4 Ways to End 2022 With a Better Credit Score Than You Started With
- Your credit score affects whether you can borrow and many other aspects of your financial life.
- There are steps you can take this year to end 2022 with a better score than you started with.
A better credit score is worth working for.
Improving your credit score can have a huge payoff. Better credit can allow you to borrow money at a lower rate, opening up the door to refinancing your debt or taking on good debt that helps you to grow your net worth. It can also help you score cheaper auto insurance and make landing a job or apartment easier.
But how can you actually make your score better? The good news is, there are a few key steps you can take right now to end 2022 with a better score than you started the year with. Here's what they are:
1. Correct errors on your report
Over one-third of Americans have found an error on their credit reports. In many cases, mistakes on a credit report could result in your score being reduced through no fault of your own. If you want to raise your credit score quickly, you can do it by getting these mistakes off your record.
You should check your credit report several times a year, which you can do for free from AnnualCreditReport.com. This site allows you to pull your report from each of the major credit reporting agencies once per year. Since you can claim a free report from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, you can space out your requests and regularly keep tabs on your credit record.
If you spot an error, each of the credit reporting agencies has a process you can use to request removal of the incorrect information. If black marks you didn't deserve are removed from your record, your score should go up.
2. Ask your creditors if they'd be willing to help remove black marks
Sometimes, your credit score is dragged down not by an error on your credit record but by a mistake you made. For example, you may have accidentally paid your card late in the past, so your record may list a missed payment.
If your creditors are currently reporting anything negative on your credit history, it may be worth asking them if they'd be willing to remove it from your record. They may be willing to do this if you've mostly paid on time with only one or two mistakes, or if you're willing to make a lump-sum payment for the remaining balance.
3. Pay down your current debt
Your credit utilization ratio is one of the most important factors determining your credit score. That ratio is calculated based on how much of your available credit you've used. If you have a $1,000 credit limit and have charged $500 on your card, your ratio would be 50%.
A lower ratio means a better score, and anything above 30% can reduce your credit score substantially. As a result, paying down your debt this year could help you end 2022 with a better score than you had at the start of it.
4. See if you can become an authorized user
Credit card holders are allowed to add authorized users to their accounts. If you know someone with great credit who has a card with a strong credit history, you may want to ask if they'd add you to the card as an authorized user. If they agree, the card would show up on your credit report, likely boosting your score.
This could happen if the card's been open for a long time, as it could make your average account history look longer (which nets you a higher score). A positive payment record and low utilization ratio on the card could also help give your score a boost.
Taking any or all of these steps can make a big difference in your credit score by the end of 2022. Start working on them ASAP to end the year with a score you'll be proud of.
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