Credit Reporting Money Basics

Take steps to improve your credit score

February 3, 2020

Your FICO® Score provides a quick snapshot of your overall credit health. FICO stands for Fair Isaac Corporation, the founder of the scoring system. The FICO Score is the most used credit score system by lenders.

Once you know your score, you can use the following scale as a general guide to see how lenders view your credit in terms of risk:

  • Over 800: Very low risk
  • 740–799: Low risk
  • 670-739: Average risk
  • 580-669: High risk
  • Under 580: Very high risk

Tip #1: Pay on time

This might be one of the biggest steps to improving your score. Payment history is one of the largest factors that determine your credit score. So missing a due date or payments can have major implications.

Bonus tip: make sure you know the payment cut-off time. If you miss the cut-off time, your payment may not be credited until the next day and may be considered late. This can also add late payment fees. First PREMIER Bank’s credit card cut-off time is 5 p.m. Central Time.

Tip #2: Recurring payments

Use recurring payments for subscription services like Netflix or Spotify to build up your credit payment history. It can be easier to budget for these expenses because it’s a set amount each month, unlike groceries or utilities, which can vary month-to-month.

Bonus tip: set up autopay to pay off your bill in full every month with PREMIER Auto Pay. You get the double bonus of paying your bill on time and not carrying a balance on your card. Learn more about the program or enroll.

Tip #3: Review your credit report

You can request a free copy of your credit report (different than a credit score) once a year from AnnualCreditReport.com. This site allows consumers to review and print their Equifax®, Experian®, and TransUnion® credit reports.

Review it carefully and look for errors. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has a list of common errors to look for when reviewing your report. If you find an error, follow these steps recommended by the CFPB.

Bonus tip: You can request a free copy of your credit report three times a year by ordering a report from each of the three nationwide consumer reporting agencies individually through AnnualCreditReport.com. This is a good strategy to watch for reporting accuracy. Requesting your report does not affect your credit score.

Tip #4: Ask for help

Financial setbacks also happen, no matter how dedicated you are to improving your score. First PREMIER Bank’s credit card offers programs to assist cardholders. The cardholder and the account must meet specific criteria in order to be enrolled in either of the programs. For that reason, the process normally begins over the phone. Call 1-877-358-5002 to discuss the payment programs.

Building your credit score can take time. But the payoff is worth it as higher scores translate to a better financial outlook.

This information is presented for educational purposes only. It is not intended as, nor should it be construed to be, legal, financial or other professional advice. Please consult with your attorney or financial advisor to discuss any legal or financial issues involved with credit decisions.

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