How to Boost Your Credit Score at Any Age
By Karla Bowsher
Improving your credit score can be more arduous at certain points in life -- and inspires different approaches. CBS News -- with the help of Credit Karma -- has broken down average credit score by age, and the options for improving a credit score. We've added our advice and directed you to the parts of our Solution Center that can help you with your credit.
In Your 20s
- Average credit score: 635.
- What to do about it: Get a credit card without annual fees as soon as you can, which our Solutions Center's Finding the Perfect Plastic page can help you do. "Ask Stacy: How Can I Get Credit Without Credit?" can also help. Then, pay off the bills on time every month and get another card after a few months of responsibly managing the first one. Having multiple cards builds up your "payment history" score category, which constitutes 35 percent of your FICO score.
- Average credit score: 645 to 646.
- What to do about it: Continue paying off credit card bills on time every month and monitor your credit score carefully. In truth, this advice applies to your credit score at any age. Don't apply for any other credit for at least six months before applying for any big loans like a mortgage, Greg Lull -- Credit Karma head of consumer insight -- told CBS.
- Average score: 648 to 657.
- What to do about it: If you've built up a couple of decades of credit history responsibly, consider refinancing higher-interest loans to secure a better rate. Our Solutions Center can help you find the best rate on loans like mortgages, car loans and personal loans.
- Average score: 671 to 685.
- What to do about it: If you have multiple credit card accounts, focus on the one or two that offer the best cash back or rewards. AS CBS reported: "There's no downside to leaving no-fee cards outstanding, but you have enough credit history that it's not going to hurt you if you cancel a credit card or two that charges an annual fee."
- Average score: 699 to 712 for consumers in their 60s, 728 for consumers in their late 70s.
- What to do about it: Resist the temptation to use your high credit score to take on more debt than you can afford. Chances are, you are in a situation where you are living off a decreasing income or limited retirement savings. According to CBS: "Once you're living on a fixed income from pensions, savings and Social Security, it's a good idea to be paying down those debts."