Whenever I start to think about my next financial move I start to wonder how to improve my credit score. There are some small changes you can make to clean up your credit and raise your rating.
The first thing you're going to want to do is get a free copy of your report online. Your rating is calculated based on the information in your report, so the goal is to make your report look as appealing as possible.
The biggest thing you can probably do is take a look at your card balances. The amount of credit you have used versus the the amount of credit available to you is an important factor, the lower you can get your card balances the better your rating will become. As a general rule I suggest only using 30% of the credit available to you and trying to pay that off completely on a monthly basis. While you're looking at this check to see if the limit listed for each of your accounts is correct. If they have a lower limit listed on the report than you actually have available to you call the company your account is with and ask them to change it for you, this is usually very easy and a simple way to help yourself.
Mistakes are commonly found, and that's the next thing you're going to want to look your report over for to improve your credit score. Misspellings of your name aren't really worth trying to change, but accounts marked as "open" or "overdue" that have been paid are closed you should definitely call about. Anything over seven years old should no longer be on your report and you can call to get those removed (other than bankruptcy, which takes ten years to age off your report).
If you made one late payment a few years ago on an account that is still open you can write a letter to the company explaining that you made a mistake once but have since been loyal loyal customer and made all your payments on time and ask for a "goodwill adjustment". This is where the company forgives the late payment and removes the negative remarks from your report.
The older your accounts the better. If you have an older card that you haven't touched in a while you can take the card out and make a few small purchases, paying it off at the end of the month. This will bring new attention to an old account, which ages your credit history.
Making these small steps to help clean up your report will do a lot to help improve your credit score.