Credit tips that defy common sense

Whether it's keeping debt levels low or not missing a payment, it makes sense that some spending behaviors can improve a consumer's credit score. But while there are a variety of other actions that can enhance a score, many people may not take them because they seem counterintuitive, according to MSN Money.

One of these is adding to the types of loans a person has. According to FICO, 10 percent of consumers' income is determined by "credit mix" or the types of credit that appear on credit reports. Thus, consumers who have, for example, credit cards, auto loans, and mortgages will likely enjoy higher credit scores than others who simply have only credit card accounts.

In addition to improving the credit mix, having multiple credit cards with high but relatively unused lines of credit can also yield better scores, according to MSN Money. So if consumers open new credit card accounts, they may increase their available credit, effectively reducing the overall percentage of credit that's been utilized across all accounts, and net higher credit scores in turn.

Other tips that may seem counterintuitive yet can improve a score are not canceling a credit card and making only one inquiry for a competitive loan offer.

Something else that may confuse consumers is discovering that a low FICO score resulted from apparent errors or other examples of unfair credit reporting, despite making payments on time. Should this happen, a credit repair law firm may be able to assist.