3 ways to improve a less than perfect credit score

WASHINGTON — Your credit history might be of interest to everyone from potential employers to insurance companies, so an economics expert thinks fixing less-than-perfect credit should be on to-do lists for 2019.

Here are his three suggestions:

Pay whatever’s possible

The largest portion of your credit score, 35 percent, is based on payment history.

“Pay at least your minimum payment each and every month,” Virginia Tech assistant professor in agricultural and applied economics Travis Mountain said in a news release. “Ideally you would be paying your credit card balance in full every month.”

Limit new applications

If you anticipate taking out a big loan for something such as a home or car, make sure it’s been at least a few months since you’ve applied for some other form of credit, Mountain advises, for a few reasons.

“It will lower your average length of credit (history) and it will count as new credit, which will possibly increase the cost of your home or auto loan,” Mountain said.

Don’t max out your cards

Thirty percent of your credit score is based on the difference between available and used credit.

“Reduce your credit card balance. The proportion of your credit card balance to your credit limit represents the second largest component of your credit score,” Mountain said. “Reducing this proportion is the quickest way to improve your credit score.”

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