After paying off their own debts of over $51,000, Debt Free Guys and “Queer Money” podcast hosts John and David share their advice on all things credit score. After racking up her own debt, a viewer shares her questions and John and David offer their simple, accessible solutions to start making a difference.
One viewer, Ariel, returned home from college and quickly realized how much debt she had, especially with student loans and credit card debt. Although she can repay some of it, her credit rating is still very low.
How can you boost your credit score?
“There are three big factors that affect your credit score — or the three most important — are your payment history, your credit usage, and then your credit history,” David and John explain.
1. Payment history
“For your payment history, we suggest you put at least one, if not a few, bills in your name, then make sure you pay those bills on time and in full each month. And in about 3-6 months, you’ll start seeing your credit score will increase,” says John.
2. Use of credit
“Credit usage is the amount of your credit you have and are actually using. In your case, you are using more than 50% of your available credit on your credit cards, which is going to increase your credit. You really want to trying to get to the 30% level is really going to help you improve your credit score quickly when you find that credit usage is going down,” says David.
“Now another strategy that you have available to you – but you only want to do this if you are financially ready – is that you can call your credit card companies and ask them to raise your credit limit. It will also improve your credit usage, but you want to make sure you’re ready to do that, and you’re not motivated or incentivized to increase the amount of debt you have because you have more credit available to you,” explains John.
3. Credit history
Another thing The Debt-Free Guys emphasizes is the importance of payment automation. “Automate that payment part, so you’re consistently paying on time every month. If you’re using your credit cards, you make sure you pay them. Give it about 6 months to a year to do that, especially with these invoices in your name, you will begin to build up a credit history, which will help improve your credit score,” explain David and John.
How often should you check your credit rating?
“There are a lot of factors that affect your credit score, and some people get really obsessed with their day-to-day credit score performance. We suggest people in our course don’t look at their credit score. more only once a month,” says John.
How do you check your credit score?
“Keep in mind that it’s easier than ever to get your credit score. Most banks or credit unions will have it available on your account, and most credit cards will have it at available to you as well as other institutions you can go to,” the Queer Money podcaster says.