The best overall tip is to find out what your score is according to the credit bureaus. That’s the first step to knowing how to improve it. If it is low then these tips will help. I raised my score 100 points in 2 years.
1. Pay ALL bills on time. Late payments hurt more than minimum on time payments and you’ll save yourself hundreds a year in late fees.
2. Whenever possible get loan payments automatically deducted from your checking account and keep track of when every penny is coming out of your account.
3. If possible have a residence in the same place for a period of at least 2 years. Changes of address can ding your credit.
4. Minimize your applications for credit. These detract from your score and lenders hate seeing numerous credit cards and unsecured loans.
5. If you have extra money designated to pay bills and have more than one credit card or account try to pay at least one account down to below half of the available credit, i.e. get a $1000 card balance down to $500. This brings the percentage of used credit down and may leave you money to pay another account down or use cash to make a large purchase. This raises your score even more than paying the balances down to zero.
6. Check your credit report for inaccuracies or for accounts that should be removed from the report. You can check once a year for free and there are form letters on websites to dispute items. Getting these removed can make a huge difference.
7. If you pay an account balance down to zero, ask for a letter proving that you did so and don’t use the account again.
8. Negotiate with credit card companies for lower rates even if your credit rating is not great. The lower payments make it easier to pay off balances and pay on time.