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What are the most practical ways to improve my FICO score? What would make my score tank besides filing for bankruptcy?


You’re right, filing for bankruptcy would be a major no-no. Defaults and late payments would hurt, too, as would having outstanding debt balances that are close to your total credit limit. As for what would help, you can get tips straight from the horse’s mouth. Fair Isaac, the company that invented the credit score, lists ways to boost your score on its website:

Some of them are beyond obvious – the site recommends reducing your debt and paying bills on time. A more helpful suggestion is to obtain a free copy of your credit report, which everyone is entitled to do once a year under the law; that will let you know if there are any inaccuracies. Other useful steps include setting up online payment reminders with your bank; keeping accounts open, even if you don’t use them, and avoiding opening new accounts that you don’t need.

-Conrad de Aenlle