According to Business Insider, January 2012 brought the first rise in average U.S. credit scores in almost a year. But at an average of 661, credit scores are often well below where they need to be in order for consumers to secure credit in the current economic climate.

The good news is that you can work to improve your credit in some very easy ways, and can bring about a big change pretty quickly:

  • Pay on time. One of the most heavily weighted portions of your credit score is your payment history with other creditors. Because your payment history is a good indicator of how you will pay lenders in the future, it is one of the most important aspects a new or would-be lender can consider. In order to improve your credit score, pay all of your bills on time. If you have a history of paying late, then within a few months of paying on time you may see an increase in your FICO score.
  • Don't overspend. If you have a high ratio of balances to limits, this can indicate that you are spending more than you can afford to pay back. If this is the case, then you become higher risk to new creditors. Lowering the balances in your current revolving credit accounts could help improve your credit score by showing that you are using credit responsibly.
  • Stop applying for credit. Another indicator that you may be spending more than you can afford is that you continually apply for new credit. If you have many applications out for new credit cards and loans, then you are showing that you are either planning to increase your debt greatly or that you are overextended and need credit for the wrong reasons. If you have a high number of credit inquiries prompted by your applications for credit, this will lower your credit rating. In order to improve your credit rating, stop applying for new credit.
  • Keep old accounts open. The length of your credit history gives would-be lenders another way to qualify your risk. Keeping old accounts open will, over time, improve your credit rating, even if you no longer use the account.

Improving your credit score is about patience, determination and discipline. We’re here to help you with all of your credit and financial planning needs. Give us a call or stop by today to see how we can help improve your credit score and make better use of your money.