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How to imporve credit score

The list of 7 things you can do to improve your credit score

Credit Score Tree showing scores from 584 to 730

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What is a credit score and why does it matter

Your credit score is based on a mathematical equation that evaluates all the information on your credit report. The end result is called your FICO Score. FICO stands for Fair, Isaac, and Company, the organization that developed the scoring mechanism. This score is what will be used by companies to determine whether you are a safe financial risk or not. In order to even have a FICO score, you must have at least one open account on your credit report and that account needs to have been open for at least six months.

Your score is influenced by your financial history. Outstanding debts past 30 days, consistent late payments on monthly bills, and any collection action that has been brought against you will determine what your score will be. Your credit score will influence not only the decision to give you the loan or credit card, but also the amount of interest to attach to the line of credit. The higher your credit score, the lower your interest rate

and vice versa.

Knowing and understanding your credit report is vital to getting a mortgage, car loan, and even renting an apartment or getting a job. If you have never seen your credit report, check it out soon. There is a chance that yours may contain errors and it's critical that you get those errors cleaned up quickly.

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Seven things to do to improve your credit score

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1. Pay down your credit card balances

Paying off your installment loans (mortgage, auto, student, etc.) can help your scores, but typically not as dramatically as paying down -- or paying off -- revolving accounts such as credit cards.

Lenders like to see a big gap between the amount of credit you're using and your available credit limits. Getting your balances below 30% of the credit limit on each card can really help.

While most debt gurus recommend paying off the highest-rate card first, a better strategy here is to pay down the cards that are closest to their limits.

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2. Make more than the minimum payment each month

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