Credit scores can make or break your future, yet many people have no clue how to handle them. Sometimes even people who know how to handle their scores can start to feel overwhelmed at the thought of trying to improve them. Though nothing can happen overnight, there are things you can do to help improve your credit score in a timely matter.

Stay on Top of Your Payments

We’ve all been there. You use your credit card on a few purchases, promising yourself you’ll pay them off ASAP, but then the end of the month comes and you’ve used that money on something else. The best way to stop racking up debt is to pay things off immediately. If you put $35 on your card, go home and immediately pay that off. This way you aren’t accumulating high payments. This can also help you learn how to budget your money elsewhere in an efficient way!

Pay Over the Minimum Amount

Using up a large portion of your available credit negatively effects your credit score. It’s often one of the greatest contributors to poor credit scores. The more available credit you use, the lower your credit score becomes. To avoid this, pay as much of the total amount as you can so your credit card begins to act like a debit card. Even the smallest portion can help you better your credit.

Get More Credit

If the amount of debt compared to the amount of credit you have concerns you, try asking to extend your credit line. This increase will widen the gap between what you owe and how much credit is available to you, which can better your credit score. However, this does NOT mean you should keep spending. This increased credit line only benefits your score if you don’t use it.

Make Payments Sooner, Rather Than Later

The debt on your account is sent to credit companies on your due date. This number does not take into account whatever credit payments you have made that day, so the number presented to the credit companies may be warped. To prevent this negative effect, make payments before your due date. This way the numbers given to credit companies accurately reflect your payments. Make sure you’re giving the payments enough time to process so the credit companies fully see your payments.

Call Your Credit Lenders

If you’ve discovered a late payment or missed payment, call your credit company. If these missed or late payments happened far in the past or were a one-time occurrence, you can ask your lender to remove the mark from your record. Try and use your good behavior as leverage. Convincing them to remove these types of marks can significantly improve your credit score. You’re not going to improve your credit score overnight, but these steps can help you slowly and steadily make improvements on it over time. As you better your credit score, you can get better offers when it comes to mortgages, car loans and more. Just think about it this way:  your future can benefit from starting to improve your credit score now!