Ways to Improve Your Credit Score with a Credit Card _Banner_WC

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Ways to Improve Your Credit Score with a Credit Card _WC

4 min 02 Feb 2023
improve credit score with a credit card
Highlights
  • What is a CIBIL/Credit Score?
  • Importance of a Credit Score for a Credit Card
  • How Credit Cards Affect Your Credit Score?
  • Ways to Improve Your Credit Rating with a Credit Card

A credit score or CIBIL score is one of the essential elements through which banks and lending institutions can assess a prospective borrower’s financial health. It tells lenders how sensibly applicants handle their credit helping them decide whether or not to grant loan approvals. A higher score makes it easier to get sanctions for new loans and other types of credit at competitive rates of interest. But before you can know how to improve your credit score particularly by using your credit card, you ought to first understand what it is. 

What is a Credit Score? 

A credit score or CIBIL score is the summary of your credit history in the form of a three-digit figure ranging from 300 to 900. It is generated by credit bureaus like TransUnion CIBIL, Experian, Equifax and CRIF Highmark when they pull up your credit report.  

A credit score closer to 900 is considered ideal. Lenders usually favour applicants with a score of 750 and above. Such individuals can borrow higher loan amounts with the best possible rates and terms. Contrarily, a lower score may fetch you loans of a smaller principal sum at heavier interest rates.  

​​​The following table displays the CIBIL score range:​​​​ 

​​​Your CIBIL Score  

​​​How it translates to the lender  

​​​800-900​​ 

​​​An excellent score range that Indicates that you have never defaulted on your EMI and credit bills payment.  

​​​750-800

A very good CIBIL score. You can now negotiate and bargain on your interest rate.  

​​​625-750

​​​You have a decent credit history with very few irregularities. You may get a loan but at a higher interest rate.  

​​​300-625

​​​This score indicates high frequencies of defaults and irregularities. You may find it very difficult to get a loan unless you improve your CIBIL score.

​​​Note: The CIBIL Score Range is defined as per the industry standards. ​​ 

Also Read: What is CIBIL Score and How It Works 

Importance of a Credit Score for a Credit Card

Just like any other form of credit, when you apply for a credit card, lenders will look up your credit score to examine your creditworthiness and ability to repay debts on time before approving your application. Interestingly, credit cards can also be used effectively to ​improve your credit score.       

How Credit Cards Affect Your Credit Score

Credit cards can enhance your monetary well-being by boosting a failing CIBIL score. Banks and financial institutions primarily rely on CIBIL scores to determine eligibility for issuing loans or credit cards to customers. Whether you have a bad or nil credit history, using a credit card wisely can elevate your credit rating. 

Also Read: Boost Your Credit Score By Minding The Factors That Affect It 

7 Tips to Increase your Credit Score with Credit Card

There are several ways to use credit cards to improve your credit score. If you already own one or even a few of them, bear in mind the following considerations:  

1.Make Credit Purchases Smartly

Most people prefer using credit cards to make heavy purchases intending to pay them off later. At times, this could backfire if repayments are not made on time thereby affecting the CIBIL score. Therefore, it’s best to budget smartly and initiate cash transactions whenever possible so as not to overshoot the credit limit. This way you can keep your card usage to a minimum and achieve a favourable credit history with realistic money management. 

2.Pay Bills with a Credit Card

You can regularly pay internet bills, phone bills and utility bills like water and electricity with a credit card to create a positive credit history and bolster your CIBIL score. Since these expenses are much lower when compared to buying material goods, the resultant credit card dues can be comfortably paid off. 

3.Make Regular Repayments

Even if you cannot clear the entire amount outstanding on a credit card, try to pay the minimum sum on or before the due date. Paying off credit card debts, as much as possible, can hike your CIBIL score quickly qualifying you as a low credit risk. 

4.Set Repayment Reminders for your Credit Card

A regular repayment schedule can work wonders for your credit rating. Credit card users should always pay their credit dues on time. Delays in payments or pending dues may attract penalties that can cause a dip in your CIBIL score. Hence, set reminders for EMI payments so that you don’t miss out on any instalments. 

5.Maintain Older Credit Cards

Past credit history that spans a longer period of time can strengthen your credit profile. So, retain old credit cards to build a sound credit history and raise your credit score, and pay your credit bills in full and on time.  

6.Increase Your Credit Limit

Your credit utilisation ratio plays a significant part in supporting a good credit score. Restricting credit usage based on your allotted limit can increase your score. But once you overstep the limit, it has the opposite effect of reducing your credit score. This can be managed best by requesting your lender to customise the credit limit according to your expenses. 

7.Check Your CIBIL Report for Errors

Sometimes, there could be mistakes, incorrect information or a delay in updating details in your credit records; which may potentially bring down your credit score. Hence, check your CIBIL score periodically to identify possible errors and rectify them by submitting a CIBIL Dispute Resolution form online. 

It is vital to maintain a good credit score even after you secure a loan. But if your credit score is already on the lower side, do not despair. You can follow these practical tips to augment your CIBIL score. 

Also Read: Important things Might Go Wrong with Your CIBIL Report 

The Dos and Don'ts of Credit Card Usage

Credit cards not only give you the power to purchase without the need to have the required amount in your bank, they also give you a sense of assurance in anticipation of unfavorable times. But there are certain do’s and don’ts that you should be aware of in order to make the most of it. 

Do’s of credit card usage

Try to clear off your entire bills – If you have used your credit card, try to pay back the exact same amount instead of paying the maximum allowed amount. This will save you from some unprecedented interests and also support your credit score. 

Look out for high credit limits – If you have been using a bank account for several years and have had enough money into your accounts on an average – chances are you are qualified for a preapproved credit card. Many companies offer free credit cards for their loyal customers and when you get such an opportunity – negotiate for a higher limit and take it. 

Opt for a low interest rate credit card – If you are not able to pay your credit card bills in full, you need to look for lower interest rate cards. It does not take much time to become debt ridden due to the compounding effect of relatively small unpaid bills. You can also negotiate for annual fees and get a waiver for the first one or two years. 

Look out for commercial benefits – credit card companies these days come with a lot of perks in order to stand out in the densely populated credit card market. As such, go for a card that offers you the features that can benefit you the most such as 1+1 movie tickets, lounge access, cashback, etc. 

Do read the fine print – Credit card offers can seem lucrative but always look out for the ‘*conditions apply’ on them.  

Don’ts of credit card usage

Don’t miss any of your payments – making timely repayment is the crux of a successful lending business. As such, if you delay your payments or make minimum payments or skip the payments altogether – it will impact your credit profile negatively. 

Do not overuse your credit – The credit card limit that you have is not meant to be achieved by you. it is merely there to assure you that your emergencies can be taken care of. As such, use your credit card within the 30% mark and spend with precaution.   

Don’t apply for more credit cards if you already have balances on others – If you are unable to clear pending payments on your existing credit cards, do not apply for more and fall into the debt trap. 

Don’t take it if you don’t want it – It is easy to fall under the peer pressure of getting yourself a credit card if you don’t own any. However, from a credit score point of view, the earlier you start using a credit card, the better. 

Summing Up

Using a credit card is one of the most efficacious ways to enhance your credit record by showing lenders how responsibly you can handle credit. Make sure you utilise credit cards to initiate timely bill payments and use a modest portion of the credit available to you. Even one transaction on your card, at least once a month, is sufficient to develop a strong and consistent credit history as long as there are no late or missed payments. Also, try to clear the full credit card bill every time. Leaving a balance consistently may prove counterproductive to your credit score.           

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