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The real way to improve your credit score

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If you're looking to improve your credit score, you may be tempted to settle some debts, close a credit card or two and earn a bit more money.

But all of those solutions are myths when it comes to that mysterious credit score.

We all want as high a number as possible. But how do you get a 657 or 750 credit score closer to a perfect 800?

Bankrate.com says many people believe in the wrong fixes.

Its top myths include:

- Paying off your debts will raise it.

(This is incorrect. You want some revolving credit.)

- Credit counseling destroys your score.

(No it doesn't, unless you settle credit card bills for pennies on the dollar.)

- Checking your annual credit report hurts your score.

(No, checking it is actually a good thing.)

-- Divorce releases you from your spouses bad credit history.

(Sorry, that takes years.)

And from the "doesn't that stink" file, the biggest credit score myth of all: Missing a credit card, mortgage or car loan payment wont hurt it too much.

Actually, it will hurt your score -- as much as 50 points or more.

Simplest way to a good score? Never miss an installment payment.

Finally, Bankrate reminds you that there are no quick fixes to a low credit score.

It takes time, and diligence, to rebuild your score if it takes a hit. And that way, you don't waste your money.

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