit utilization is to pay down those balances. However, that's often a gradual process, especially if you're trying to get out of credit card debt.

Another option is to increase your credit limit. For example, if you have a $5,000 balance and a $10,000 credit limit, your 50% credit utilization would be on the high side. If you managed to get your credit limit increased to $20,000, that would cut your credit utilization in half and bring it back into a good range.

Keep in mind that this can backfire if you get a larger credit limit and start spending more. For the best results, you should still make sure to pay down card balances as much as possible until you've eliminated your debt.

Credit scores may seem complicated, but improving them really isn't. If you follow Orman's advice, especially the first two tips, you'll be on your way to a high credit score.

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