For many of us, it is not until we need to use it that we find out that we have a low credit score. Usually it is as we are waiting for hear back from a bank about a loan, or from an landlord about renting a flat. You then need to scramble, trying to improve your credit score over a short period of time. Unfortunately, this is pretty hard to do. Improving your credit score takes time, especially if you want to raise it by a significant amount. Below are some simple guidelines that you should follow whenever you want to improve your credit score. If you can follow the advice below over an extended period of time, then you should have no trouble raising your credit score.

First of all, you should know as much as you can about your credit score before you begin. To do this, you need to check your credit score and request a full copy of your credit file. You can do this from sites like Equifax or Experian, and they are very simple to use. For your first request, you will not be charged, but after that you may have to pay a small fee. Once you have your credit file in front of you, go over it carefully. You want to look for anything that could be causing your score to drop. If you don't know what the major causes of a bad credit score are, don't worry, as we are going to go over them. When you are looking through your file, also look for any mistakes. Sometimes something being misreported on your file can cause your credit score to drop, and simply reporting it to the credit reporting agency can fix your credit score.

If there are no mistakes on your credit report that you can see, then there is something in your life that is bringing the score down. One of the most common factors is your credit cards. Credit cards play a large role in your credit score, so you want to pay close attention to them. For starters, you should not be overspending on your cards. If you carry a large balance over from one billing period to the next, it is going to harm your score. You also want to make sure that you are making all of your payments on time. Missing a credit card payment is a big black mark on your report, so try to avoid it at all costs. Lastly, try to keep spending on your cards to a minimum, but don't forget about them either. Ideally your credit utilization – the percentage of money spent versus your credit limits – should be between thirty and seventy percent. If you can do this, and make all of the payments, it will look great on your credit file.

If credit cards are not the issue, then it could just be overall debt. If you owe a lot of money, or have many different loans out, it will drag down your score. Many debts shows that you need to borrow money a lot, and that you can't always pay it back. The best way to improve your credit score if debt is the problem is to simply work on paying back those debts. Try to increase the amount you are paying towards them each month to pay them off quicker. Every little bit will help, so divert any extra money you have at the end of the month towards your loans.

Hopefully these few tips will help you to improve your credit score. Remember that this is not going to happen over night, since credit scores want to reflect your financial responsibility over time. Just keep up with the good habits, and eventually you will start to see a rise in your credit score.