03/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Boost Your Credit Score

Because 30 percent of your FICO score is based on amounts owed on revolving credit, I can't say it enough: watch your balances!


35% payment history
30% amounts owed on revolving accounts
15% length of credit
10% new credit
10% types of credit

Being over your limit or near your limit on revolving accounts will detract points from your score. Revolving accounts are credit cards and lines of credit. I get asked all the time: what if I pay off my auto loan? It will make no difference. It will not affect your FICO score. FICO is only concerned with how consumers use their open lines of credit.

It's simple. Paying down your balances to 20% or less of the high limit will give a boost to your score - sometimes as much as 50 points.....this one step can increase your score within 72 hours!


Home equities are revolving balances. In other words, home equity loans do not report as an installment loan like a regular mortgage. Because paying down a home equity is not an option for most folks, consider asking your bank to recode your home equity as a mortgage. If they won't, consider getting a second mortgage to pay off the home equity. It will make a difference in the long run.