Your credit score isn’t like your family; you aren’t stuck with it forever. In fact, credit scores are quite fluid, as a recent study from VantageScore Solutions shows.
The study looked at the credit scores of 2 million consumers between 2011 and 2013, reporting that 49% of these consumers saw a credit score increase of around 19 points during a 3-month period. During the same time frame, only 30% saw a decrease, averaging 24 points, while the rest of the people in the study (21%) had scores that remained level. VantageScore Solutions also looked at the score changes during a 12-month period, finding 51% of consumers had an average score increase of 27 points and a mere 11% had scores that stayed the same.
During the study, 53% of consumers had a positive uptick in their score, with an average of more than 40 points during 12 months. That being said, the odds are that your score will change this year. And whether these changes are for the better or not can depend on the financial choices you make.
How to Better Your Credit Score
Your credit score is in your hands, in a sense. The choices you make and spending habits you have influence it. But to know how your past behaviors are playing a role, as well as if you have any habits now that you need to break, you first need to check your credit. You can get free annual credit reports from each of the major credit reporting agencies, and you can get two of your credit scores for free each month on Credit.com to see where you stand.
If you need to do something to fix your credit score, here are the next steps. First, you need to figure out why you have a bad credit score and address the issue. If your credit is suffering because you habitually make late payments, change your habits and start paying earlier or set up account alerts to remind you to make a payment. If you’ve checked your credit reports and think your credit is suffering because you’ve become a victim of identity theft, reach out to the credit bureaus to dispute any accounts that aren’t yours and contact the authorities.
Finally, take steps to improve your credit. This can include everything from opening a secured credit card to help build up your score or contacting a credit repair agency for help (here are some tips for picking a good one). You won’t necessarily improve your credit 19 points in three months like the study showed, but with the right tools and motivation, you can turn things around.
More on Credit Reports & Credit Scores:
- The Credit.com Credit Reports Learning Center
- How Do I Dispute an Error on My Credit Report?
- How Credit Impacts Your Day-to-Day Life