If you’re looking to increase your credit score whether it’s to open up a new credit card or applying for a mortgage, these 6 tips will set you on the right track. Keep in mind that this isn’t an overnight cure for bad credit, these tips will take time and budgeting but will give you a foundation to start from.

1. Pay bills on time. Sounds pretty obvious, but approximately 35% of your credit score is determination by your ability to pay on time. Keep up a good track record and make sure you allot enough per month for your bills. If you have the money, get caught up on any past due balances before the are sent to collections or before they are charged off.

2. Pay down credit limits –About 30% of your credit score is determined by your debt-to-credit ratio. Ideally, keeping less than 20% of your overall available balance shows that you can manage your credit responsibly. It is also actually better to have a small balance then carrying a zero balance. Having a high debit-to-credit ratio shows creditors that you may be more likely to make late or missed payments.

3. Open different types of credit lines. Utilizing different types of loans in addition to credit cards can show diversity in credit lines and also show responsibility. Use a mix of revolving accounts as well as installment accounts. Credit score percentageCredit: myfico 

 4. Dust of those old credit cards. The older the line of credit, the better. As long as it has been in good standing, an old credit line that you may have closed in the past may be the answer. Reopening an old account can increase your overall credit history.

 5. Minimize opening credit lines in short amounts of time. Opening new accounts can lower your average age of your account. If you are a new credit user, this can look risky to most creditors. As long as your are in the process of repairing your credit, avoid this at all cost.

 GoodBadCreditCredit: mazuma6. Check your credit reports often. You need to know exactly where you stand so get a copy of your credit report. There are many sites online that offer different credit monitoring services. Some actually offer tools like different alerts that will notify you when there is a change in your credit score.

Be patience and do not get discouraged. Expect your credit to improve overnight is the wrong mindset. Keep in mind that this is a long term process. As long as you continue to pay off your debts on time, you will see your credit score improve.