While it's impossible to improve your credit score overnight, focusing on these important factors will start to have a positive effect over time. It's important to set limits for yourself, stay disciplined in your spending habits, and periodically analyze your credit score for improvements.

 1. Review your credit report: There are a number of great online tools for checking your credit report. Take the time to analyze the report closely for any errors like late payments and incorrect credit limits. If you find any errors or if something looks suspicious, contact the business of the account in question or the credit reporting bureau that issued the report. You can easily request one free copy of your credit report every 12 months from each of the three nationwide credit bureaus at AnnualCreditReport.com.
 
2. Always pay your bills on time: This one should go without saying, but late payments are a credit score killer. Creating and sticking to a budget will help ensure you have the funds to make your payments on time. Doing the little things like setting up automatic or online bill payments where you can and putting any other payment reminders on your calendar are some great ways to avoid late payments.

3. Pay down your credit card balances: The less credit card debt you owe, the more it will help your credit score. Plain and simple. It's also smart to not apply for multiple credit cards in a short period of time. Your credit score may lose a few points each time a creditor checks your report after you have filled out an application.

4. Focus on Loan Applications: When it comes time to shop for a new auto loan or mortgage, it's best practice to have all your applications submitted within a 2-week period. Multiple inquiries within a two-week period are treated as a single inquiry and won’t hurt your credit score like multiple credit card inquires will.