5 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score

Your credit score plays a big role in your personal finances.

And if you’re shopping for a mortgage, a higher score can save you money.

A time before credit scores...

Fair, Isaac and Company introduced the first FICO score — the most commonly used credit score — in 1989. Other companies have introduced their own scores since, including the VantageScore, which the three credit agencies debuted in 2006.

First, the basics

 
 
 
 
 

What’s in
a number?

Your credit score
breakdown

35%

Payment history

30%

Amounts owed

15%

Length of credit history

10%

Credit mix

10%

New credit1

Why it matters

A higher credit score can help you:

door

Access more credit

clock

Get loans faster

Receive lower interest rates

Credit scores without borders?

map

Every country has their own credit scoring system — and some have no system at all. If you move outside of the U.S., you’ll start your credit history over in your new home. But take note: The same principles for maintaining good credit apply.

Your credit sweet spot

While scoring can vary by credit scoring agencies, this is generally the range.2

 

Below 600

Bad

600-649

Poor

650-699

Fair

700-749

Good

750+

Excellent

Where do you stand?

700 is average credit score for U.S. consumers. That’s the highest it has ever been.3

That leaves a mark

Here’s how long certain activities remain on your credit report — and impact your score:

2 years

Credit inquiries and applications

7 years

Late payments

7 years

Collection accounts

Up to 10 years

Bankruptcy

Up to 10 years

Unpaid tax license4

Credit score got you down?

5 ways to give your score a boost

1 Keep your credit card balances low

  • Your score reflects what percentage of available credit you’re using.
  • The lower the percentage the better.
  • Keep your credit use to a minimum.

2 Pay down your credit card balances

  • Numerous balances on multiple cards can impact your score.
  • Pay down smaller balances in full to eliminate them.
  • Consider consolidating your balance into one lower-interest card or loan.

3 Pay your bills on time

  • Late payments can significantly lower your credit score.
  • Pay your bills before they’re due.
  • Set up automatic bill pay to ensure you’re on time.

4 Resolve any errors.

  • 20% of credit reports contain errors.5
  • Review your reports annually.

5 Apply all at once

  • Each credit-based application (say, a loan or a credit card) can affect your credit score.
  • To lessen the impact, coordinate your credit inquiries within a short time period.
 


  1. https://www.myfico.com/credit-education/whats-in-your-credit-score/
  2. https://www.credit.com/credit-scores/what-is-a-good-credit-score/
  3. https://www.fico.com/blogs/risk-compliance/us-average-fico-score-hits-700-a-milestone-for-consumers/
  4. https://www.experian.com/blogs/ask-experian/how-long-does-information-stay-on-your-credit-report/
  5. https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2015/01/ftc-issues-follow-study-credit-report-accuracy

The strategies mentioned in this article may have tax and legal consequences; therefore, you should consult your own attorneys and/or tax advisors to understand the tax and legal consequences of any strategies mentioned in this document. First Republic does not provide tax or legal advice. We make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained here. This information is governed by our Terms and Conditions of Use.