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Having a decent credit score can be a pretty important aspect when it comes time to apply for a mortgage, a loan, or buying any big ticket items like a car. Many people wait too long to realize that their credit score is on the lower end and panic to get it increased. The first step is knowing what your credit score is, then determining appropriate ways of increasing it. One of the best services of not only getting your credit score, but also to closely monitor changes on it is to utilize a credit score monitoring service, such as TransUnion. Click the banner below to learn more on how they can help you keep track of your credit score and monitor any changes to it.

Now, if your credit score isn’t as high as you would like it to be, here are three tips for increasing it. These strategies won’t increase it overnight, but will help you to increase it over a longer period of time, such as a year.

1. Pay Your Bills on Time

This seems like an obvious one, but this is really the main reason most people have lower credit scores. Paying your bills on time is the most impactful aspect that affects our credit scores. The more bills you pay on time, the better your credit score will be. A few tools to help you out with this would be to set up auto-pay with yours bills that will automatically take the money out of your bank account. If you don’t feel comfortable setting up auto-pay, you can also do email alerts where you’ll get an email alerting you that a bill is coming up. This will give you time to ensure you have the money ready in your bank account and allow you to submit the payment.

2. Apply for New Credit Cards Only As Needed

With all the new offers that credit card companies are offering with points and rewards, it can be hard not to want to apply and then cancel credit cards just to get those rewards. However, this can take it’s toll on your credit score. Doing this can hurt you in one of two ways: (1) Each time you apply for credit card it usually results in a hard inquiry on your credit score and each time you cancel a credit card, it can increase your credit utilization ratio – both of which can hurt your credit score; and (2) Having multiple credit cards open at the same time usually results in having money due on each of these credit cards, which causes more spending and therefore, more debt which will hurt your credit score.

3. Keep a Close Eye on Credit Reports

This is important because you can actually dispute any inaccuracies on your credit report. Utilizing a credit score monitoring service allows you to see and ensure all information on your credit report is indeed correct. There are many situations where incorrect information ends up on an individuals credit report and it ends up decreasing their credit score because of it. Keeping a close eye on this ensures that that won’t happen.