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3 Semi-Easy Ways to Boost Your Credit Score (and Get a Free Credit Check)

by Shawanda Greene

Earlier this week, I tweeted the following:

Getting a car lease

Surprisingly, many of my Twitter friends chimed in to share their opinion on which is a smarter option: buying or leasing a car.

One Twitter follower asked me if I financed or paid cash for my vehicle. Completely unembarrassed by hypocrisy, I replied,

I financed my vehicle

Clearly my position on borrowing money has shifted a bit. Two years ago, I would’ve ended my answer with “before I knew better.”

No buts.

No qualifying statements.

Y’all know me. Debt freedom is worth far more than a depreciating asset I can’t afford. Heck, I struggle with taking out a mortgage to buy a modest home.

But that’s just me.

If you insist on taking out a loan, for any reason, you’ll need excellent credit to secure the best interest rates.

I’d rather you cut yourself with the sterile edge of a sheet of paper than the rusty blade of a machete. So, I threw together a mini crash course on how to increase your credit score.

Obtain a copy of your Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion credit reports.

Although you can run a free credit check through AnnualCreditReport.com once a year for each major credit reporting agency, you won’t receive a score. With that said, the service won’t cost you a dime.

Inspect each credit report for incorrect information.

Is your student loan categorized as a revolving account? Is the real age of your home equity line of credit older than what’s shown on your credit report? Is a credit card limit higher than what’s recorded?

Do you see accounts that don’t belong to you? Late payments that were paid on time? Applications for credit you didn’t make?

My apologies for slapping you with a litany of questions, but this stuff matters.

Dispute inaccurate information with the applicable credit bureau and the knucklehead who provided it, immediately.

Decrease your credit utilization ratio below 10%

Simply put, your credit utilization ratio is how much credit you’re using compared to your total available credit.

There’s a rumor floating around that cancelling credit cards improves your credit score. Balderdash! It ain’t true!

Close a revolving line of credit and you risk harming your credit score in two ways:

1) You shorten the average age of your credit accounts.

2) You increase your credit utilization ratio.

Leave zero balance revolving accounts open, and pay down the outstanding amount on the others.

Many creditors report card balances as of the statement date. Meaning, even if you pay off your balance after the statement date and before the due date, your utilization ratio may seem unreasonably high.

So, submit your payment before the statement date. 

If you can’t pay your revolving accounts in full each month, then why are you going deeper into debt, huh?! Stop this foolishness now before you render yourself insolvent.

You could also request a credit limit increase on your existing accounts. Ask the representative at your credit issuer whether a “hard pull” or “hard inquiry” is required to get a higher limit.

Keep your credit shopping period short, say, 14 days or less.

For instance, many scoring models count applications for new credit within a small window as one hard inquiry. In case you’re wondering why this matters, creditors get a bit squeamish when your behavior suggests you desperately need a loan.

If you look like you’re a prudent consumer hunting for the best interest rate, the damage to your credit score is minimal.

What tricks have you used to quickly boost your credit score?

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{ 42 comments… read them below or add one }

Kelly@FinancialFixers October 5, 2012 at 11:14 AM

I was lucky enough to have a mother who is pretty money savvy and thought about helping me build my credit. When I moved away for school, she helped me open a credit card that I would use for grocery shopping and small stuff. This allowed me to build good credit along with her and eventually get a good deal on a car lease when I graduated.
Kelly@FinancialFixers recently posted..The Real Costs of Running a Blog BusinessMy Profile

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Christine@FinancialFreedom October 8, 2012 at 10:30 AM

This article was very insightful. I on the other hand purchased my vehicle with a low interest rate due to my credit which is amazing. I wanted to point out another key thing that stuck out to me which was when you said, “submit your payment before the statement date”. This is very important because it can make or break your credit score especially if you keep making late payments.
Christine@FinancialFreedom recently posted..10 Biggest Money Mistakes Even Smart People MakeMy Profile

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Virtual Offices October 12, 2014 at 1:24 AM

Then send the postcard to all of the addresses in your area,
and try to draw customers in. Make the process
pain-free with debt collection software for a small business that automates this tedious
process and adds to your company’s bottom line. What you give away doesn’t have to be
costly, but it must be valuable.
Virtual Offices recently posted..Virtual OfficesMy Profile

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oklahoma city virtual offices October 13, 2014 at 4:07 PM

Banner ads typically include graphics and text which
entice Internet users to click on the advertisement. As with everything else, it
is only the mindset of the entrepreneur that dictates the success and
failure of a company. What you give away doesn’t have to be costly, but it
must be valuable.
oklahoma city virtual offices recently posted..oklahoma city virtual officesMy Profile

Reply

oklahoma city virtual offices - mapquest October 15, 2014 at 12:43 PM

The equipment itself is not really particularly expensive these times, so
leasing can cost considerably more in the medium-to-long term.
Platforms: Android, Blackberry, i – Phone, i – Pad, Windows Phone.
For clients, you can target neighborhoods, communities or even companies.
oklahoma city virtual offices – mapquest recently posted..oklahoma city virtual offices – mapquestMy Profile

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Rick Joyner loves Google October 29, 2014 at 9:58 AM

Thanks a lot for sharing this with all of us you really know what you’re
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las vegas virtual office - mapquest December 12, 2014 at 10:37 AM

Then send the postcard to all of the addresses in your area, and try to draw customers in. When job offers do
come and I’ll admit, some companies may fear hiring you because they fear
a former owner being an employee, negotiate the best salary you can along with the best benefits you can for you
and your family. What you give away doesn’t have to be costly, but it must be valuable.
las vegas virtual office – mapquest recently posted..las vegas virtual office – mapquestMy Profile

Reply

Eazofficespace.weebly.com December 19, 2014 at 8:24 AM

Look into their years of experience in managing small business accounts so that
you can get professional advice on various financial
matters. If, on the other hand, you are not successful in paying your loans back, you are
going to develop “bad credit. Clients do not look no matter whether you’ve a small or big budgeted communication service.
Eazofficespace.weebly.com recently posted..Eazofficespace.weebly.comMy Profile

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virtual office chicago December 31, 2014 at 12:00 PM

The following are the benefits that you have to be aware of the most.
Make the process pain-free with debt collection software for a small business that automates this tedious process and adds to your company’s bottom line.
Before you do this, examine the publication online to ensure that its
website is user friendly.
virtual office chicago recently posted..virtual office chicagoMy Profile

Reply

small businesses January 5, 2015 at 1:25 PM

The equipment itself is not really particularly expensive these times,
so leasing can cost considerably more in the medium-to-long term.
If, on the other hand, you are not successful in paying your loans back, you are going to develop “bad credit. Two: Increase in income – When you are able to increase your traffic to the business, you will easily be able to also increase your income.
small businesses recently posted..small businessesMy Profile

Reply

virtual office January 5, 2015 at 1:45 PM

The equipment itself is not really particularly expensive these times, so leasing can cost considerably more in the medium-to-long term.
Further, amount of loan must be need-based, subject to ceiling of Rs 25,000 per
borrower for purchase of machinery or equipment
etc, and meeting working capital requirement of one operating cycle.
Selling the same things, to the same market, in the same way.
virtual office recently posted..virtual officeMy Profile

Reply

Quinton January 14, 2015 at 1:37 PM

Yet, there are grants that are made for equipment and training.

If, on the other hand, you are not successful in paying your loans back,
you are going to develop “bad credit. Before you do this, examine the publication online to ensure that its website is user friendly.
Quinton recently posted..QuintonMy Profile

Reply

Virtual Offices Orlando January 16, 2015 at 9:07 AM

Tax law about businesses in the USA is ever
changing. You can know all the ins and outs of business and can run a restaurant without fail; but would you know the first thing about installing the kitchen grills.
Always choose a new account, and look for a specialized bank whenever
possible.
Virtual Offices Orlando recently posted..Virtual Offices OrlandoMy Profile

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sheryloverton.mywapblog.com August 23, 2015 at 3:58 AM

Look into their years of experience in managing small business accounts so that you can get professional advice on various financial matters.
Platforms: Android, Blackberry, i – Phone, i – Pad, Windows Phone.

Clients do not look no matter whether you’ve a small or big
budgeted communication service.
sheryloverton.mywapblog.com recently posted..sheryloverton.mywapblog.comMy Profile

Reply

Francisco August 26, 2015 at 6:55 PM

Banner ads typically include graphics and text which entice Internet users
to click on the advertisement. Make the process pain-free with debt collection software for a small business that automates this tedious process and adds to your company’s bottom line.
Two: Increase in income – When you are able to increase your traffic to the
business, you will easily be able to also increase your income.
Francisco recently posted..FranciscoMy Profile

Reply

lawn maintenance August 31, 2015 at 9:53 AM

Look into their years of experience in managing
small business accounts so that you can get professional advice on various financial matters.
A lot of people have small business ideas that
they often fail to put into practice either because they
lack the money to make an investment or because the fear to lose everything.

Always choose a new account, and look for a specialized bank whenever possible.
lawn maintenance recently posted..lawn maintenanceMy Profile

Reply

Charlotte invisalign September 2, 2015 at 10:04 AM

If you’re educated (or seeking an education)
you will probably find a ton of opportunity in a small town. You can know
all the ins and outs of business and can run a restaurant without fail; but would you know the first thing about installing the kitchen grills.
A customer is injured while using a product you sold and files a claim for indemnity.
Charlotte invisalign recently posted..Charlotte invisalignMy Profile

Reply

south florida September 4, 2015 at 1:19 PM

Yet, there are grants that are made for equipment and training.
When job offers do come and I’ll admit, some companies may fear
hiring you because they fear a former owner being an employee, negotiate the best salary you can along with the best benefits you can for you and your family.
For clients, you can target neighborhoods, communities or even companies.
south florida recently posted..south floridaMy Profile

Reply

pavers September 4, 2015 at 1:30 PM

Tax law about businesses in the USA is ever
changing. Platforms: Android, Blackberry, i – Phone, i – Pad,
Windows Phone. A customer is injured while using a product you sold and
files a claim for indemnity.
pavers recently posted..paversMy Profile

Reply

Jina September 8, 2015 at 8:58 AM

Look into their years of experience in managing small business accounts so that
you can get professional advice on various financial
matters. When job offers do come and I’ll admit, some companies may fear hiring you because they fear a former owner being an employee, negotiate
the best salary you can along with the best benefits you
can for you and your family. Two: Increase in income – When you are able to increase your traffic to the business,
you will easily be able to also increase your income.
Jina recently posted..JinaMy Profile

Reply

landscape lighting September 9, 2015 at 12:32 PM

Yet, there are grants that are made for equipment and training.
You can know all the ins and outs of business and can run a
restaurant without fail; but would you know the first thing
about installing the kitchen grills. Clients do not look no
matter whether you’ve a small or big budgeted communication service.
landscape lighting recently posted..landscape lightingMy Profile

Reply

Neil September 29, 2015 at 1:15 PM

The following are the benefits that you have to be aware of the most.
When job offers do come and I’ll admit, some companies may fear hiring you because
they fear a former owner being an employee, negotiate
the best salary you can along with the best benefits you can for you and your family.
When travelling, for instance, it would be possible to login to your
accounting database and enter transactions on the road.
Neil recently posted..NeilMy Profile

Reply

VIRTUAL OFFICE Miami October 2, 2015 at 11:05 AM

Yet, there are grants that are made for equipment and training.
As with everything else, it is only the mindset of the entrepreneur
that dictates the success and failure of a company. Clients do
not look no matter whether you’ve a small or big budgeted communication service.
VIRTUAL OFFICE Miami recently posted..VIRTUAL OFFICE MiamiMy Profile

Reply

virtual office space October 2, 2015 at 11:11 AM

Tax law about businesses in the USA is ever changing.
You can know all the ins and outs of business and can run a
restaurant without fail; but would you know the first thing about installing the kitchen grills.
Clients do not look no matter whether you’ve a small or big budgeted communication service.
virtual office space recently posted..virtual office spaceMy Profile

Reply

Marilou October 2, 2015 at 11:29 AM

Yet, there are grants that are made for equipment and training.
When job offers do come and I’ll admit, some companies may fear hiring you because they fear
a former owner being an employee, negotiate the best salary you
can along with the best benefits you can for you and your family.
Always choose a new account, and look for a specialized bank whenever possible.
Marilou recently posted..MarilouMy Profile

Reply

LAS VEGAS October 26, 2015 at 12:03 PM

The following are the benefits that you have to be aware of the most.

Further, amount of loan must be need-based, subject
to ceiling of Rs 25,000 per borrower for purchase of machinery or
equipment etc, and meeting working capital requirement of one
operating cycle. What you give away doesn’t have to be
costly, but it must be valuable.
LAS VEGAS recently posted..LAS VEGASMy Profile

Reply

opus virtual office November 10, 2015 at 9:03 AM

Banner ads typically include graphics and text which entice Internet users to click on the advertisement.
If, on the other hand, you are not successful in paying your loans
back, you are going to develop “bad credit. A customer is injured while using a product you sold and files a claim for indemnity.
opus virtual office recently posted..opus virtual officeMy Profile

Reply

builder November 16, 2015 at 10:32 AM

Look into their years of experience in managing small business accounts
so that you can get professional advice on various financial matters.
You can know all the ins and outs of business and can run a restaurant without fail; but would you know the first
thing about installing the kitchen grills. For clients,
you can target neighborhoods, communities or even companies.
builder recently posted..builderMy Profile

Reply

Fannie November 20, 2015 at 8:06 AM

Then send the postcard to all of the addresses in your area,
and try to draw customers in. If, on the other hand,
you are not successful in paying your loans back, you are
going to develop “bad credit. When travelling, for instance, it would be possible to login to your accounting database and enter transactions on the road.
Fannie recently posted..FannieMy Profile

Reply

las Vegas VIRTUAL OFFICE November 26, 2015 at 2:43 AM

Look into their years of experience in managing small business accounts
so that you can get professional advice on various financial matters.
Further, amount of loan must be need-based, subject to ceiling of Rs 25,000 per borrower for purchase of machinery or equipment etc, and meeting working
capital requirement of one operating cycle. Always choose a new account, and look for a specialized bank whenever possible.
las Vegas VIRTUAL OFFICE recently posted..las Vegas VIRTUAL OFFICEMy Profile

Reply

virtual offices January 19, 2016 at 6:29 AM

Tax law about businesses in the USA is ever changing.
A lot of people have small business ideas that they often fail to
put into practice either because they lack the money to
make an investment or because the fear to lose everything.

Clients do not look no matter whether you’ve a small
or big budgeted communication service.
virtual offices recently posted..virtual officesMy Profile

Reply

San Antonio Texas January 27, 2016 at 9:34 AM

Banner ads typically include graphics and text which entice Internet users to click on the advertisement.
A lot of people have small business ideas that they often fail to put into practice either because they lack the money to make
an investment or because the fear to lose everything. Two:
Increase in income – When you are able to increase your traffic to the business, you will easily be able
to also increase your income.
San Antonio Texas recently posted..San Antonio TexasMy Profile

Reply

virtual offices January 28, 2016 at 8:29 AM

The following are the benefits that you have to be aware of the most.
A lot of people have small business ideas that
they often fail to put into practice either because they lack the money to make an investment or because the
fear to lose everything. Selling the same things, to the same market,
in the same way.
virtual offices recently posted..virtual officesMy Profile

Reply

Jasmin February 3, 2016 at 4:15 AM

Look into their years of experience in managing small
business accounts so that you can get professional advice
on various financial matters. Platforms: Android, Blackberry, i – Phone, i – Pad, Windows Phone.
For clients, you can target neighborhoods, communities or even companies.
Jasmin recently posted..JasminMy Profile

Reply

opus virtual office review March 10, 2016 at 7:55 AM

The following are the benefits that you have to be aware of the most.
Without enough traffic, you will never have enough customers and this means
you won’t be making enough money. For clients, you can target neighborhoods,
communities or even companies.
opus virtual office review recently posted..opus virtual office reviewMy Profile

Reply

las vegas VIRTUAL OFFICE March 16, 2016 at 10:33 AM

Look into their years of experience in managing small business accounts
so that you can get professional advice on various financial matters.
A lot of people have small business ideas that they often fail to put into practice either because they lack the money
to make an investment or because the fear to lose everything.

Before you do this, examine the publication online to ensure that its
website is user friendly.
las vegas VIRTUAL OFFICE recently posted..las vegas VIRTUAL OFFICEMy Profile

Reply

washington DC VIRTUAL OFFICE March 30, 2016 at 9:48 AM

Banner ads typically include graphics and text which entice
Internet users to click on the advertisement. If, on the other hand, you are not
successful in paying your loans back, you are going to develop
“bad credit. When travelling, for instance, it would be possible to login to your accounting database and enter transactions on the road.
washington DC VIRTUAL OFFICE recently posted..washington DC VIRTUAL OFFICEMy Profile

Reply

invisalign orthodontists May 5, 2016 at 3:35 PM

Banner ads typically include graphics and text which entice Internet users to
click on the advertisement. When job offers do come and I’ll admit,
some companies may fear hiring you because they fear a former owner being an employee, negotiate the best
salary you can along with the best benefits you can for you and your family.
Always choose a new account, and look for a specialized bank whenever possible.
invisalign orthodontists recently posted..invisalign orthodontistsMy Profile

Reply

Alta May 22, 2016 at 11:46 PM

Then send the postcard to all of the addresses in your area, and try to draw customers in. A lot
of people have small business ideas that they often fail to put into practice
either because they lack the money to make an investment or because the fear to lose everything.
For clients, you can target neighborhoods, communities or even companies.
Alta recently posted..AltaMy Profile

Reply

Lucille June 9, 2016 at 10:14 AM

The equipment itself is not really particularly expensive
these times, so leasing can cost considerably more in the medium-to-long term.
Further, amount of loan must be need-based, subject to ceiling of Rs
25,000 per borrower for purchase of machinery or equipment etc, and meeting working capital requirement of one operating cycle.
For clients, you can target neighborhoods, communities or even companies.
Lucille recently posted..LucilleMy Profile

Reply

Internet Marketing June 9, 2016 at 10:16 AM

Starting a small business with no money may sound impossible
but there are ways to kick off a very profitable business without ever spending a single dime
of your own money. Further, amount of loan must be need-based, subject to
ceiling of Rs 25,000 per borrower for purchase of machinery or equipment
etc, and meeting working capital requirement of one operating cycle.
A customer is injured while using a product you sold and files a claim for indemnity.
Internet Marketing recently posted..Internet MarketingMy Profile

Reply

local seo June 9, 2016 at 10:19 AM

Starting a small business with no money may sound impossible
but there are ways to kick off a very profitable business
without ever spending a single dime of your own money.
Platforms: Android, Blackberry, i – Phone, i – Pad, Windows Phone.
When travelling, for instance, it would be possible to login to your accounting database and enter
transactions on the road.
local seo recently posted..local seoMy Profile

Reply

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