Credit Scores...How to get Yours UP

Published On: October 15, 2011

Found this in one of my site, thought you would find it interesting.  Credit Scoring is tricky, but essential to getting credit, jobs and any kind of housing. 

Tips for getting your credit score up:

Start by pulling your credit report and your credit score to see where you are. To get an estimate of your credit score. If your score is above a 760, you're in great shape. Improving your score from 760 to 800 won't get you better terms.

1.  Look for errors in the report, such as accounts that aren't yours, late payments that were actually paid on time, debts you paid off that are shown as outstanding, or old debts that shouldn't be reported any longer (negatives are supposed to be deleted after seven years, with the exception of bankruptcies, which can stay for as long as 10 years).

2.  After repairing errors, the fastest route to a better score is paying down balances on credit cards, says Watts.

Though it's not an instant cure, paying down credit lines over a two month period can boost your score a substantial amount, and may be enough to put it over the edge if you're lurking just beneath the next tier of loan pricing.

3.  Had a few late payments in your past?
Even if you've paid your bills late in the past, you can improve your credit score by paying every bill on time from now on, says John Ventura, a consumer law attorney and author of "The Credit Repair Kit."

4.  "Forget about grace periods," he says. "If you want to have a really good record with the credit agencies, pay your debt before it's due and keep your balances low."

A big no-no

5.  One thing you shouldn't do if you're just trying to boost your score is close unused accounts, Watts says.

"If someone tells you to close unused accounts to improve your score, they're pulling your leg," he says. "It won't help you and it can hurt you."

Closing unused accounts without paying down your debt changes your utilization ratio, which is the amount of your total debt divided by your total available credit.

"You appear closer to maxing out your accounts," he says. "That's why your score can drop. It doesn't mean people shouldn't close them, but don't close them to improve your score."

If you do cut up cards, though, leave the oldest one open, says Steve Rhode, former president of, a national nonprofit financial crisis center.

Read more: Bump up your credit score in a hurry

Cities With the Highest Average Credit Scores

  1. Wausau, Wis.: 789
  2. Minneapolis: 787
  3. Madison, Wis.: 785
  4. Cedar Rapids, Iowa: 781
  5. San Francisco: 781
  6. Green Bay, Wis.: 780
  7. Boston: 779
  8. Peoria, Ill.: 778
  9. Sioux Falls, S.D.: 778
  10. La Crosse, Wis.: 777

Cities With the Lowest Average Credit Scores

  1. Harlingen, Texas: 686
  2. Jackson, Miss.: 701
  3. Corpus Christi, Texas: 702
  4. Monroe, La.: 706
  5. Shreveport, La.: 706
  6. Augusta, Ga.: 709
  7. Bakersfield, Calif.: 709
  8. Las Vegas, Nev.: 709
  9. Tyler, Texas: 710
  10. El Paso, Texas: 710

Overall, the national average for credit scores was 749, according to the study. The cities with the lowest credit scores tended to also have high foreclosure rates and high unemployment. On the other hand, cities with the highest average credit scores -- which were mostly in the Midwest -- tended to have a better employment picture.