If you’re a first time renter, you may be surprised to hear that landlords do a credit check. Whether it is non-existant or poor, there are plenty of things you can do to start improving it. Here are a few good places to start.
1. Pay your bills on time. If you are seriously having troubles paying your bills because of a divorce or job loss, you can try calling your collectors and ask if you can pay a lower amount until you get back on your feet. Paying something is always better than paying nothing at all. Your payment history is 35% of your score.
2. Apply for a credit card. Only use your card to buy things you can afford and pay it off before the end of the pay period. Don’t open too many credit cards, however, as you can appear to be high risk. Keep your balances low (keeping your balance under 30% of your card limit). Lower balance = higher score.
3. Become an Authorized User. If you don’t qualify for your own credit card, you can ask a family member or close friend to add you as an authorized user. You can become an authorized user as young as 15 years of age! However, make sure the account you are being added to is in good standing. Their habits can effect you positively or negatively depending on how financially responsible they are.
3. Request a credit report. There have been instances where things end up on your credit report by accident or you pay off a debt and it goes unrecorded. Reviewing your report on a monthly basis will ensure everything is kept accurate and up-to-date.
4. Keep your accounts open. Yes, keep them open! If you can carry a low balance on a credit card, this is have a positive impact on your score. The age of your open accounts makes up 15% of your credit score. Of course, this works best if the accounts are in good standing.