Set Up Automatic Bill Payments
You can do this through your bank or credit union; however, if your bank doesn't offer this feature, or charges you for it, you may wish to go through the payee themselves, such as your electric company. Just about everyone who gladly takes your money would be glad to set you up. Typically, companies won't charge you for the service because they get your money ASAP.
If you're not comfortable with automatic payments, regardless of who is initiating the charge, then you may want to consider setting up alerts through email or text messages.
Making your payments on time is paramount to a good credit score. By making on time payments for six months, you may increase your credit score by as much as 50 points.
Pay Down Credit Cards
The best way to raise your FICO score is to make sure when your credit card statement is issued that your balance is less than 25% of your credit limit. This is your utilization ratio: the ratio of your balance to your limit.
The three credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion) never see your intra-statement balances. So, by making a payment right before your statement cutoff, your balance will be lower, and thus a smaller percentage of your limit. This is especially effective if you normally pay off your entire balance and you charge everything on your card, from breath mints to plastic surgery (pun intended.)
Dispute Errors On Your Credit Report
You're entitled to one free credit report per year from each of the three bureaus listed above; so, stagger the reports, and request one every four months. If there are any errors on the report, dispute them; of course you'll need evidence. Imagine that...
In order to expedite the correction, it may be more effective to do this online.
Get Your Credit Limit Raised
This could be a double-edged sword. If you can get your limit raised and you don't increase your balance, or better yet, you pay down your balance, then you'll lower your utilization ratio. Why is this a double-edged sword? Because you have to have the discipline not to go hog-wild and charge up your credit card to the new limit.
As Nancy Regan said, "Just Say No"
How many times have you run into the department store to buy a pair of socks and the clerk asked if you wanted to open a store card? "You'll get a 10% discount on today's purchase." Hmmm...10% off on my new pair of socks...too cool. This is a one-time offer and now you have a new card. ANY new credit will LOWER your score because the perception is that you'll start charging a lot on the new card.
Play The Game Of What-If?
Ever heard of CreditKarma.com? This is a great site that allows you to set up hypotheticals to see how those actions will affect your score. So, you can play "make-believe" and find out what would happen BEFORE you actually commit in "real life."
Have A One-Time Late Payment? Get It Removed
If you've been good in the payment department, but happen to have made a one-off late payment, ask to have the entry removed from your report. Obviously, you have a great payment history, other than that one time. This is effective if you carry a large balance because the credit card company wants to retain you as a customer because they're making a lot of money off your high balance.
Is your credit score not up to par?