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How to Improve Your Credit Score

Practice these healthy habits consistently over time to improve your score.

Man looking at credit score on his laptop

Exercise patience and discipline while following these key steps:

  • Create and follow a spending plan, so you don’t overspend and take on extra debt.
  • Pay bills on time and do not skip payments.
  • Strive to pay off your credit card bills each month. If you have to carry a balance, keep it as low as possible and make a plan to pay it off as soon as possible.
  • Do not apply for credit you do not need.
  • Keep your credit and loan information in a safe, secure place to reduce the risk of identity theft.
  • Keep receipts and review charges on your monthly statements for accuracy. If you find a discrepancy, contact your bank, credit card, or finance company right away.
  • Communicate with your lenders if you are experiencing trouble making payments.
Portrait of Katie Casey-Macias
Tip from Katie Casey-Macias, CFP®

More than half of your credit score is made up of your payment history and amounts owed, so make your payments on time and keep your debt level low to have the biggest positive impact on your credit score. Strive to keep all five components balanced by diligently practicing good credit habits over time.

No Quick Fixes

There is no magic formula or plan that can improve your credit score overnight. Beware of for-profit credit repair services that promise to clean up your credit report fast, as sometimes these organizations charge fees for something you can do yourself for free. Do your research and proceed with caution before working with one of these organizations.

Check out resources from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to understand how to protect your rights as a consumer. If you need additional assistance, reach out to the National Foundation for Credit Counseling and connect with a certified credit counselor to help you develop an action plan to improve your credit reputation.

Couple receives financial counseling

Financial Counseling

Military OneSource financial counselors are available in-person, over the phone and video. These financial professionals understand the military community and can assist with challenges at various stages of your career.
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