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Here are 5 ways to help you improve your credit score

FILE- In this Jan. 31, 2018, file photo, an assortment of credit cards and rewards cards are shown in Zelienople, Pa. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)

Bad credit can make it harder to get a mortgage and buy a house, but it can also make it more difficult to rent an apartment or start your own business.

So how can you improve your credit score? We got the following tips from Harold Perkins, president of the Galaxy Lending Group in Arizona, Oregon, Texas and Washington.

1. Thirty-five percent of your credit rating will be based on your credit card performance.

You should have one traditional credit card, like a Visa or a MasterCard, plus one store credit card, for example from Kohl’s or Cabella’s. If you have more than that, it’s OK, but you don’t want to have a dozen credit cards.

2. You should have one installment loan, requiring monthly payments, like a mortgage, student loan, or a car loan.

3. You never want to run up debt on a card that amounts to a third of the balance that you are allowed to have. Ideally, it should be 10 percent. Thirty-five percent is OK, but 50 percent or more is a big negative.

4. If you have a serious household emergency, like a major roofing repair, for thousands of dollars, it’s possible to put it on a credit card if you don’t have the cash, Perkins said, “but pay off that amount as quickly as possible.”

5. Payment history plays a big part in your credit score. So, if you get in a pinch, be sure to make at least the minimum payment on your credit cards. If you are 30 days late, you will be dinged. But your credit score will get gradually better as you pay off your debts.

“Different credit rating companies have different scoring systems,” Perkins said. “Car dealers have a different system from what Credit Karma has, for example. We all know that 700 is a good score, but not all 700s are the same.”

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