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Credit card debt has swiftly become an epidemic in the United States, and it does not appear to be going away any time soon. After all, Americans’ total debt reached a record high — $13.1 trillion — just earlier this month. Additionally, new research has found that approximately 33 percent of Americans do not have more savings than outstanding credit card debt.

Certainly, a lack of financial literacy can be to blame for some of this misuse of credit. However, it is important to note that it is not too late for many Americans to reverse this debt, improve their credit scores, and get a better handle on their finances. All they must do is commit to making a change, and employ better tactics to aid them in paying down their expenses in a timely manner.

With that in mind, let us examine the best methods of improving one’s debt-to-income ratio and, subsequently, their overall credit score.

Make payments twice a month

Of course, it is imperative one never misses a payment, as they will result in late fees and, depending on one’s credit history, derogatory marks. However, in order to gain more traction on especially large balances, it may be wise to make two payments per month. Even if you were to make the usual minimum payment twice, you would likely make a bigger dent in your debt than you would by just paying once, especially once you factor in interest rates.

Add positive information to your credit report

Everyone pays a number of bills that are never accounted for on their credit reports, such as cable, internet, phone service, and even utilities. This discrepancy is because such organizations are not obligated to report your balance or payment history. However, it is possible to ask each respective company if they would add such information to your credit report. If they oblige, your score may see a considerable boost, especially if you are a long-time customer that has never missed a payment.

Be vigilant in avoiding credit card scams

Financial scams plague individuals of every age group and income level, and they only appear to be getting more complex and creative as the years go on. For instance, fraudsters who obtain others’ information now turn to subscription services like Hulu, Netflix, and Spotify to test credit cards before making expensive purchases.

This tactic has seen so much success as of late because individuals pay little mind to such charges, as they are usually already customers of said platforms.

Therefore, it is imperative you always exercise caution and regularly check your credit card statements for suspicious activity. Otherwise, you may miss pertinent information that is directly in front of you and fall victim to a devastating scam.

Paying down debt is no easy feat. However, with a bit of determination, diligence, and patience, it is possible to reduce your outstanding balances and improve your overall quality of life.