8 Ways To Boost Your Credit

Curious about what lenders see when they check your credit? In this blog post, we delve into the world of credit health and provide tips that make an impact on your credit file. From understanding the significance of your credit report to strategically managing the products on your credit file, get the information you need to level up your financial profile.

Maria Garcia

Loan Match, Improve Credit, Loans, Approve
Loan Match, Improve Credit, Loans, Approve

Your credit report doesn’t define you. However, it does say something about your spending behaviour, and that’s precisely what lenders are interested in. With that being said, it’s important to make sure you’re aware of what your credit file looks like in the first place.

According to the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada, an estimated 48% of Canadians have never obtained their credit reports. If you fall within that category, your first step is to get your hands on your credit file.

There are a few ways you can do this for free. First, you have the option of obtaining your credit report from one of the two main credit bureaus, Equifax or TransUnion. You can make a one-time request on their website to view your credit report for free. If you’ve already done this with both credit bureaus, then they’ll require you to get a subscription to view your credit report.

Don’t worry, you have more options for viewing your credit score if you’ve already done the previous. There are sites like Credit Karma and Borrowell that will provide you with your credit score after you sign up for an account with them. Credit Karma usually obtains your score from TransUnion and Borrowell from Equifax.

Now let’s say you decide to test Credit Karma and Borrowell for your credit score, but to your surprise, the scores are different. There’s an explanation for this. When you request your credit score from any company, including Equifax and TransUnion, your score will vary depending on how each company calculates your credit score. So, keep in mind that it is an estimate, and it should be used to help guide you towards the direction you want to be in.

Now that you know how to find your credit score and have a rough idea of where you stand, it’s time to set some goals for where you want to be, and I’ll give you some tips to get there.

First, you want to ensure you’re using your credit wisely. This means you are never going over your credit limit and maintaining a 30% utilization ratio of your total available credit. For example, if your total available credit is $1,000, then that math would be this: 1,000 x 30 % = 300. Essentially, you only want to be using $300 of the available 1,000.

Additionally, you want to ensure that your monthly debt payments are below your total monthly income before taxes; this is referred to as your debt-to-income ratio. If your monthly debt payments are higher than your monthly income, it may signal to lenders that you are biting off more than you can chew.

Next, you want to make sure you keep your credit accounts open. The longer you have a credit account, the better it is for your credit file. Each account you have represents a relationship you have, and the longer you have a relationship, the more trustworthy you seem.

Another way to boost your credit is to diversify the kinds of credit products you have on your credit file. Essentially, if you just have credit cards, it only represents one type of relationship. To be precise, a credit card is a revolving credit, whereas a loan is a tradeline. Having a mix of revolving credit and tradelines shows future lenders that you can handle different types of relationships.

If you are having a hard time getting approved for a credit card or do not have any credit history, you may benefit from obtaining a secured credit card. A secured credit card is a special type of credit card that requires a deposit upfront. This deposit acts as collateral, providing assurance to the card issuer. With a secured card, you can make purchases and build credit just like with a regular credit card, but with added security and control over your spending.

Finally, it's crucial to stay on top of your bill payments. Missing even one can have a big impact on your credit health. Payment history makes up a whopping 35% of your credit score, according to Equifax. While scoring models may differ between credit bureaus, one thing remains consistent: paying on time is key to maintaining a healthy credit score.

Summary:

1. Know Your Credit: Understand that while your credit report doesn't define you, it reflects your spending behavior, which lenders consider.

2. Obtain Your Credit Report: Approximately 48% of Canadians have never checked their credit reports. Start by obtaining yours from Equifax ,TransUnion, Credit Karma or Borrowell for free. Note that scores may vary depending on their calculation method.

4. Use Credit Wisely: Maintain a utilization ratio of 30% and ensure your monthly debt payments are below your total monthly income before taxes.

5. Keep Accounts Open: Long-standing credit accounts enhance your credit file, demonstrating stability and trustworthiness.

6. Diversify Credit Products: Having a mix of credit types, like credit cards and loans, showcases your ability to manage different financial relationships.

7. Consider a Secured Credit Card: If you struggle to get approved for a regular credit card or lack credit history, a secured credit card can help build credit responsibly.

8. Pay Bills on Time: Payment history contributes significantly to your credit score, so prioritize timely bill payments to maintain a healthy credit profile.