Your credit score, also known as a FICO score, is calculated from your credit report and can range from 300-850 – the higher the score, the better. It indicates how risky a borrower you are; the more risky you seem, the lower the amount lenders will give you – and the higher the interest rate they’ll charge you. Your credit score is used for virtually any financing activities, both for loan and depository purposes.
Credit scores consist of five factors: payment history(35%), total amount owed (30%), length of credit history (15%), new credit(10%), and types of credit used (10%). For more on how your credit score is calculated, visit www.fsb1879.com/blog/do-you-know-how-your-credit-score-is-calculated.
To improve your credit score, follow these three tips:
1. Check Your Credit Report
Getting into the habit of checking your credit report once a year keeps you on top of things and lets you see any discrepancies in their reporting. You are allowed to check your credit report for free once a year per credit bureau – the three available are Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Visit www.annualcreditreport.comto view your credit report.
2. Set Up Payment Reminders
Payment history is a major factor into your credit report – it accounts for 35 percent of the score – so you want to make sure that you are making your credit payments on time (i.e. credit cards, student loans, car loans, etc.). Set up payment reminders so they are made on time or a little bit before. If you’re looking to make payments as early as you can, contact your financial institution to see how early you are allowed to pay on your loans.
Set up automatic payments so that they are debited from your bank accounts without having to think about it. FSB I-banking allows you to set up automatic payments to internal and external accounts. The Bill Pay feature gives you the liberty to choose when and how often you’d like to make your payments (Note: you must have a valid checking account at FSB in order to qualify for Bill Pay.).
To learn more about making online loan payments, visit www.fsb1879.com/blog/online-loan-payments.
If you aren’t already enrolled in online banking and want to know how to do so, visit this page to help you get set up: www.fsb1879.com/blog/i-banking-new-user-enrollment.
3. Reduce the Amount of Debt You Owe
The amount owed makes up another 30 percent of your credit score. Reducing your debt ratio (how much balance you have vs. the total credit limit) can increase your score tremendously. Keep track of how much you owe on all of your credit accounts, the interest rate each one is charging you, and then reduce the amount of credit you use on these accounts.
If needed, develop a payment plan to start chipping away at debt. Try to make larger payments on loans with the highest interest rates first, while maintaining minimum payments on all other accounts.