This Could Be the Easiest Way to Boost Your Credit Score This Year

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  • The higher your credit score, the easier it becomes to borrow when you need to.
  • One quick move could result in a higher score -- without a whole lot of effort.
  • While paying off credit cards is helpful, it could take a while, unlike simply checking your credit report.

It may not even take you that long.

Your credit score isn't just a random number that's assigned to you. Rather, it's an indication of how risky a borrower you are. The higher your credit score, the more likely you'll be to get approved for a loan or credit card, and the more likely you'll be to get to borrow at a more affordable rate.

Imagine you're applying to take out a mortgage and have great credit. A lender might reward you with a lower interest rate on that loan than it gives someone with fair credit. The result? Lower monthly home loan payments for many years.

The highest number your FICO credit score can reach is 850, but for the most part, a score in the upper 700s or above is perfectly respectable. But what if your score isn't at that level? If so, it pays to do what you can to boost it. And one easy move could be your ticket to a much higher number -- without having to break a sweat.

Check your credit report

There are different ways to bring your credit score up, but some of them can be tricky and take time. Paying off existing credit card balances, for example, will generally help your score increase. But to do that, you'll need to somehow come up with the money to pay those cards off. That could mean working extra shifts at your job or selling items of yours to get your hands on more cash.

You can also raise your credit score by establishing a timely payment history with your bills. But again, that can take time. If you're looking for faster results, there's one simple move worth making -- check your credit report.

Your credit report is a summary of your financial activity as it relates to credit and borrowing. Your credit report, for example, won't list your bank account balances, but it will list your credit card and loan balances. It will also show how much of your total revolving credit you're using at once and how timely you are with bills. And, it will give you a summary of your credit mix so you can see how much debt you have on installment loans that are considered the healthy type to have, like a mortgage, versus less healthy revolving debts, like your credit card balances.

How might checking your credit report boost your score? If you spot an error that works against you, you'll know to correct it. Doing so might result in a higher score quickly.

So, imagine you check your credit report and it lists a delinquent debt you never incurred. Maybe someone with a similar name is responsible for that debt but it accidentally landed on your credit report instead.

If you're able to get the lender in question to confirm you didn't take out that loan and fall behind on it, you can present that information to the credit bureau that put together your report. From there, you could have a higher credit score within weeks.

Be vigilant about your credit report

Even if you have a great credit score to begin with, it still pays to check your credit report once every four months or so to make sure it doesn't contain any mistakes or red flags. But if your goal is to boost your credit score, ridding your credit report of errors could be your ticket to fast results -- and a world of more affordable borrowing options.

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