1. Review Your Credit Reports
The first step to improving your credit score is to get a copy of your credit report. Pull all three credit bureaus and view them for errors and dispute any you find. You can also get your free credit score from Credit Sesame.
2. Get All Bill Payments Under Control
Get your bill payments under control. Make sure you're paying all of your bills on time and in full every month. The more you pay down your balances, the better your score.
3. Keep Credit Utilization 30% or Lower
Credit utilization is the second most crucial factor in your credit score. If you have a credit card with a $1000 balance, be sure only to charge $300 and not a dollar more.
4. Minimize Requests for New Credit as Well as “Hard” Inquiries
Your credit score takes a temporary dip when you apply for any new credit (personal loan, mortgage, or card). A hard inquiry will stay on your report for up to two years.
If you are young and have a thin credit file, it can be tough to improve your score when creditors have limited information; they usually err on the side of rejection.
6. Keep Old Accounts Open and Sort Out Any Delinquencies
Creditors like to see long credit histories, so it's best not to close any accounts. One exception is if there are annual fees involved. You may want to close the account and apply for a new card with no fee instead.
7. Consider Debt Consolidation
If you have several high-interest credit cards, you may consider a consolidation loan. You will save on interest and only have one payment each month. A consolidation loan is also known as a personal loan.