I am a credit agency’s dream — I have never made a late payment, I always pay my bills early, and I have ample savings.
My husband, on the other hand, did not take his credit as seriously as I did. He missed a couple of payments, only paid the minimum amount due and even paid an annual fee for a credit card.
These things did not sit well with me — we needed to initiate “Operation: Improve Your Credit Score.”
I was determined to help my husband raise his credit score so that when it was time for us to make a big purchase, such as buying a car or even a house, we would be offered the most competitive rates available.
Here are the steps we took to help raise my husband’s credit score:
1. Pay bills on time
We started paying every bill on time by setting up automatic payments. This made sure we never missed a bill.
2. Pay off debt
One of the items that contributes to your credit score is your debt to credit ratio.
This means if you have high debt and only a little bit of credit, you have a high debt to credit ratio. You can either pay down your debt or raise your credit. We chose to do both.
3. Increase the line of credit
After working to pay off his credit card debt, we then chose to increase my husband’s line of credit. This was as easy as calling the credit card companies and asking for an increase.
You could also open a new credit card to increase your overall credit limit.
4. Close annual fee cards
While most agencies advise against closing a credit card, it is also important to stay smart.
There is no reason to pay for an annual fee on a credit card when you can use a free credit card to build your credit. We immediately closed the credit card with an annual fee and opened up one without a fee.
5. Check your credit report
It is important to check your credit report to make sure there are no erroneous charges. You are entitled to a free copy of your credit report every year, through annualcreditreport.com.
6. Give it time
You will need a few years to see your credit score improve. So give it time.
By implementing these techniques over the last three years, we were able to raise my husband’s credit score from the high 600s to the mid-700s, which puts him in the good to great credit rating.
Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.