Wisconsin's credit unions help their members make the most of their money. If improving your credit score is a goal, they have some strategies to help you succeed.
"Bad credit can prevent people from getting approved for loans, credit cards, or even jobs," said Brett Thompson, President and CEO for The Wisconsin Credit Union League. "While there is no one fast way to raise your credit score, there are steps you can take right now to start raising and rebuilding your credit."
Five Ways To Improve Your Credit Score
- Pay your bills on time. Once you are 30 days late, a creditor can report your late payment to the credit bureaus, and the late payment can remain on your credit reports for up to seven years. Setting up automatic payments is a great way to pay your bills on time.
- Open new credit accounts only as needed. When you plan to apply for a significant new credit product, such as a mortgage, you should avoid applying for other new credit products several months prior in order to keep your score as high as possible.
- Don't close unused credit cards. When you close an old or unused credit card, you are essentially wiping away some of your available credit, which would increase your credit utilization ratio, and negatively affect your credit score.
- Use credit monitoring to check your progress. Credit monitoring and credit score monitoring services are available through credit unions, banks, credit card companies, credit bureaus, and independent providers. These services provide 24/7 monitoring of your credit score and alert you to possible fraud and identity theft.
- Credit unions have a number of tools to guide you to a better credit score, including personal counseling, small dollar loans, debt consolidations, or refinancing. In 2020, 404 was the average lowest credit score provided a loan at credit unions.
With credit unions, fewer fees mean even more of your money can go toward paying off your debt. Credit unions are member-owned financial cooperatives. This not-for-profit business model allows us to invest earnings back into products and programs that benefit members in the form of fewer fees and lower interest rates. If you're a credit union member trying to improve your credit rating, you can use those savings to pay down your debt, which may help you increase your credit score.