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  • James Veal

How to Increase Your Credit Scores Fast


If your credit score is lower than you’d like, there may be fast ways to bring it up. Depending on what’s holding it down, you may be able to tack on as many as 100 points relatively quickly.


Is a 100-point increase realistic? Yes! You see, the lower a person’s credit score, the more likely they are to achieve a 100-point increase. Reason being - there is much more upside, and small changes can result in greater score increases.



Here are some strategies to quickly improve your credit score:



1. Pay Credit Card Balances Strategically

The portion of your credit limits you’re using is called your credit utilization. Use less than 30% of your limit on any card, and lower is better. You want to make sure your balance is low when the card issuer reports it to the credit bureaus. For example, if I have a $5,000 credit card limit, I should try to use only $1,500 (30%).



2. Ask For Higher Credit Limits

When your credit limit goes up and your balance stays the same, it instantly lowers your over credit reutilization (remember these two words from above?), which can improve your credit. If your income has gone up or you’ve added more years of positive credit experience, you have a decent shot at getting a higher limit.



3. Become An Authorized User

This is powerful! If a relative or friend has a credit card account with a high credit limit and a good history of on-time payments, ask to be added as an authorized user. That adds the account to your credit reports, so its credit limit can help your utilization (there’s that word again). The account holder doesn’t have to let you use the card - or even give you the account number for your credit to improve.



4. Pay Bills On Time (Duh!)

I mean-isn’t this a given! No strategy to improve your credit score will be effective if you pay late. Pay up as soon as you can if you have due payments over 30 days. Ask the creditor if they can consider not reporting missed payments to the credit bureaus. Late payments can stay on your credit reports for 7 ½ years.




5. Dispute Credit Report Errors

A mistake on one of your credit reports could be pulling down your score. Disputing any errors can help you quickly improve your credit. You’re entitled to free reports from each of the three major credit bureaus. Use AnnualCreditReport.com to request them and then check for mistakes, such as payments marked late when you paid on time, someone else’s credit activity mixed with your, or negative information that’s too old to be listed anymore.



6. Deal With Collections Accounts

Paying off a collections account removes the threat that you will be sued over the debt, and you may be able to persuade the collection agency to stop reporting the debt once you pay it. You can also remove collections accounts from your credit reports if they aren’t accurate or are too old to be listed.



7. Use a Secured Credit Card

Another way to build or rebuild your credit is with a secured credit card. This type of card is backed by a cash deposit; you pay it upfront and the deposit amount is usually the same as your credit limit. You use it like a normal credit card, and your on-time payments help build your credit.



8. Get Credit for Rent and Utility Payments

Rent reporting services can add your on-time rent payments to your credit reports. However, you need to know, rent payments are not considered by every scoring model. VantageScores include them but FICO 8 does not, for example. Even so, if a creditor looks at your reports, rent records will be there, and a long record of consistent payments can only help.




9. Add to Your Credit Mix

An additional credit account in good standing may help your credit, particularly if it is a type of credit you don’t already have. If you have only credit cards, consider getting a loan and make sure they report to all three credit bureaus. In addition to improving credit mix, adding a new card to your loans and credit cards will actually reduce your overall credit utilization (No, not these two words again!) and increase your credit scores even higher.



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