How you can impact your score

Different formulas are used to calculate credit scores, but six actions can improve it and five will hurt it.

Improve your score

Do these six things to improve your credit score:

  • Consistently pay your bills on time
  • Keep credit cards balances that are 70% or less of your spending limit
  • Only apply for and open new credit accounts when you need them
  • Have high income relative to how much you owe
  • Have a good credit history for a long period of time
  • Have a mix of revolving credit (e.g., credit cards) and installment credit (e.g., a car loan)

Lower your score

Avoid doing these five things, which will lower your credit score.

  • Pay some bills late
  • Have credit cards balances near your maximum spending limit
  • Apply for new credit cards frequently, whether you need them or not
  • Have a very brief credit history
  • Exceed your credit card spending limit

If you never use credit cards, you’re not establishing a credit history. To improve your score, it’s actually better to use credit cards in moderation, keep your balances low, and pay on time.

Click the Next button to learn about credit reports.