Approaches to Improving Your Credit Score
Lines of credit are a significant resource for both individuals and businesses. They demand a high degree of financial responsibility: overuse of too many sources of credit can have a dramatic negative effect on your credit score. For those individuals who have reported credit scores on the lower side of the spectrum, recovery is often achieved through a mixture of careful oversight and management strategies focused spending consciousness and mindful repayment of existing debts.
Consistency is Key
There is one part of recovering and improving creditworthiness that does not seem quite so logical at first blush, especially if one’s first instinct is to scale back on spending and focus on catching up to existing debts. Part of the rebuilding process actually involves maintaining lines of credit and continuing to use them – in a moderated, predictable way over time.
Credit experts recommend leaving old accounts open, to improve what is called the credit-utilization ratio – the ratio of debt to available credit. As long as small transactions are made on a periodic basis (just often enough to avoid stagnancy) the existence of these accounts may benefit you in the long run.
A Little Goes a Long Way
For any lines of credit that you continue to have available, it is recommended that your use of that credit be on the low side. Varying sources report that a maximum of anywhere from 35% to as low as 10% of the available credit from a given source should be used in order to help improve your credit score profile.
Stay on Target
In addition to using the right amount of your available credit and keeping it open as a resource, it is also of the utmost importance to make prompt and regular payments in order for your credit score to improve over time. Time, incidentally, is an important factor in the improvement of one’s credit score: it may take longer to recover from more serious lapses in repayment.
Make Your Efforts Heard
It’s great to make regular payments and keep your utilization ratio strong. However, the work you’re doing to improve your score must be reported to a credit bureau by the issuers of the credit. Make sure that any credit sources you may use are in fact reporting to a bureau. There are different bureaus out there (including specific ones for business credit), so do your homework. With some dilligence, patience and care, your credit score will begin to rebound!