So, you want to experience a change of scenery, escape the daily grind, and travel the world. What can I say? Join the club!
While not everyone is interested in international travel, most people have at least a little bit of wanderlust. And, there’s certainly nothing wrong with that. After all, we have a big, beautiful world and it’s only natural to wish you could explore it.
Unfortunately, there’s one huge factor that tends to stand in many people’s way – their credit. While you can see the world whether you have a good credit score or not, bad credit makes planning your travels much more difficult.
For example, it can be tough to book a hotel room or rent a car without a credit card. And, if you want to earn travel rewards via credit cards, you can pretty much forget it. Like it or not, it’s almost impossible to qualify for the best travel rewards credit cards without having a FICO score of 700 or higher.
8 Ways to Boost your Credit Score to See the World
Do you wish you could see the ruins of Rome? The crystal clear waters of Grand Cayman or Barbados? The Great Wall of China? In this post, I’ve partnered with CreditRepair.com to bring you some of the easiest ways to improve your credit score for the long haul.
If you want to see the world but know your credit needs work, here are eight ways to start boosting your score right away:
#1: Get a secured credit card.
If your credit score is really bad (below 600) and you can’t qualify for an unsecured credit card, one of the best steps you can take is getting a secured credit card. With a secured credit card, you’ll put down a cash deposit that is normally equal to the credit limit you get in return. The important thing is that your credit movements will be reported to the three credit reporting agencies – Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. If you use credit responsibly for long period of time, you should see an almost immediate boost in your score. You can browse the best secured credit cards here.
#2: Stop paying bills late.
While using credit responsibly is the best way to improve your credit score over time, there are some areas that are more important than others. For example, your payment history – including whether you pay bills on time – is the most important factor used to determine your FICO score. If you want to make a huge impact without a ton of work, make sure all your bills – including credit card bills – are paid early or on time. If you’re afraid you’ll forget, set them up on auto-pay or set up reminders on your phone.
#3: Pay down debt.
Do you want to know the second most important determinant of your credit score? It’s the amount of money you owe in relation to your credit limits, which is commonly referred to as your “utilization.” If you owe a lot of money on credit cards, paying down your balances will lower your utilization. Over time, this can help improve your credit score.
You know what else it will do? It will put you on the path to debt freedom! At the end of the day, debt sucks because it limits your options and hurts your credit. Pay down debt, and you’ll be a lot better off regardless of your credit score.
#4: Check your credit report and monitor your score.
If you want to improve your credit score, it helps to know where you stand. That’s why I always recommend people check their score for free using a website like CreditSesame. With CreditSesame, you’ll get an estimate of your credit score with no commitment.
In addition to checking your score, you should also get a copy of your actual credit report. Fortunately, AnnualCreditReport.com lets you get a copy of your credit report once per year from each of the three credit reporting agencies. With a copy of your credit report in-hand, you can check for errors and find out where you might have room for improvement.
#5: Stop playing the balance transfer game.
Balance transfer credit cards make it easy to get 0 percent APR on your credit card balances for anywhere from 12 to 21 months. All you have to do is apply for a 0 percent APR card and transfer your balances. Once you’re approved, you’re on your way to paying zero interest for at least one year.
The thing is, this strategy won’t really help if you don’t use the opportunity to actually pay down debt. Unfortunately, too many people transfer their balances from one card to another without ever paying their debts off.
While there’s nothing wrong with utilizing a balance transfer card to pay down debt faster, you need to get serious about becoming debt-free if you want to see a real impact.
#6: Keep old accounts open if you can.
Another factor that impacts your credit score is the length of your credit history. Because a lengthier credit history is better, it can pay off to keep old accounts open as long as you can. If you have a card with a long history, keep it open whether you’re using it or not. This will help your credit score without requiring any work on your part.
#7: Prioritize late bills or accounts in collections.
If you’re behind on your car payment or your credit card bill, your top priority should be catching up. As we already discussed, late payments are one of the worst things that can happen to your credit score. Clean things up as quickly as you can, and you’ll be on your way to better credit in no time.
#8: Learn more about your credit at CreditRepair.com.
Last but not least, there may be times where you need help figuring out how to fix your credit or which moves to make next. One of the best things you can do is arm yourself with information and learn as much as you can. CreditRepair.com offers a ton of resources that can help. Not only do they offer an extensive library of helpful articles and case studies, but they help educate consumers on their legal rights, too.
If you want to travel but you know that your credit score needs work first, the best thing you can do is stop dreaming and start taking action today. Hoping and praying for better credit won’t move the needle, but the steps on this list could make a world of difference.