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Expert tips to raise your credit score, improve your buying power

How to lower your credit score, expert tips to improve your buying power
How to lower your credit score, expert tips to improve your buying power 01:22

BOSTON - Even though the Federal Reserve chose to hold interest rates steady this week, mortgage rates are still ticking upwards. That makes strong credit scores critical for buyers.

According to credit score expert Al Bingham, with every 20-point drop in your score below 750, lenders can tack on fees and higher interest rates.

But, Bingham says, there are ways to get your score up quickly.

Which credit card to use - and not use

Paying your bills on time is obvious, but the type of credit cards you have is also important.  According to Bingham the credit card you've held the longest is your most important. His advice is to use it and pay the balance faithfully. He also suggests taking a close look at any cards opened recently and see if you really need them. Closing those cards might help boost your score. 

When to add credit

There may also be times when you may need to add some credit.  If you don't have any installment loans, like a car payment, student loan, or personal loan, that could hurt your score. Bingham stops short of advising consumers to run out and buy a car, but he has had some clients who have taken out small personal loans just to establish that payment history.

What credit cards to avoid

Bingham also warns consumers that unless you are trying to build credit to avoid those credit card offers from retailers that offer 10% - 20% off your purchase as they can ding your score.

How much can I raise my credit score?

According to Bingham, when done correctly, these steps can make a big difference. "If you get those right, you'll see scores go up, a lot - not just a few points - but you'll see drastic improvements of 60,70, 80 points."

He also suggests sticking with non-profit organizations like NFCC and Family Credit Management if you are looking for credit counseling.

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