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2. Keep tabs on your credit utilization rate

Each time you apply for credit and a credit provider obtains a copy of your report, an enquiry is added to your credit report. Applications for credit can include loans, credit cards and applications for phone and utilities contracts. Even buy now pay later retail finance can result in a credit enquiry. Shopping around for credit and applying to a number of different credit providers within a short space of time may negatively impact your Equifax Score.

This flags you as a greater risk than if you had infrequent credit applications with only a few credit providers. As well, a relatively new credit file with many enquiries may represent a different level of risk than an older file with only a few credit enquiries. Directorship and proprietorship information.

How to Improve Your FICO Score | myFICO

If you are a company director or a proprietor and this information is listed on your credit report it may impact your Equifax Score. The age of your credit file. The date your credit report was created may impact your Equifax Score. Personal details. Your Equifax Score takes into consideration personal details such as age, as well as, stability factors like length of employment and time at your current residential address to help assess credit risk. Default information. Default information on your personal or business credit report such as overdue debts, serious credit infringements or clearouts may negatively impact your Equifax Score, while a lack of default information in your file may positively affect your score.

Conclusion & summary

Court writs and default judgements. A court writ or default judgement on a credit report is an indicator of increased risk and may negatively impact your Equifax Score. Commercial address information. Information such as location and the length of time you have resided at your current business address is a measure of stability and may impact your Equifax Score. Learn more: Check out our infographic to learn what information goes into your credit profile and what it can be used for. Getting your Equifax credit report will not negatively impact your Equifax Score. In fact, it may help you improve your Equifax Score by helping you identify any errors or if your identity has been compromised.

How To Improve Your Credit Score Without Debt

By ordering a copy of your Equifax credit report it may alert you to information on your credit report that could be impacting your Equifax Score. For example, if there is something on your credit report that is inaccurate or credit enquiries that lead you to believe your identity may have been compromised. If, after reviewing your Equifax credit report, you think your identity has been compromised, you should contact the relevant credit provider for more information and, if necessary, seek an investigation. You can also place a ban on your credit report.

Find out more here. You can find out your Equifax Score here. By signing up to an annual subscription you can access your Equifax credit report and score and receive an update every year. For more frequent updates and additional features such as credit alerts, a score tracker and identity monitoring we have a range of different subscription packages. It is derived from information held on your credit report as held by Equifax when the score is requested.

If you do find an inaccuracy, you can correct it by "disputing" your credit report with the bureau. Credit Karma has a good guide on how to do it for free.

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While there are services that will dispute it on your behalf for a fee, you shouldn't need to pay for help. Credit bureaus generally won't explain exactly how your credit score is calculated, but we do know that there are five inputs with these general weights:.

As Eric Rosenberg pointed out for Business Insider , these percentages mean that the first two factors alone have more of an influence than the other three factors combined. Your debt balances are so important because they affect your credit utilization rate — the amount of credit you're using divided by the total amount of credit you have available.

Generally, you want to be using as little of your available credit as possible, not maxing out every credit line. The lower, the better. If you have high credit-card debt increasing your utilization rate, it will be hard to raise your overall score. Make a plan to figure out exactly how much debt you have, then use the best tools at your disposal to help pay off credit-card debt , raise your credit score, and save thousands of dollars in the process. Once you're working on paying off existing debt, fight the urge to accrue new debt in its place. The two steps above should start influencing your credit-utilization rate — now, on to the next most influential bullet: payment history.

How to Raise Your Credit Score

There's not much you can do about the past beyond resolving any payment issues flagged on your credit report in step two , but you have complete control over your payments going forward. Lenders like to see a steady and reliable past payment history, since it's a generally good indicator that you'll continue to pay your bills on time in the future. Don't rely on yourself to remember your payments. Set up calendar reminders or automatic payments to your bills so you never miss one.

If you set up automatic payments, just make sure you're checking the bills when they come in and the statements, if you're paying credit cards to verify you're being charged as agreed and paying what you should be. If you know someone who is very responsible with their credit, becoming an authorized user on their accounts can have a positive effect on your credit score as well.

Just be aware that the opposite is true, as well — as an authorized user with someone who is irresponsible with credit, you'll be negatively affected. If you're really trying to work on your credit score, be cautious about opening new cards. Credit cards don't hurt your credit by default, but they do provide opportunities for missteps if you have trouble keeping track of them.

Steps to Improve Your Credit Scores

When you open a credit card, the issuer makes a "hard inquiry" into your credit, which temporarily knocks your score down a few points. It will recover within a few months, but if you're making a concentrated effort to improve your credit, you might not want to weather that blip. Plus, another credit card means more temptation to spend and more payments to remember. You might want to wait to open a new card until your credit is where you want it.

Hard inquiries occur when a lender or creditor — like for a mortgage or credit card, like we talked about above — looks at your credit report as part of a decision to lend you money. This type of inquiry can negatively influence your credit score, especially when there are too many of them. Again, your score will recover, but you might not want to take another knock when your credit is already low.

If you're planning to do anything involving credit, such as a personal loan, a mortgage, or an auto loan, you might want to hold off for a bit. Unless having too many cards presents a challenge for you in terms of overspending, there really isn't any harm in keeping unused credit-card accounts open and, in fact, it could be to your advantage.

Identity-theft issues can wreak havoc on your credit score, so keeping close watch on your credit score and credit reports allows you to report any fraudulent activity as soon as you notice it. Remember to order a free credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus once a year. A good rule of thumb is to set a reminder in your calendar every four months throughout the year to check in with a different one. This will give you a pretty accurate view of your financial accounts so you can catch any problems as soon as possible.

And finally, remember to be patient. Your credit won't improve overnight — but it will get there. World globe An icon of the world globe, indicating different international options. Search icon A magnifying glass. It indicates, "Click to perform a search".

FICO – The 800-Pound Gorilla

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