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If you are one of those people who don’t know what your credit score is, there are several free places you can find it. Macwell Solutions is a credit counseling agency who can help you with your credit score. They have professionals who can provide your FICO score, the one used by 90% of businesses that do lending.

Or have you already checked your credit score and it’s bad, that these are ways to improve the score.

1. Review Your Credit Report

You are entitled to one free credit report a year from each of the three reporting agencies and requesting one has no impact on your credit score. Review each report closely. Dispute any errors that you find. This is the closest you can get to a quick credit fix.

A government study found that 26% of consumers have at least one potentially material error. Some are simple mistakes like a misspelled name, address, or accounts belonging to someone else with the same name. Other errors are costlier, such as accounts that incorrectly are reported late or delinquent; debts listed twice; closed accounts that are reported as still open; accounts with an incorrect balance or credit limit.

Notifying the credit reporting agency of wrong or outdated information will improve your score as soon as the false information is removed. About 20% of consumers who identified mistakes saw their credit score increase.

2. Set Up Payment Reminders

Write down payment deadlines for each bill in a planner or calendar and set up reminders online. Consistently paying your bills on time can raise your score within a few months.

3. Pay More Than Once in a Billing Cycle

If you can afford it, pay down your bills every two weeks rather than once a month. This lowers your credit utilization and improves your score.

4. Contact Your Creditors

Do this immediately to set up a payment plan if you miss payment deadlines and can’t afford your monthly bills. Quickly addressing your problem can ease the negative effect of late payments and high outstanding balances.

5. Apply for New Credit Sparingly

Although it increases your total credit limit, it hurts your score if you apply for or open several new accounts in a short time.

6. Don’t Close Unused Credit Card Accounts

The age of your credit history matters and a longer history is better. If you must close credit accounts, close newer ones.

7. Be Careful Paying Off Old Debts

If a debt is “charged off” by the creditor, it means they do not expect further payments. If you make a payment on a charged off account, it reactivates the debt and lowers your credit score. This often happens when collection agencies are involved.

8. Pay Down “Maxed Out” Cards First

If you use multiple credit cards and the amount owed on one or more is close to the credit limit, pay that one off first to bring down your credit utilization rate.

9. Diversify Your Accounts

Your credit mix — mortgage, auto loans, student loans and credit cards — counts for 10% of your credit score. Adding another element to the current mix helps your score, as long as you make on-time payments.

10. Quick Loan Shopping

If you have bad credit and can’t find any other way to improve your score, you could consider taking a “quick loan.” These are typically loans for small amounts — $250 to $1,000 — that get repayment history reported to credit agencies, and can become a positive on your credit report. This is a last resort.

11. See If You Qualify for a 0% Interest Card

Several companies offer cards with 0% interest on balances, but there are caveats to this. There can be a fee for transferring the balance and the 0%offer is only good for an introductory period, typically 12-18 months. It usually takes a very good credit score to qualify for one of these.

12. Consider a Debt Consolidation Plan

There could be a temporary drop in your credit score if you enroll in a debt consolidation program from Debt Management Professionals, but as long as you make on-time payments, your score quickly improves and you are eliminating the debt that got you in trouble to start with.

13. Pay Attention to Credit Utilization

Your credit utilization rate is the amount of revolving credit you’re using divided by the amount of revolving credit you have available. It makes up 30% of your credit score and is often the most overlooked method of improving your score.  For most people, revolving credit just means credit cards, but it includes personal and home equity lines of credit as well. A good credit utilization rate never exceeds 30%. So, if you have a credit limit of $5,000, you should never use more than $1,500.

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