You thought the last score that would really matter was your ASVAB, but turns out being an adult has more tests and scores than you thought. While some of those scores might be far out of your control, there are some you can have a hand in improving.
One score that you can influence? Your credit. Sure, this magical number with such bearing on things like where you are able to live often feels like it's solely based on conjecture and someone with a dartboard, but it turns out, you do have the power to change your credit score. Here are 5 hacks for raising your credit score.
1. Get your report
The first step in raising your score is knowing it, identifying any problem areas and disputing any discrepancies. Looking at your credit report will show you any late payments or high balances which both can negatively impact your score. If you have late payments, get that money in!
2. Pedal to the metal
One of the factors of your credit score is your credit utilization. So you have a $10,000 line of credit … but if you've got $8,000 in charges on there, your utilization is too high.
Ideally, you want it to be below 30%. If you can, double your payments per month on your unsecured debt to pay it down ahead of schedule. The better your utilization rate, the better your credit score.
3. Boost your bills
It sounds like something that might be used in Space Force, but Experian Boost is a real thing. Experian, one of the major credit bureaus, offers users the opportunity to get credit for making their utility and cell phone bills on time.
Users link their bank account and Experian scans for on-time payments. If payments were late, no harm, no foul (which is not how this usually goes, for the record). Wins all around.
4. Give 'em a ring
Never underestimate the power of a phone call. If you can't make a payment to your credit card company and you're going to dance into that dangerous late zone, pick up the phone.
Ask the company if they can put you on a payment plan or give you a grace period. Making sure that your payments remain on time will keep your credit score climbing.
So you don't have a great credit score or maybe you don't have much in the way of a credit history at all. One easy way to rectify this situation? Piggybacking. Ask a trusted family member or close friend who has excellent credit if they will add you as an authorized user on their credit cards. Sorry kid, authorized users don't get their own black AMEX, it's just a status that allows you to "piggyback" on their good standing. Aside from some risk and the fact that the next 10 rounds are on you, as long as you know the account holder has an outstanding history in paying on time, there's not much of a downside for you. And, there's none for the cardholder. Hop on.
Just like your ASVAB, your credit score has an influence on your future, especially when it's time to buy your first house. Luckily, companies like Veterans United work with service members and veterans to utilize the VA Loan, meaning awesome rates and no money down for purchasing. Whether you use that extra cash to double up on a card payment or buy a beer for your "piggy," we aren't here to judge -- just here to help.
This post was sponsored by Veterans United.