Improve Your Credit Score

Check your credit report

Checking your own credit report will not adversely affect your scores and it will give you the information needed to understand what improvements may be necessary. There are several on-line services that will assist you in pulling your own credit.

Pay on time

Delinquent payments negatively impact scores.

Keep balances low

High outstanding debt, such as maxed out credit cards, lower scores. You should pay down the debt instead of moving it around. Having multiple accounts with smaller balances vs. a single account with one large balance can also lower scores.

Use caution when opening accounts

The longer the average account age is on a report, then the higher the credit score will be. Therefore, having several new accounts can adversely affect credit.

Use caution when closing accounts

A closed account will still show up on a credit report. Additionally, closing accounts lowers total available credit thereby causing all remaining balances to become a higher percentage of that total. This may lower credit scores.

Manage credit responsibly

A person with no credit cards has an unproven track record and is, therefore, considered to be a higher risk than someone who has managed credit cards responsibly.

Rate shop in a short period

Several new credit report inquiries within a short period of time are scored as comparison shopping for one new account, as opposed to multiple new accounts, and will not lower credit scores significantly.

Seek outside assistance

If overwhelmed, consider working with PHOS staff or a credit counseling service. A credit counseling service can negotiate lower interest rates and assist in setting up a payment plan. Contrary to popular belief, credit counseling does not negatively affect credit scores.