Credit score is very important in the eyes of lenders and usually is the top way they can decide if we are responsible borrowers. Income is important, but even those with high income may not be financially responsible, so credit scores weigh the most on decisions. If you have not looked at your credit report, you are entitled to a free copy of your report once every 12 months from the three major credit bureaus and examine to make sure there are no inaccuracies. Although it does not come with a credit score, if you logon to your current monthly credit card statement it should provide you with your credit score (a new feature for credit card companies). If you are looking to increase your score, there are a couple of things to follow right away.
Since part of your credit score is measured based upon credit balances compared to overall credit availability, an easy fix (but sometimes the hardest to do) is not to use credit cards until the balance is paid off. The smaller your debt percentage is, the higher your credit score, so rule of thumb is to keep balances low. Even if you are paying balances off each month, it could still be a negative hit on credit so might be wise to pay balances bi-weekly.
No New Debt
This also means do not open new cards as well and charge on those. If you take out additional cards it will add to your credit availability, but your score will still decrease as it is a new pull of credit. If you have multiple cards that need to be paid off, start with the card with the highest interest rate and pay that one off. The more you pay in interest, the payments to go interest first, and the longer it will take to pay off the debt balance.
Pay On Time
Late payments hit credit after 30 days late and can stay on credit reports for seven years, so stop making late payments now. Once you are caught up, your APR may have skyrocketed (although it will not hit credit, payments even one day late can drastically increase APR) so work with the credit card company to see if you can get APR in line. Remember the goal is paying the least amount of interest so you can pay off debt, so if you are paying too high of interest rate you may need to transfer balance to another card and cut up the current card.