5 Ways to Improve Your Credit

Bad credit is more than just a negative mark on a consumer’s personal finances; it can lower his or her chances of getting approved for a loan. Whether it’s a mortgage, car loan or personal loan, lenders may reject a consumer’s application without good credit; even if a consumer gets approved for a loan, lenders usually place higher interest rates on loans to consumers with bad credit because of their increased risk of default. Therefore, consumers should work to improve their credit in the following ways.

Reduce Hard Credit Inquiries

Soft credit inquiries, such as those initiated by a landlord or employer as part of a background check, won’t affect a consumer’s credit score. According to Clark Howard, however, hard queries can influence a consumer’s credit score by 10 percent. A hard query is a request for a consumer’s credit history. It provides credit card companies and lenders with more detailed and thorough information on the consumer’s credit. Too many hard queries look bad and will lower a consumer’s credit score.

Build Credit Early

There is a difference between bad credit and not enough established credit. The sooner a consumer begins building credit, the better. This is because the age of a consumer’s credit affects his or her credit score. A consumer with a 10-year-old revolving credit account will typically have a higher credit score than a consumer with a two- or three-year-old account.  It’s wise to gradually start building your credit early, so when big purchases such as cars and homes come into play, your credit history is well established.

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