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The Lucky 7's of Credit: How to Keep Your Credit Score Above 700

Lights flashing, adrenaline flowing, the scrolling triple 7's rewarding you with the jackpot of a lifetime; who in the world hasn’t dreamed of striking it big in Vegas? You could finally go on that vacation to paradise, pay off your home, or maybe even help support your family for generations to come.

But those lucky 7's don’t have to be confined to Vegas.  In fact, one of the most important 7's you should be shooting for is a credit score of 700 or higher.  It may not reward you with a cash jackpot worth millions, but obtaining a credit score in the 700's will certainly open the door to more desirable credit cards with rewards0% interest credit cards, mortgages, auto loans, and other credit products that will save you thousands in interest during your lifetime.

While the relative ambiguity of the credit scoring system can make you feel like a higher score is a feat of extreme luck, here are 7 steps you can take to better your chances:

1. Know and Track Your Credit Score

Besides the obvious benefits of seeing your progress, tracking your score will also help protect you from the possible devastation of identity theft.

2. Never Miss a Payment

Thirty-five percent, or the largest portion of your credit score, reflects your payment history. So rather than miss a payment and catch up next month, do what it takes to always make at least the minimum payment on your account – even if it takes searching the couch cushions for loose change!

3. Never Use More Than 30% of Your Available Credit

Exceeding a credit utilization ratio of 30% can scare lenders. Your credit score drops as lenders begin to worry about your ability to repay what you now owe. A little trick: Your credit score reflects your statement balances at the time they are reported to the credit bureaus. Making payments before the billing cycle ends should lower the statement balance that's reported, and thus improve your score.

4. Reconsider Closing Credit Cards

Credit cards act as proof of your responsibility. Closing credit cards, especially those you’ve had the longest, is throwing away evidence that you know how to pay your bills.  You'll also lose available credit, which is a precious commodity you'll want to hold on to if possible.

5. Before Applying for New Cards, Ask for Credit Limit Increases

Credit inquires make up about 10% of your credit score. Rather than ding your score by applying too often for new cards, your current credit card companies will often raise your limit without actually damaging your credit.

6. Diversify Your Credit

Lenders want to know that you can handle various types of credit. If you’re deciding between getting cash back or a rock-bottom interest rate when purchasing a car, don’t forget about the potential boost to your credit score and the associated savings you'll receive from accepting the loan.

7. Take Advantage of Balance Transfers

Moving balances to cards with lower interest will obviously save you money. Make sure to improve your credit score as well by taking those savings and paying off your card even faster.

Now, hitting that lucky 700 credit score might not be quite as exciting as a gambling rush in Sin City, but the results are much, much more certain. What techniques have you used to increase your “luck”?

Photo credit: Shutterstock / defotoberg

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Elisabeth Chan's picture

Elisabeth Chan is Creditnet's resident credit card expert. Elisabeth graduated Magna Cum Laude from Brigham Young University's Marriott School of Business.

When she's not rating and reviewing credit cards, Elisabeth enjoys gushing over her daughter (who is her exact clone), eating out (sushi and Chinese are favs), or attempting to conquer the pilates reformer machine (so far, all attempts have been futile).

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Tim's picture

Great Blog!!!!