Home > Credit Score > Help! My Credit Score Has Hit a Plateau

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Keeping your credit in tip-top shape is a noble and worthy goal considering the important role it plays in major lending and business decisions. But what if, despite your best efforts, your score has reached a plateau? One reader of Credit.com reporter Christine DiGangi’s personal blog writes on this problem: “One of my goals is to reach a FICO score of 800 before I’m 27 (I’m 25 now). I’ve been at 780 for about a year, but I’ve hit a plateau. What can I do to improve it?”

Credit Plateaus Are Common

While there may be things you can do to improve your credit, such plateaus, especially among young adults, aren’t uncommon. Credit history is major factor in credit scoring models, and while your age doesn’t matter, the age of your credit does and older consumers tend to score higher since they’ve had more time to build up their credit. Credit scores also reward consumers for having a diverse portfolio of accounts, so if you’ve yet to purchase a car or apply for a mortgage, you may have a hard time.

You could bolster your credit score in the long-term by adding a different type of account. For instance, if all you have is installment debt, in which you pay a fixed amount over a period of time (i.e. student loans, auto loan), then adding revolving debt such as a credit card could raise your score. The same works by adding an installment loan to your revolving-only credit history, but only if you manage the credit responsibly.

It’s important to note that your credit could take a small hit when you first add financing. Credit applications generate hard inquiries, which could ding your score a few points for a short period of time.

Patience Is Required

Don’t worry or act impulsive if you’re falling just shy of your goals. Most credit scoring models use a scale of 301 to 850, but lenders generally award their best rates to credit scores of 750 or higher. (Fannie Mae’s most favorable loan level price adjustments for mortgages are capped at 740, for example.)

If you keep up the good behavior, your score should simply rise over time. You can achieve the best credit score results by making payments on time, keeping debt ratios low (below 30% and ideally 10% of available credit) and adding new credit lines as needed — or when you can pay them. You can track your progress by viewing your free credit report summary each month on Credit.com.

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Hello, Reader!

Thanks for checking out Credit.com. We hope you find the site and the journalism we produce useful. We wanted to take some time to tell you a bit about ourselves.

Our People

The Credit.com editorial team is staffed by a team of editors and reporters, each with many years of financial reporting experience. We’ve worked for places like the New York Times, American Banker, Frontline, TheStreet.com, Business Insider, ABC News, NBC News, CNBC and many others. We also employ a few freelancers and more than 50 contributors (these are typically subject matter experts from the worlds of finance, academia, politics, business and elsewhere).

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The Credit.com editorial team is committed to providing our readers and viewers with sound, well-reported and understandable information designed to inform and empower. We won’t tell you what to do. We will, however, do our best to explain the consequences of various actions, thereby arming you with the information you need to make decisions that are in your best interests. We also write about things relating to money and finance we think are interesting and want to share.

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Our Business Model

Credit.com’s journalism is largely supported by an e-commerce business model. Rather than rely on revenue from display ad impressions, Credit.com maintains a financial marketplace separate from its editorial pages. When someone navigates to those pages, and applies for a credit card, for example, Credit.com will get paid what is essentially a finder’s fee if that person ends up getting the card. That doesn’t mean, however, that our editorial decisions are informed by the products available in our marketplace. The editorial team chooses what to write about and how to write about it independently of the decisions and priorities of the business side of the company. In fact, we maintain a strict and important firewall between the editorial and business departments. Our mission as journalists is to serve the reader, not the advertiser. In that sense, we are no different from any other news organization that is supported by ad revenue.

Visitors to Credit.com are also able to register for a free Credit.com account, which gives them access to a tool called The Credit Report Card. This tool provides users with two free credit scores and a breakdown of the information in their Experian credit report, updated twice monthly. Again, this tool is entirely free, and we mention that frequently in our articles, because we think that it’s a good thing for users to have access to data like this. Separate from its educational value, there is also a business angle to the Credit Report Card. Registered users can be matched with products and services for which they are most likely to qualify. In other words, if you register and you find that your credit is less than stellar, Credit.com won’t recommend a high-end platinum credit card that requires an excellent credit score You’d likely get rejected, and that’s no good for you or Credit.com. You’d be no closer to getting a product you need, there’d be a wasted inquiry on your credit report, and Credit.com wouldn’t get paid. These are essentially what are commonly referred to as "targeted ads" in the world of the Internet. Despite all of this, however, even if you never apply for any product, the Credit Report Card will remain free, and none of this will impact how the editorial team reports on credit and credit scores.

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Lastly, much of what we do is informed by our own experiences as well as the experiences of our readers. We want to tell your stories if you’re interested in sharing them. Please email us at story ideas [at] credit [dot] com with ideas or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

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- The Credit.com Editorial Team