ORLANDO, Fla. — Only one percent of Americans have the perfect credit score of 850. However, you don’t need to hit 850 to get the best rates when it comes to financing a home or car. You can get favorable rates with a 740 or above.
Here are some tips on how you can boost your score.
A little three-digit number can have a huge impact on your buying power. Your credit score can affect your ability to buy a home, a car, and even whether you land a new job.
“Some employers are even looking at credit scores now as a way to screen people for jobs,” said Joel Garris, President and CEO of Nelson Financial Planning.
So, what can you do to boost your credit score? The number one thing is pay your bills on time.
“People don’t realize how big of a proportion of their credit score that is. It winds up actually being a third of your credit score,” said Garris.
Payment history and credit utilization, or the ratio of credit being used compared to total credit available, are the two biggest factors in determining your credit score.
Try to keep the credit utilization under 30 percent. The next factors that affect your credit score are length of credit history, new credit inquiries, and diversifying your credit with a mix of credit cards and loans can boost your credit.
Too much new credit at one time can affect your credit score negatively by adding hard inquiries to your credit report. Each new inquiry can drop your credit score by 15 points.
To give you an idea on how your credit score can impact a 30-year fixed mortgage on a $200,000 home—if your credit score is above 760, you’ll pay $996 a month. If it’s below 639, you’ll pay almost $200 more each month, costing you a total of almost $70,000 extra in interest.
You can check out your credit score for free at Credit Karma, Credit Sesame, and www.credit.com.