3 Ways to Improve Your Credit Score In 2024

January 4, 2024

A good credit score comes with lots of perks—from better loan and credit card rates to an easier time buying cars and houses. So, if your credit score needs a pick-me-up in the new year, don’t worry! A little time, financial discipline, and direction from us at Chambers Bank can do wonders to help you improve yours.

But before you start…

Check Your Credit Reports

Understanding which information on your credit reports is helping or hurting your score is the first step toward making improvements. For this reason, you should check your credit history to ensure all account information is accurate and that there aren’t any errors, omissions, or records indicating identity theft or fraud.

By law, you can get free copies of your credit reports annually from each of the three national credit bureaus: TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. To make a request, go to AnnualCreditReport.com and follow the instructions. You can also request credit reports at no charge if you’ve been a victim of identity theft or if you’ve been denied credit, insurance, or a job due to information appearing on your reports.

Higher credit scores are usually attributed to having a history of on-time payments, keeping credit card balances low, and maintaining a mix of loan and credit card accounts. Late payments, high credit card balances, judgments, and accounts in collections usually push credit scores lower.

What’s a Good Credit Score and Where Can I See My Score?

Credit reports from TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian don’t include your credit score, so if you don’t know yours already, check with your credit card company or your lender because they will often provide the reports free of charge. You can also pay for a credit score and credit monitoring service if desired.

Credit scores range from 300 to 850, and in general, 580 to 669 is considered fair, 670 to 739 good, 740 to 799 very good, and 800 or higher—excellent. Lenders usually consider people with scores of 670 or higher as acceptable or lower-risk borrowers, but if you want to get the best rates, anything in the mid-700 range or higher will get you excellent rates and easy credit approvals.

Your credit score is calculated using several key factors from data gathered in your credit reports. Most lenders use a FICO® score to help determine your creditworthiness, which is the most commonly used credit score type. Here’s what makes up a FICO® score:

35%-Your credit history

30%- How much you owe on loans and credit cards

15%-The length of your credit history

10%-The type of accounts you have

10%-Amount of recent credit activity


Start Raising Your Credit Score

Once you’ve got copies of your credit reports and you know your credit score, you can begin taking steps to raise yours. Here are a few critical tips:

#1. Pay Your Bills On Time

Your payment history is one of the biggest factors in determining your credit score, so paying your loans and credit cards promptly is very important for raising and maintaining your credit score. Even just a small oversight can lower your score significantly, and late payments can appear on your credit report for up to seven years.

One of the best ways to pay on time is to set up automatic payments from your bank account for all loans, mortgages, and credit cards; just be sure there’s enough money in your checking account to avoid overdraft fees.

Alternatively, consider taking advantage of our free Chambers Bill Pay service; it allows you to make all of your payments automatically through one single platform versus multiple. You have the flexibility of setting payments up automatically at regular intervals or in response to an eBill received through BillPay. The service also allows you to set payment reminders and check account balances, transactions, and statements anytime through Chambers Online Banking or Chambers Mobile Banking.

#2. Pay Down Revolving Credit Balances

Revolving credit is open-ended credit such as credit cards and lines of credit. Maintaining low balances on these accounts relative to their credit limits is better for your credit score than having high balances because high balances lead to a high credit utilization ratio—which can negatively impact your credit score.

So what’s a credit utilization ratio? It’s the amount of revolving credit you’re using divided by how much credit you have available to you—and the number is always expressed in percentages. Individuals with high credit scores often have credit utilization ratios in the single digits but keeping yours below 30% is a good goal.

To calculate yours, simply total the credit limits on all revolving credit accounts, total all account balances, and divide. Here’s an example: You have two credit cards, and each has a $10,000 limit so your total revolving credit limit is $20,000. Your total combined debt balance between the cards is $5,000 so you have a credit utilization ratio of 25%.

#3. Limit Your Applications for Credit

While applying for a credit card to help build your credit is beneficial, you should limit how often you submit credit applications when trying to improve your score. Every application you make leads to a “hard inquiry” in which a lender pulls your credit report to check your creditworthiness. These inquiries will stay on your credit report for two years and can lower your score by five to ten points each.

On the other hand, if you’re simply shopping for rates on auto or home loans, you usually aren’t penalized because many credit scoring models recognize these inquiries for their intended purposes and ignore them.

A Few “Don’ts As You Improve Your Credit Score

As you take steps to better your credit score, you may think you need to do it as quickly as possible. The fact is, it takes a little time before you’re going to see noticeable changes to your score and there’s no single solution for raising your score fast.

  • Don’t cancel a credit card after you pay it off. Closing a card out (especially an older one) will hurt the length of your credit history, which is a factor in determining your credit score.
  • Don’t apply for a stack of new credit cards just to lower your credit utilization ratio.
  • Don’t carry balances on your credit cards for the purpose of building credit. The added interest charges are just an unnecessary expense, and your credit utilization ratio will go up.



Raising your credit score is a great way to qualify for lower-interest loan products as well as increase your overall financial wellness. If you have questions about information on your credit report or you’d like to speak with a financial representative about a Chambers Credit Card or loan product, please reach out to your local branch location for assistance.

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