If your score needs some work, there are several surefire ways to give it a boost. Depending on what’s bringing it down, it’s very possible to see 50-100 point improvement in a very short period of time.
In fact, the lower your credit score, the more room for improvement you have, and the bigger jumps you can make. So don’t get discouraged if your score is “bad” or “fair”.
Here are the top 7 ways to build up your credit fast:
1. Make frequent payments
If you use credit cards for purchases or paying bills, be sure to make small payments on your credit card account(s) throughout the month – instead of waiting until the bill is due.
Using this method will help reduce your credit utilization, which can be a huge help with boosting your credit score. Keeping your utilization low is something that can benefit your score right away.
2. Get higher credit limits
Work on getting higher credit limits on your credit card accounts. When your credit limit goes up, and your balance stays the same, it will instantly lower your credit utilization (great credit score booster).
Call your credit card issuer ask if you can get a higher limit. But don’t forget to make sure this won’t cause a “hard inquiry” on your credit, which can cause your score to drop temporarily.
3. Dispute credit report errors
Even just one mistake on your credit reports could drag down your score BIG TIME.
You’re entitled to a free credit report every 12 months from each of the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). Be sure to use AnnualCreditReport.com to view those reports and check for mistakes or errors.
Common mistakes to look for would be payments marked late (when they actually were on time) and negative information that is too old to be listed.
If you find any mistakes on your credit reports, dispute those errors right away to get them removed. The credit bureaus have 30 days to investigate and respond to disputes.
4. Become an authorized user
Find a friend of relative with a good long credit history and low credit utilization, ask that person if they are willing to add you as an authorized user on one of their credit cards.
This person doesn’t have to let you use the card, and you can be totally oblivious to the credit card number. This can be a huge benefit to your credit, and it’s super simple and easy, assuming you can find someone willing to do it.
5. Keep credit card accounts open
Be aware that closing credit card accounts can actually hurt your credit score.
If you close a credit card account you don’t seem to use, you lose that card’s credit limit. So when your overall credit utilization is calculated, your total credit limit is lower, which can mean a higher credit utilization (which is not good for your credit score).
To solve this problem, just keep old accounts open and just use the card enough to keep the account open. Just use it for a starbucks coffee here and there and you should be fine.
6. Keep a good mix of accounts
If your goal is to build a solid credit score, having a good mix of credit accounts is key.
If you only have credit cards or student loans, consider getting a different type of credit that you don’t have. Having a good mix of accounts such as credit cards and installment loans (auto loan, student loan etc) can boost your credit worthiness.
7. Pay your bills on time
Last but not least. This is probably the most important thing you can do, but it’s last on the list here because I’m assuming you already know the importance of this.
Payment history has the single biggest affect on your credit score, and late payments can remain on your credit reports for 7 years (yes, this is serious).
So make sure you pay every bill on time. If you get dinged with a late payment, it will immediately lower your credit score, and although the effects this has on your score with diminish over time, it will stay there dragging down your score, to some extent, for a full 7 years.
If you already have late payments on your reports, make payment arrangements, and kindly ask the creditor to consider no longer reporting the missed payment to the credit bureaus.
Even if they refuse to do that, it’s important to get current on the account ASAP.
If you’re struggling with a low credit score, you’re in a great position to make more gains than someone who already has a good credit score.
So stay positive, motivated and hungry! You can do this!
Be sure to check out my story about how I improved my credit score by 111 points in a few short months. You might get some ideas that could be useful for your situation!