4 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Before 2021 Ends

by Maurie Backman | Published on Oct. 14, 2021

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These moves could be your ticket to a more impressive score -- and more borrowing opportunities.

You may have certain financial goals for 2022, like buying a home or making renovations to your current one. To meet those goals, you may need to whip your credit score into better shape so you can do things like qualify for a mortgage or renovation loan. Here are some steps you can take to boost your credit in time for the new year.

1. Pay all of your bills on time

Your payment history is the single most important factor that goes into your credit score. Paying your bills on time could help your score improve, so keep tabs on your expenses and put yourself on a budget if you're not following one already. That way, you'll be less likely to miss bills due to a lack of money.

2. Knock out some credit card debt

You might assume that as long as you make your minimum credit card payments on time, your credit score will stay in good shape. But actually, carrying too high a balance across your credit cards could damage your score, even if you're making those minimum payments on schedule.

If you have a lot of debt, try paying down some of your credit card balances as soon as you can. Consolidating your debts with a balance transfer could be a good move in this regard, though the tricky thing is that you will need decent credit to qualify for one. But if your score is still in reasonably good shape, it's worth pursuing.

3. Get your timely rent payments reported

You may be surprised to learn that your rent payments won't automatically show up on your credit report. But the reporting bureaus that create credit reports are willing to include that information if they receive it, and a series of timely rent payments could help your credit score improve.

You can use several services to get your rent included on your credit report. Some, like CreditMyRent, charge a fee. Others, like PayYourRent, won't cost you money, but you'll need a landlord who's signed up to use it. It pays to talk to your landlord and work together to get your rent payments reported if you feel that will help your credit score improve.

4. Correct credit report errors

Credit report errors have soared during the pandemic. You may have a mistake on your credit report that's working against you, like a delinquent debt you've already settled or an open account in your name that's not actually yours. Reviewing your credit report and fixing errors could help your credit score improve.

Normally, you can access your credit report for free once a year from each major reporting bureau -- Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Right now, though, credit reports are free on a weekly basis through April 2022, so you have plenty of opportunity to dig in.

Kicking off the new year with a higher credit score is a great goal to strive for. Tackle these key moves in the coming weeks to help make that happen.

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