How do I improve my credit score?

There are lots of ways to improve your credit score, but it’s much more important to focus on improving what’s in your credit report than obsessing over your credit score. Here are some sensible tips to build or maintain a solid credit score:

  • Pay all of your bills on time. How promptly you pay your bills has the strongest influence on your credit score.
  • Apply for credit only when you need it. Don’t open too many accounts too frequently, since opening multiple accounts within a short time span counts against you.
  • Keep your outstanding balances low. A good rule of thumb? Keep balances below 30 percent of the credit limit on any account.
  • Reduce your total debt. It’s not necessarily bad to owe some money, since it helps to establish a record of responsible credit use, but it’s not good to owe too much money. Consider paying down some of your outstanding loans.
  • Build up a credit history. Maintaining a timely payment history for a mix of account types (e.g., credit cards, auto, mortgage) over a longer period can really boost your score.