Raise Credit Score Fast with These Moves
Updated May 31, 2020
Sometimes we make mistakes that affect our credit score. You may have accidentally missed a payment deadline, or opened a new credit card too soon after the last one. The result is that your credit score is no longer perfect. Rebuilding your score takes time. It takes patience to see the efforts to fix your score work out. We’ve looked into ways to save you some time on the wait. If you follow our guide, you should be able to raise your credit score a little faster.
3 Fundamental Steps to Boost Your Credit Score
In order to boost your credit score, you must understand what levers you can use to cause change. There are three main steps needed to improve your score. If you implement these actions, you may be able to raise your credit score a bit faster.
1. Check your credit report and fix any errors
This is the first thing you should do. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), approximately 5% of consumers have significant errors in their credit reports. These errors are bad enough to warrant increased interest rates on financial services or higher insurance costs. A quarter of all reports contain inaccuracies that can have a small effect on your credit score.
Checking your report allows you to review your current credit history. You’ll be able to see what’s going on and identify the issues that affected your credit score. This way, you’ll know what behaviors you can work on to improve your credit score for the long term. You can get a free copy of your credit report in a number of ways; visiting AnnualCreditReport.Com is the fastest method. This website will allow you to request reports from each of the three credit bureaus.
When you check your credit report, you should also review your credit history for errors. You’ll want to make sure that everything listed is correct. Mistakes that are not your fault can still result in credit-related or fiscal penalties. Should you see any inaccuracies, you can contact either the credit bureau or your lender to investigate it further. By law, they must respond within 30 days. If an error is found, it must be removed from your report, and your score must be recalculated.
2. Pay off your credit card balance (keep your utilization ratio low)
Your utilization ratio is the proportion of revolving debt you owe to the total credit you have available. It has a huge effect on your FICO credit score: a weight of 30% to be exact. A larger debt will have higher utilization than a smaller one. Normally, your credit utilization ratio should be 30% or less. Ideally, you want your utilization to be zero when it is reported to the credit bureaus. This is achieved by paying off your credit card balance completely. (If your balance is too much to handle at one time, consider making micropayments. These are small payments made frequently during the month to keep balances low.) Even if you aren’t able to zero out your balance immediately, you should still aim to have low utilization. Ask your lender if they can raise your credit limit without a hard inquiry (which drops your score even further). Keeping your balance low from as early as the first month rebuilding your score will move your credit score upward.
3. Start paying your bills on time (if you don’t do it already)
Did you know that the single largest influence on your credit score is whether you pay your bills on time? This is also called your payment history. The more months your accounts are delinquent, the worse it affects your score. Missed payments can stay on your credit report for seven years. Improvements in your payment history may not affect your score as quickly as the other two items. At 35% weight, you’ll soon experience positive effects when your on-time payments are reflected in your credit history.
In conjunction with paying your bills on time, call your creditors. Make a plan to pay, and investigate if they will be willing to repeal the late payments from your report.
Restoring your credit score is not easy, and it cannot be rushed. If you follow our advice, you can shorten the time it takes to raise your credit score. Soon you’ll be on the way to having excellent credit.
If you don’t have any credit history and you want to establish some, then you’ll need to build it safely. Check out the article “Credit History: What it is and How to Establish it Safely.”