Information from the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions

How to improve your credit score

Make your payments on time

Pay your bills on time. It is the most effective way to improve your credit score.

Catch up on past-due accounts

If you have an account with multiple late or missed payments, get caught up on what is past due, then work out a plan for making future payments on time. That won’t erase the late payments but can improve your payment history going forward.

Keep the amount of credit used relatively low

While there is not an official published limit, many financial experts recommend keeping the amount of credit used below 30 percent.

Apply for and open new credit only when necessary

Opening a new credit card can increase your overall credit limit, but the act of applying for credit creates a hard inquiry on your credit report. Too many hard inquiries can negatively impact your credit score, though this effect will fade over time.

Monitor and fix errors on your credit report

Obtain your free annual credit report from Check for inaccuracies and report them right away.