Improve Your Credit Scores

Everyone’s goal should be an excellent personal and business credit score. Here’s some simple guidance on how you may be able to improve yours.

Pay your bills on time. According to credit agencies, your credit history is the most influential factor in determining your credit score. Also, keep track of your credit balances versus your credit lines. Some experts recommend a 10% credit utilization as ideal.

The recommendation to keep open credit accounts you’ve paid off ties into this utilization guide by maximizing your credit lines. How many accounts you have and how long they’ve been open are essential factors in your score. The longer you’ve had an account, the better. Another important tip is to not jump on credit offers you receive to see if you get approved. Make sure you need the credit before you apply because each application you make can lower your credit score. Finally, periodically monitor your credit scores and be patient. Newly established good credit habits may take a while to show up in your numbers.

Credit Scores

While there’s more than one credit scoring model, most credit score ranges are similar to the following: 800 to 850: Excellent; 740 to 799: Very good; 670 to 739: Good; 580 to 669: Fair; 300 to 579: Poor.

How do you compare?

Source: Experian data from September of each year; ages as of 2022

Review Your Credit Report Often

Your credit report is your financial biography. It’s key to determining the interest rates you’ll pay on loans and can impact a job application if you work in certain fields. You’ll want to review all three of your credit reports at least once a year to ensure they are correct.


According to a Consumer Reports study in 2021, one in three people reported finding errors on one of their credit reports. There are three credit reporting companies: TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax. You’ll want to review your report from all three. Just because your Experian report is correct doesn’t guarantee your Equifax report contains the same information.


Start by reviewing the personal information (name, address(es), and dates of birth) to ensure that the data is correct. If you see an address you don’t recognize, it could signify that someone has misused your Social Security Number. This could be an early warning sign of identity theft.


Next, review all the accounts reported to the credit bureau. Ensure you know what each one is for and that you opened the account. Also, look at the payment status of each account for accuracy. Even one incorrect notation of a late payment can significantly impact your credit score.

You can receive each of your credit reports free once per year at

August 2021 Questions and Answers


How can my business build a credit score?


If you haven’t already opened a business bank account, do this first. Next, apply for a business credit card. Although you may have to personally guarantee it, having a credit card in the company’s name will start to build your corporate credit history.

Ask your vendors whether they report payments to business credit bureaus. If they don’t, consider doing business with vendors that do. Then review your company credit report as you would your personal report, and correct any discrepancies.


How do I know if I should be making estimated tax payments?


Because the US uses a pay-as-you-earn tax system, you must pay your tax bill throughout the year. Generally, if you work a W-2 job, have a reasonable amount of tax withheld from your pay, and have no other significant source of income, estimated tax payments aren’t necessary.

Estimated tax payments are needed if you have self-employment income because you have no paycheck to withhold tax from. Also, if you have significant amounts of interest, dividends, alimony, or capital gains, then estimated payments may be necessary. Speak with your tax professional who can let you know whether you should be making estimated payments.