4th Quarter 2016

How to Improve Your Credit Score

Your credit score can have a surprisingly large impact on your finances, even if you aren’t about to apply for a mortgage. A low score can increase your car insurance premiums in many states, affect your ability to get a cell phone or rent an apartment, and result in higher rates on car loans and credit cards. Paying your bills on time is one of the best ways to maintain a good credit score, but these steps can also help:

Check your credit reports for errors. Get a free report from each of the credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion) every 12 months at www.annualcreditreport.com.

Keep your credit-card balances low relative to your credit limits. A key factor in your score is the amount of available credit you've used. Try to keep your overall credit-card balances to less than 30 percent of your total credit limits — or less if you're applying for a loan soon.

Limit new credit-card accounts. The average age of your credit accounts is another factor in your score — the longer the better. Lenders worry that adding too much new credit might lead you to take on debt that you may not be able to handle.

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