Supercharge Your Credit Score

by Chris Bjorklund

Financial institutions have tightened their lending criteria, so that makes having a good credit score more important than ever. The higher your score, the more likely your request for credit will be approved. And consumers with higher credit scores typically pay lower interest rates.

Here are some tips for increasing your score. Pay your bills on time and make up any past-due payments. Keep the outstanding balance on any credit account at less than 50% of your available credit line. Don’t open a lot of new credit accounts in a short period, and don’t close older, unused accounts—your credit history will appear shorter and your outstanding debt will increase relative to your available credit. Though there are many different credit-scoring systems, the most widely used is the FICO score, named for the company that developed it. Learn more about credit scores and how to improve yours at