Never miss a payment
Payment history factors into a whopping 35 percent of your credit score, so you’ll definitely see the effects if you tend to miss bills. If you didn’t set email reminders when you signed up for your credit card, change your settings now, or mark due dates on your phone or paper calendar. If you still have a hard time remembering, consider setting auto payments, says Gerri Detweiler, head of market education for Nav, a site that helps business owners manage their credit. “Even if you just set up credit cards to automatically have the minimum payment each month is enough to increase credit score,” she says. Just don’t get tricked into thinking it’s out of sight, out of mind. Keep checking your bills for errors, and don’t forget to update accounts if you switch banks. Check out these other 32 secrets accountants won’t tell you.
Find your weak spots
Instead of taking the your credit score at face value, use the full report to guide you in boosting that number, says Bruce McClary, vice president of communications for the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. “A lot of people focus a lot of their efforts on trying to boost their score and chase a number,” he says. “Don’t just get the score. It will tell you something but not everything.” With a full copy of your report, look for any missed payments or other aspects driving your score down. Then use that information to figure out the clear steps you need to make to get where you want to be. (To get your account back in shape, try these 56 almost effortless ways to save money.)