Steps You Can Take to Improve Your Credit Score (2024)

When it comes to credit scores, there is almost always room for improvement. If your score is not where you want it to be, there are several strategies you can consider to give it a boost. But first, you need a little insight into how that score is calculated. VantageScore®, the company that will generate the credit score you receive through our Digital Banking platform, uses five major categories of information. All of which was reported to the credit bureaus by your lenders to generate scores that range from 350 to 850. The higher the credit score the better. Each category is weighed differently.

Pull your credit reports to get started

Before taking the steps to improve your credit it is important tounderstand what your starting score is. The three major credit scoring bureaus, TransUnion, Equifax and Experian, will each allow you one free copy of your report a year. Since Landmark is partnered with SavvyMoney, members who use Digital Banking can access their report and score daily from VantageScore®. If you get a copy directly from the credit scoring bureaus, we suggest spreading them out by pulling one every four months.

  • If you find an error on your report, you should dispute it right away. Errors such as a misspelled name or an incorrect address can be fixed by contacting the creditor and asking for your information to be updated. If they won’t correct it, or the error is more complicated to resolve, you should dispute it directly with the credit bureaus. This can all be done online.
Steps You Can Take to Improve Your Credit Score (1)

Factors That Determine Credit Scores

Payment History:

Your payment history and whether you pay on time accounts for 40% of your credit score.

Age & Type:

The age and type of credit you have factors in for 21%. This percentage factors in how long you’ve had different kinds of credit accounts open. The longer your credit has been open and the more diverse it is, the more your score can benefit.

Credit Utilization:

Also known as credit usage, accounts for 23%. It’s the ratio between the total balance you owe and the total credit limit on your accounts. It’s best to keep your credit utilization below 30 percent — this is because if you are consistently maxing out your credit cards, it might appear that you're struggling to pay back borrowed funds or are constantly in need of money.

Reported Balances:

11% is based on your total amount of recently reported balances on your credit accounts. You’ll want to keep your balances generally low because that will suggest to lenders that you are capable of making your payments on time.


The final 5% is based on recent credit applications. Lenders could view opening multiple lines of credit in a short period of time as too risky. Multiple recent inquiries may worry lenders that you are applying to so many places because you are unable to qualify for credit or because you need money in a pinch. You should avoid opening too many accounts too quickly. When it comes to shopping for a mortgage or car loan your credit score can be affected differently depending on the scoring model that is used.

  • Both FICO® and VantageScore® are two separate scoring models that lenders will use to evaluate your credit. Data points like credit inquiries, can influence your score differently for each. Keep in mind that FICO® will count all inquiries within a 45-day period as a single inquiry, while VantageScore® counts all inquiries within a 14-day period as a single inquiry.

Want to raise your score? Here are some key things you can do.

    1. Pay your bills on time

    Remember, one day late is still considered a late payment. Any late payments can have a negative effect on your score.

    2. Pay down your credit card debt

    Avoid using more than 30% of the of the total credit available to you. Keeping your usage well below that (closer to 10%) can give your score a boost.

    3. Hang onto old card accounts

    Your score is positively impacted when you have lines of credit open over longer periods of time. If possible, avoid cancelling your credit cards when you no longer need them so you can keep that positive impact.

    4. Be thoughtful about shopping for new credit

    Every time you apply for a new card or loan, the lender takes a peek at your credit history, which will ding your score.

    5. Spread your debts around

    Having a mix of credit in your file like mortgages, student loans, auto loans or credit cards shows that you can juggle debt from multiple sources.

    Remember, time and patience are key. Any tactics you might adopt to improve your credit score won’t impact it overnight. You can expect to see changes anywhere from 12-18 months later. It can be shorter if your score is already fairly high and you’re just looking for a bit of jump.

    Understanding your credit score is an important part of managing your finances. Make sure you’re using all the tools at your disposal to help you improve your credit score over time. Visit Credit Hub within Digital Banking to get more tips on making those improvements.

    Steps You Can Take to Improve Your Credit Score (2024)


    What steps can an individual take to improve a credit score? ›

    Payment history makes up a significant chunk of your credit score, so it's important to avoid late payments. If you struggle with on-time payments, consider using automatic payments for your accounts or setting up alerts so you are reminded to pay. Keep your credit utilization rate low.

    What is the main way to improve your credit score? ›

    The road to a healthier credit score
    • Pay bills on time. ...
    • Watch your credit card balances. ...
    • Don't mindlessly open new credit card accounts. ...
    • Alert banks and card companies when you move. ...
    • Check your accounts online. ...
    • Pay off delinquent bills. ...
    • Look for inaccuracies.

    How credit score can be improved? ›

    Maintain a healthy credit mix: It is better to have a right combination of secured loans (such as Home Loan, Auto Loan) and unsecured loans (such as Personal Loan, Credit Cards) of a long and short tenor to build a good credit score. Too many unsecured loans may be viewed negatively.

    What are 5 steps someone can take to establish their credit score? ›

    Here are five tips that can help you get started.
    • Apply for a starter credit card. One way to establish credit is to apply for a credit card. ...
    • Become an authorized user. ...
    • Take out a credit-builder loan. ...
    • Set up a joint account or get a loan with a co-signer. ...
    • See whether paying your bills could help.
    Jun 22, 2023

    What is a credit score and how can I improve it? ›

    Factors that contribute to a higher credit score include a history of on-time payments, low balances on your credit cards, a mix of different credit card and loan accounts, older credit accounts, and minimal inquiries for new credit.

    What are some steps you might take to improve your credit score quizlet? ›

    You can increase your credit score by paying bills on time, using a low percentage of your available credit, and using a variety of credit types. Opening several new lines of credit at once can hurt your credit score.

    What are 3 ways to build your credit score? ›

    There is no secret formula to building a strong credit score, but there are some guidelines that can help.
    • Pay your loans on time, every time. ...
    • Don't get close to your credit limit. ...
    • A long credit history will help your score. ...
    • Only apply for credit that you need. ...
    • Fact-check your credit reports.
    Sep 1, 2020

    What is #1 factor in improving your credit score? ›

    1. Payment History: 35% Making debt payments on time every month benefits your credit scores more than any other single factor—and just one payment made 30 days late can do significant harm to your scores. An account sent to collections, a foreclosure or a bankruptcy can have even deeper, longer-lasting consequences.

    What are two major steps to improving your credit score? ›

    Steps to Improve Your Credit Scores
    • Build Your Credit File. ...
    • Don't Miss Payments. ...
    • Catch Up On Past-Due Accounts. ...
    • Pay Down Revolving Account Balances. ...
    • Limit How Often You Apply for New Accounts.
    Apr 18, 2021

    How long does it take to improve credit score? ›

    The length of time it will take to improve your credit scores depends on your unique financial situation. At the earliest, you may see a change between 30 and 45 days after you have taken steps to positively impact your credit reports.

    How do I fix my bad credit? ›

    Here are seven steps you can take to begin improving your credit score.
    1. Check Your Credit Score And Credit Report. ...
    2. Fix or Dispute Any Errors. ...
    3. Always Pay Your Bills On Time. ...
    4. Keep Your Credit Utilization Ratio Below 30% ...
    5. Pay Down Other Debts. ...
    6. Keep Old Credit Cards Open. ...
    7. Don't Take Out Credit Unless You Need It.
    Feb 8, 2024

    How can I build my credit at 20? ›

    Consistently making on-time loan payments can have a big impact in building positive credit history. Even if you defer making payments until after you finish school, student loans can help you establish good credit—if you make your payments on time every month once you start paying them back.

    What are the 5 C's of credit? ›

    The five Cs of credit are important because lenders use these factors to determine whether to approve you for a financial product. Lenders also use these five Cs—character, capacity, capital, collateral, and conditions—to set your loan rates and loan terms.

    What are three steps you can take to improve your credit? ›

    Follow these 3 steps to improve your credit score
    • Pay your balance on time, every time. There's no quicker way to hurt your credit score than missing payments, which is why you should always make sure to pay your bill on time. ...
    • Keep your balance low. ...
    • Review your credit report for any mistakes.
    Jul 6, 2021

    Which steps can an individual take to improve a credit score brainly? ›

    Final answer:

    To increase their credit score, a consumer can use their credit card responsibly, pay their mortgage on time, and get pre-approval at multiple banks when buying a new home.

    How can I improve my credit score in 30 days? ›

    Steps you can take to raise your credit score quickly include:
    1. Lower your credit utilization rate.
    2. Ask for late payment forgiveness.
    3. Dispute inaccurate information on your credit reports.
    4. Add utility and phone payments to your credit report.
    5. Check and understand your credit score.
    6. The bottom line about building credit fast.

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