Credit improvement myths

While consumers may believe closing old accounts or making payments earlier than the due date can help boost a credit score, financial experts tell Bankrate that these "quick fixes" are myths.

With respect to closing accounts, doing so can shorten a consumer's credit history, leaving the individual with a smaller amount of credit that's available to them. This can then lead to a bad credit score, according to Trey Loughran, president of personal information solutions at Equifax.

As for paying off loans early, this tactic doesn't work because a score takes into account the amount of available credit that's being used, according to John Ulzheimer, president of consumer education at Because the balance of the account is reported to the credit agency when a transaction is made, it doesn't matter if the purchase is paid off one day or several days before the due date, he said.

Other common credit improvement myths include opting out of credit card offers, opening multiple accounts and paying off loans early, financial experts tell Bankrate.

Something that will adversely affect a score, however, are inaccurate notations made by a creditor. Consumers can avoid this by closely monitoring their report, keeping an eye out for transactions that look unfamiliar.