You Can’t Ignore Your Credit Score Forever — Here’s How To Get It Up

Illustration: The Money Manual
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Everyone knows their credit score is important – but for those who don’t have the best score, it can often feel like a challenging thing to prioritize. Let’s be honest, being told to get your credit score up is the financial equivalent of being told to eat your vegetables.

Here’s the thing: Your credit score impacts the interest rates you’ll end up with for car loans, mortgages, you name it, and can also impact if you get approved for certain things like renting an apartment. Some employers even check your credit score before hiring you!

Now that we’ve hopefully scared you a bit as to why your credit score is so important, here are a few key steps to take to get your score up. And remember, credit score can be from 300-850 – the higher the number, the better your credit score.

Get Your Financial Ducks In A Row

The most important first step you can take to get your credit score to a good place is to get a full picture of your debts.

SoFi Relay* is one of our favorite budgeting apps because it makes doing this incredibly easy. When you sign-up you’ll be able to link everything from your checking and savings accounts to investment and retirement accounts to your credit cards, student loans, and mortgages so you can see your entire financial life in one place. Even if for some reason you aren’t able to add a specific account, you can add the account manually, so you’ll get a full picture of your finances.

From then on, you’ll have a birds-eye view of your financial life. From there, Sofi Relay will also help you better your credit score. It will easily enable you to track your credit score (it does a soft pull of your score so your actual score isn’t impacted) and will alert you if it changes.

It also acts as a guide of sorts to help you understand what is impacting your score. It will help you stay up to date on changes to key factors contributing to your credit score and make suggestions for things you can do to influence your score to get it up!

Avoid Late Payments At All Costs

FICO remains the most popular credit score, and it’s important to understand what components determine it. Understand those components, and you’ll understand what you need to do to get your credit score up.

They are:

  • Payment history (35%)
  • Credit usage (30%)
  • Age of credit accounts (15%)
  • Credit mix (10%)
  • New credit inquiries (10%)

Because payment history makes up such a key part of your credit score it is so important that you make payments on your debt on time – even if you are making just the minimum payments. If you need a little bit of help in this department set calendar reminders for yourself to make payments or set up automatic bill payments.

Keep Your Credit Utilization In Check

Your credit utilization is the amount of your credit limit that you are using at a given time. It’s ideal to pay off all your credit cards and debts in full every month. We know, that’s not always possible, so strive to utilize 30% or less of your total credit limit.

Sofi Relay can be a great help in this department as it actively monitors your utilization and payment progress. In other words, it does the hard work for you!

One tip to work on your credit utilization besides paying down your debts as much as possible is to ask for credit limit increases. Just make sure to not increase your balances if you get a higher credit limit.

Don’t Request New Lines Of Credit If You Can Help It

Every time you request a new line of credit, there will be what is called a hard pull on your credit report. New credit inquiries impact your credit score directly, so this is something to be very cautious about. Don’t request new lines of credit if you can help it!

Don’t Wait Too Long To Work On Your Credit Score

Working on your credit score is not something to delay. Signing up for Sofi Relay is a great first step – and its 100 percent free to use.

Here’s how to get started with SoFi Relay:
  1. Become a SoFi user if you aren’t already — either via the web or the SoFi app
  2. Once you’ve done that, activate Sofi Relay
  3. Connect all of your financial accounts to the SoFi Relay dashboard so you can see your net worth, plus credit monitoring and customized spending tracking
  4. That’s it! You’ll be well on your way to meeting your financial goals

Just think about what you will be able to accomplish once you improve your credit score!

*SoFi’s Relay tool offers users the ability to connect both in-house accounts and external accounts using Plaid, Inc’s service. When you use the service to connect an account, you authorize SoFi to obtain account information from any external accounts as set forth in SoFi’s Terms of Use. SoFi assumes no responsibility for the timeliness, accuracy, deletion, non-delivery, or failure to store any user data, loss of user data, communications, or personalization settings. You shall confirm the accuracy of Plaid data through sources independent of SoFi. The credit score provided to you is a VantageScore® based on TransUnion® (the “Processing Agent”) data.