Click link above for download of Free Credit Score Booklet.
Consumers can obtain a free copy of their credit reports once a year from each of the three national credit reporting companies at annualcreditreport.com or by calling 1-877-322-8228.
- Pay your bills on time. Late payments can hurt your score significantly. If you have missed payments, get current and stay current. The more you pay your bills on time, the better your score.
- Open a secured credit card ( 2 of them) for the both of you.
- Pay off or settle any collections that has been placed in last 2 years that is non-medical. Since you are getting a lump sum payout you can negotiate a settlement with collection companies and old creditors for less than the full balance. ------->
- Keep credit card balances low relative to credit limits (30 percent or lower is recommended). "Maxing out" your credit cards means you have a very high utilization rate, which significantly lowers your credit score.
- Pay off debt rather than moving it around.
- Open new credit accounts only as needed; new accounts decrease the average age of your total accounts. Having accounts that have been opened a long time increases your credit score.
- Avoid closing credit card accounts because this also decreases the average age of your accounts.
- Apply for installment loans (mortgages, car loans, etc.) within a 30-day period because most credit scoring models will count multiple inquiries within a short period of time as only one inquiry.