Your credit score plays a pivotal role in your financial life. It's used to assess your eligibility for a loan and can impact the interest rates you pay. But understanding your credit score seems impossible. It's like a complicated math equation that's just too difficult to solve.
So if you can't fully understand your credit score, how can you find ways to improve it? Here are four tips you can follow to build credit and ensure your credit score is where you want it to be:
Always pay your bills in full and on time.
Think timely bill payment doesn't affect your credit score? Think again.
Alternative credit reports provide information on your bill payment habits for rent, utilities, phone and internet bills and subscriptions. So paying your bills in full on the designated due date — or even earlier — shows that you're a responsible and reliable payer. It also increases the possibility for an improved credit score, as well as your chances of securing a loan.
Create a budget and stick to it.
Living within your means enables you to have a good credit score, and the best way to do that is to create a budget. Having a budget gives you control over your spending and saving habits. You can allot portions of your budget to expenses, paying off any debts you owe, savings and emergency funds.
Become an authorized user on someone else's card.
Instead of opening your own credit card account, ask your parents or close family member you trust to make you an authorized user of their existing credit card account. The card's credit limit will get added to your current limit and if the cardholder pays their bills on time, this will reflect positively on you.
Check your credit report for errors. If you spot any inaccuracy, report it immediately and have it corrected. According to the Federal Trade Commission, around 20 percent of those who identified errors in their credit reports experienced an increase in their credit score.
You should also monitor your accounts closely to check for any fraudulent transactions and protect yourself against identity theft.
It will definitely take time to build and boost your credit score, but your efforts will be worth it. As TransUnion Vice President Heather Battison said, "Building credit doesn't happen overnight. Create your own financial management process and make sure credit management is part of that process."