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5 Tips to Improve Your Credit This Year

No matter what kind of loan you look for, your credit score will play an essential role in what kind of rates you will get. Knowing whether you have good or bad credit can make a world of difference in your financial well-being. If you have bad credit, it can feel like the whole world is against you. Bad credit can make it impossible to find a loan to continue your education or buy a new car, limit your housing options, and even make it more difficult to find a job. Knowing some tips and tricks for improving your credit score can help you find better financial footing and get you moving towards your long-term goals faster.

At PA Auto Credit, we are dedicated to helping people with bad credit find an auto loan in the Philadelphia, PA, area. Make this year your year and employ these strategies to start raising your credit score now!

Sign Up For Autopay

In theory, having multiple credit cards can help you build your credit score, as long as you make your payments on time. Late or missed payments can immediately affect your credit score and snowball if you don't stay on top of them. If you have more than one loan or credit card, you may accidentally miss a payment even if you have the money simply because you got the due dates mixed up. Signing up for autopay on your bills and accounts will help you ensure that all your accounts are paid. Depending on the credit card, you can have autopay set up to pay the minimum amount.

Check Your Credit Reports

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The best way to know how to raise your credit score is to know your score and where you have room to improve. Your credit report represents an average of reports from three separate credit agencies — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — and it has a direct effect on your purchasing power. Each report will have similar information but emphasize different factors that will raise or lower your score.

Knowing how each report grades your creditworthiness will help you understand what areas to focus on and what can be improved over the course of the coming year. Things like on-time payments, low balances on your cards, and the number of accounts you have open will have different kinds of impacts on your overall credit score.

Raise Your Credit Limit

Your credit score is calculated as a ratio and heavily considered how much of your credit you use on a month-to-month basis. If you use a large percentage of your credit, you are considered a "high-risk" borrower, and your credit score will be lower. However, if you can raise your line of credit, your percentage of usage will naturally lower. If you've recently gotten a raise or a new job, inquire about increasing your line of credit to raise your score. You can raise your credit limit through a couple of different avenues. Some issuers will apply automatic credit increases based on your past history. You can also apply for an increase online or call them directly to get that increase you're looking for.

Know Your Credit Utilization

How you use your available credit will have a direct impact on your credit score, but it can be more nuanced than simply using some of your credit. The amount of credit you use plays a significant role in how it affects your overall credit score.

Not only will how many credit cards you have open will affect your overall score, but how much of your available credit you use will as well. It’s a delicate balance to strike between not using enough and using too much of your available credit. Try to shoot for under 30% of your available credit for best results.

Say "No" to In-Store Card Offers

While opening multiple lines of credit and staying on top of the payments can help boost your credit, not all credit cards are created equal. Nearly every retail store offers its own credit card these days, and many store associates will tempt you to apply for a discount or special offer. However, every time you attempt to open a new card, your credit score will take a hit, even if you are approved for the card. These cards almost always carry very high rates of interest that cancel out your savings, so it's better to say "no" to brand credit cards. Before opening an additional line of credit, do you research which credit cards work best for your situation and offer perks that you will actually use.

Remember, seeing your credit score rise is an ongoing process, not an instant gift. You need to take a disciplined approach to it and make smart decisions. If you have bad credit and need a car loan in Philadelphia, PA, call our friendly staff at PA Auto Credit. We will work with you to get you on the road, no matter your credit score.

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