Matt Olson

Aug 01 2017

Credit Score Series: Part 3 Tips to Improve Your Credit Score

Credit Score Series: Tips for improving your credit score.

Improving your credit score can save you money through lower interest rates and insurance premiums. A higher score can open the door to more credit options such as a mortgage loan and it can even decrease the amount of security deposit required by your landlord or utility company.

Watch my video and I’ll provide tips for improving your credit score:

  1. Payment history. Payment history is usually the largest factor impacting your credit score. It seems obvious, but make sure to pay all your bills on time, including at least the minimum payments on credit cards. Set up automatic payments and alerts with your creditors. If you’ve missed payments in the past, get current and stay that way. As time passes, the missed payments have less and less impact on your credit score.
  2. Pay down your credit balances. This can be difficult and to do this you’ll need a plan. I recommend starting by writing out all your debts and associated interest rates so they are in one place, and then focus on paying the higher interest cards first while never missing a payment on the lower rate cards. This would also be a good time to create a budget. A budget will help you see where your money is going each month and to identify areas where you can cut cost. You can create a budget any way you like, but if you need a good place to start, we have a tool within Hills Bank Online called Manage My Finances where you can set goals and create budgets.
  3. Keep your address, phone number, and email up-to-date with creditors. If a payment gets lost in the mail or doesn’t cover the minimum payment it’s important that the creditor can contact you quickly so you can take action.
  4. Credit inquiries. If you’re shopping rates for a new loan, try to do it within a two week window. Credit inquiries can impact your score, but multiple inquiries done within a short period of time usually count as one.
  5. Keep credit balances low. Utilize credit cards, but keep the balances really low or pay them off each month. High revolving debit will lower your credit score.
  6. Monitor your credit report. Actively monitor your credit report. You can get a free copy of your report once every 12 months at It’s important to make sure the information is accurate and if it’s not, dispute it.

Be patient, improving your credit score takes time and effort, but if you stick with it you will be happy with the results!

View the complete Credit Score Series:


Matt Olson

About Matt Olson

Matt Olson is Vice President, Mortgage Lending at Coralville's location at 1009 2nd Street. He has been at Hills Bank since 2004 helping customers with home purchases and refinancing needs. Matt can be reached at

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