If your credit score is worse than you’d like it to be, there may be quick ways to raise it. Depending on what’s holding it back, you might be able to get up to 100 points very rapidly.
Credit scores at the “fair” and “poor” levels might see huge improvements.
Can 100 points be achievable?
If you have a poor credit score, you have a higher chance of improving it rapidly than someone with a solid credit history.
Is a 100-point boost feasible? Rod Griffin, Experian’s senior director of public education and advocacy, says yes. “The lower a person’s score, the more probable it is that they will grow by 100 points,” he explains. “That is just in light of the fact that there’s much more space for development, and little upgrades could bring about greater score rises.
Here are some fast credit-improvement strategies:
- Pay credit score card bills in a planned manner.
- Request increased credit limits.
- Become a registered user.
- Pay your payments on time.
- File a credit report dispute
- Handle collection accounts
- Make use of a secured credit card.
- Apply for rent and utility payment credit.
- Include in your credit combination
1. Pay credit score card bills in a planned manner.
Your credit usage is the percentage of your credit limits that you are utilising at any one time. A decent rule of thumb is to use no more than 30% of your credit limit on any card, and the lower the better. The top scorers use less than 7% of the time. (By examining your credit score profile on NerdWallet, you can track your credit use on each card and overall.)
You should ensure that your balance is low when the card issuer submits it to the credit agencies, as this is what is used to calculate your credit score. Paying down the debt before the billing cycle finishes, or paying numerous times throughout the month, is an easy approach to keeping your balance low.
Impact: extremely powerful. Your credit usage is the second-most important component of your credit score; paying on time is the most important aspect.
Low to medium time commitment. Set up calendar reminders to log in and pay. You may also be able to set up notifications on your credit card accounts to notify you when your balance reaches a certain level.
How quickly it could work: Very quickly. When your credit card reports a reduced amount to the credit agencies, that lower usage will be factored towards your credit score.
2. Request increased credit limits.
When your credit limit increases but your debt remains constant, your overall credit utilisation decreases, which might help you improve your credit. If your salary has increased or you have more years of good credit, you have a good chance of acquiring a bigger limit.
Impact: Significant, because usage is a significant element in credit ratings.
Time commitment: little. Inquire with your credit card company about increasing your credit limit. See if you can avoid a “hard” credit investigation, which might temporarily lower your score by a few points.
How quickly it could work: Very quickly. Once the increased credit limit is reported to credit agencies, it will reduce your total credit usage — as long as you don’t use up the additional “space” on the card.
3. Become a registered user.
If a family or acquaintance has a credit card account with a large credit limit and a track record of timely payments, request that you be added as an approved user. This adds the account to your credit reports, and its credit limit might assist you to maximise your use. Authorized user status, often known as “credit piggybacking,” permits you to profit from the principal user’s good payment history. For your credit to improve, the account holder does not have to let you use the card or even give you the account number.
To get the best results, make sure the account reports to all three main credit agencies (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion); most credit cards do.
Impact: Potentially significant, especially if you are a credit novice with a shaky credit history. The impact will be less severe for people with established credit who are attempting to compensate for mistakes or reduce credit use.
Low to medium time commitment. You’ll need to talk to the account holder you’re requesting this favour from and decide whether you’ll have access to the card and account or only be listed as an approved user.
How quickly it could work: Very quickly. The account can help your profile as soon as you’re added and that credit account reports to the agencies.
4. Pay your payments on time.
If you pay late, no credit-improvement method will work. Worse, late payments can be reported to credit bureaus for 712 years.
If you miss a payment by more than 30 days, contact the creditor right away. Pay as soon as possible and inquire whether the creditor will consider not reporting the missing payment to the credit bureaus. Even if the creditor refuses, it is worthwhile to bring the account current as soon as possible. Every month that an account is deemed late lowers your credit score.
Impact: Extremely powerful. In both the FICO and VantageScore credit rating systems, your payment history is the most important element.
Time commitment: little. Set up account reminders and consider automated payments to cover at least the minimum to avoid missed payments.
How quickly it could work: This depends on how many payments you’ve missed and how lately. It is also important to consider how late the payment was (30, 60, 90 or more days past due). Fortunately, the impact of late payments lessens with time, and establishing more positive credit accounts can assist to accelerate this process.
5. File a credit report dispute
An error on one of your credit reports may be lowering your score. Resolving credit report inaccuracies might help you improve your credit rapidly.
You are entitled to free credit reports from all three major credit bureaus. Request them from AnnualCreditReport.com and then review them for errors, such as payments labelled late when you paid on time, someone else’s credit activity mixed in with yours, or unfavourable information that is too old to be listed.
Once you’ve recognised them, you should challenge them.
The impact: varies, but it might be significant if a creditor reports that you missed a payment when you didn’t.
Medium to high time commitment: Requesting and reading your free credit reports, filing complaints regarding mistakes, and tracking the follow-up all take time. However, the practice is worthwhile, especially if you’re attempting to establish credit in advance of a major milestone, such as qualifying for a significant loan. If you want to apply for a mortgage, resolve any problems as soon as possible.
It depends on how quickly it can function. The credit reporting agencies have 30 days to investigate and reply. Some businesses offer to challenge mistakes and swiftly enhance your credit but tread carefully.
6. Handle collection accounts
Paying off a collections account eliminates the risk of being sued for the debt, and you may be able to persuade the collection agency to cease reporting the amount once you pay it. You can also erase collections accounts from your credit reports if they are inaccurate or have been listed for too long.
Impact: Diverse a collection account is a major bad mark on your credit report, so if the collector agrees to cease reporting the account, it might assist a lot.
If the collector continues to report the account, the outcome is determined by the scoring model used to calculate your score. The FICO 8 model, which is frequently used for credit determinations, still considers paid collections. Paid-off collections, on the other hand, are ignored by more modern FICO models and VantageScores.
Time commitment: Moderate. You’ll need to get and examine your credit reports, and then devise a strategy for dealing with any listed collections accounts.
It has the potential to work rather rapidly. On credit scores that overlook paid collections, such as VantageScore and newer FICOs, the paid-off status might enhance your ratings as soon as it is submitted to credit agencies. In other circumstances, such as challenging a collection account or requesting a goodwill deletion, the procedure may take many months.
7. Make use of a secured credit card.
A secured credit card is another option for building or rebuilding your credit. This sort of card is secured by a cash deposit; you pay it in advance, and the deposit amount is generally equal to your credit limit. You use it like a regular credit card, and on-time payments help you establish credit.
Impact: This is most likely to benefit someone new to credit with accounts or someone with damaged credit who wants to add more good credit history and mitigate prior mistakes.
Time commitment: Moderate. Look for a secured card that notifies all three main credit agencies of your credit activity. You could also examine alternate credit cards that do not need a security deposit.
It might take several months to work. The purpose here isn’t just to have another card, though that might enhance your score by increasing your credit depth. Rather, you want to establish a track record of keeping balances low and paying on time.
8. Apply for rent and utility payment credit.
Rent reporting services can record on-time rent payments to credit bureaus. Rent payments are not taken into account by all scoring models; VantageScores do, whereas FICO 8 does not. Even so, if a potential creditor examines your papers, rent records will be present, and a lengthy track record of consistent payments can only assist.
Experian Boost can also assist, but only to a limited extent. You connect your bank accounts to the free Boost service, which searches for payments to streaming services, phone and utility bills, and so on. You have control over which payments are submitted to your Experian credit record. When a creditor retrieves your FICO 8 using Experian data, you gain from the additional payment history.
The impact varies.
Time commitment: little. There is no need for a further time after the first setup.
How quickly it could work: Boost works immediately; rent reporting varies, with some programmes providing a quick “lookback” of the previous two years’ payments. Without it, it might take months to establish a track record of on-time payments.
9. Include in your credit combination
A good-standing supplementary credit account may enhance your credit, especially if it is a form of credit you do not currently have.
Consider getting a loan if you just have credit cards; a credit-builder loan might be a low-cost choice. Check to see if the loan you’re thinking about getting reports to all three credit agencies.
If you simply have loans or a few credit cards, a new credit card may be beneficial. It can lower your total credit use by increasing accessible credit, in addition to optimising your credit mix.
The impact varies. Opening a loan account is more likely to assist someone who just has credit cards and vice versa. People with few accounts or short credit histories stand to gain the most.
Time commitment: Moderate. Consider if the effort spent researching and applying for providers is worth the possible boost to your score. Consider how much you’ll spend in interest and fees if you’re seeking a loan or credit card only to repair your credit.
How quickly it could work: Very quickly. The new account’s activity might begin to benefit you as soon as it is reported to the credit bureaus.