Improve your Credit Scores

improve credit scores- back to page 1
Free credit report


3. Add Information Showing Stability

Creditors like to see evidence of stability in your file. If any of the items listed below are missing, send a letter to the credit reporting agencies asking that the information be added. Enclose any documentation that verifies information you're providing:

  • Current employment -- employer's name and address and your job title
  • Previous employment if you've had your current job less than two years.
  • Current residence, and if you own it.
  • Previous residence if you've been at your current place under two years.
  • Date of birth

4. Avoid Unnecessary Inquiries

Every time you apply for credit, or your credit report is accessed for another reason, that fact will be listed on your credit report as an inquiry. Many inquiries make it appear that you are shopping for credit, which indicates that you anticipate the need for many lines of credit.

Inquiries for pre-approved credit card offers you didn't accept, as well as inquiries created when you review your own credit report, will not count against you.

5. Close Unneeded Accounts

The less available credit you have, the less risk you will pose to a potential creditor or lender. Keep two to four credit cards to help keep high FICO scores.  Close all unused or unnecessary accounts.

Just cutting up your card and tossing it in the trash does not close your credit card account. The safest way to close a credit card account is by sending a certified letter to the customer service department of the card issuer. Ask the card issuer to close your account and to report your account to credit bureaus as "closed by consumer." In approximately 10 days, the card issuer should send you a letter confirming that your account is "closed by the consumer." If you don't receive the confirmation letter, follow up by calling the card issuer to make sure it closed your card and is reporting it properly to the credit bureaus. You may even want to get another copy of your credit report to make sure it is reported correctly.

6. Build a Great Payment History

It goes without saying that paying your bills on time is the key to a great credit rating. While there's not much you can do to remove accurate late payment information, you can start mailing every single payment on time from here on out. Negative information loses its potency over time: a recent late payment is weighted more heavily than a late payment four years ago.

7. Pay Off Credit Cards

This shows you use credit wisely and aren't spreading yourself thin. Keep your credit limits and outstanding balances down. Conservative use of credit is important.

8. Keep Credit Card Balances Low

If you carry a balance, you should keep it low. For a good credit score, you should keep your account balances below 50% of your available credit. For example, if you have a $4000 credit limit, you should have a balance of no more than $2000.

9. Take Care of Collection Accounts

Make sure collection accounts are paid and listed as paid on your credit report. You may be able to negotiate a reduced settlement with the collection agency to get a debt paid, but there may be consequences.

10. Satisfy Any Public Records

Satisfy any public records, such as tax liens or judgments.


Equifax 800-525-6285
Experian (formerly TRW) 888-397-3742
Trans Union 800-680-7289


Protect your identity