Home > Credit 101 > Can You Raise Your Credit Score 100 Points in a Month?

Comments 49 Comments
Advertiser Disclosure


Improving your credit score often requires a lot of patience, because a good credit score is built on years of responsible habits. If you’ve made mistakes, they can be challenging to recover from, but it’s a doable goal. Of course, if you want to buy a home, take out a personal loan or get a new credit card, you may not have a lot of time to boost your score. You need a quick route to the next-highest tier of credit quality if you want loan approval and affordable interest rates.

In the credit world, there aren’t a lot of quick fixes, and some strategies for getting a significant score change are questionable, at best. There’s nothing wrong with wanting a 100-point surge in your credit score, but it’ll take time. It’s not very realistic to expect such a drastic change in a month’s time, said Gerri Detweiler, Credit.com’s director of consumer education.

How to Make Big Changes

Detweiler said there are a few reasons you might be able to pull off a major turnaround in a short period of time. If a negative item recently appeared on your credit report and you’re able to have it removed, you may see a massive score change. For example: Say your healthcare provider sent a medical bill to the wrong address and it ended up in collections. A collection account can seriously harm your credit standing, but in a situation like a billing error, you’re in a good position to negotiate the account off your credit report.

If the IRS placed a tax lien on you within the last few years and you enroll in the Fresh Start program, you have the ability to purge the lien from your credit report. Seriously negative tradelines that are only a few years or months old will have the biggest impact on your credit standing, so if you have cause to have them removed, it’s possible to get that 100-point jump you’re looking for.

“It’s more likely to happen if there’s something seriously negative in the past few years that’s bringing down your score,” Detweiler said. “But even if you can’t boost it by 100 points, you can still make a significant improvement.”


Set Realistic Goals

One of the easiest ways to drastically change your credit score is to focus on lowering your credit utilization. Keep your credit card balances as low as possible, relative to their limits, because credit utilization has a major impact on your credit score. Payment history is the most influential factor in determining credit scores, so make sure you don’t slip up there, but credit utilization is nearly as important.

You can also try piggybacking on someone else’s credit by asking a close friend or family member with excellent credit utilization to add you as an authorized user to one of his credit cardsThis is a bit of an iffy strategy, Detweiler said, but it has the potential to improve your credit score in the short term. The primary accountholder needs to seriously consider how adding you as an authorized user may affect his or her finances. If your friend gives you a credit card tied to his/her account, their credit standing will be exposed to your spending habits, and they’ll be on the hook for the bill. Set clear expectations before formally establishing this relationship. The primary accountholder may also want to consider adding you as an authorized user and not giving you the associated card, so you can’t go rogue with it.

As far as score fluctuation goes, it’s important to remember that your score will regularly change, because scores are generated in real time, and your creditors report to credit bureaus at different times throughout the month. Small changes, like a shift of 10 to 15 points in either direction, aren’t cause for concern, but if your score moves more than 25 points within a month of checking it, you’ll want to figure out why that happened. (Note: Make sure you’re comparing the same scoring model based on the same credit report; otherwise, it’ll be difficult to pinpoint the cause of the difference.)

The change could be as simple as a big change in your credit utilization, but it may also be an indication of identity theft. It’s a good idea to keep an eye on your credit, regardless of your financial goals.

If you have only one negative tradeline on your credit report, it’s going to be easier to quickly recover from the setback.

“If it was a series of things or a gradual descent into debt, then it’s going to be harder to change,” Detweiler said.

You can check two of your credit scores for free on Credit.com, and your personal dashboard will help you identify the problem areas in your credit history. From there, you can make a plan to move forward and monitor your credit as you strive for a higher score.

More on Credit Reports and Credit Scores:

Image: moodboard

Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.

  • P Zeal

    For any recent readers, I was once an authorized user on my mom’s accounts. None asked for SS# or address for me. But they all got on my report and I was living in a different state. I was amazed. Some lenders, like AMEX, do ask for the SS# of the user.

  • Jeanine Skowronski

    Lenders don’t always report to all three credit bureaus, so there could be something on one report that isn’t showing up on the others. When getting ready to apply for a loan, such as mortgage, it’s a good idea to pull your credit reports from each credit bureau. You can find information on how to do that here: https://www.credit.com/credit-reports/free-annual-credit-report/

    Also, more info on multiple credit scores are here: https://www.credit.com/credit-scores/#how-many-scores-are-there

    Thank you,


  • Natalia Ramirez

    Hello, what can I do to raise my score by 60 points? I paid off all of my debt and have never had a late payment. I currently have a score of 720

    • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

      Natalia —
      Sometimes paying off all your debt can actually hurt your score. You can read more about that here: Help! I Paid Off My Credit Card & My Credit Score Dropped

      But in most scales, a 720 is a good score. Your best bets to raise score are 1) to pay on time and 2) to keep your credit card balances low (no more than 30%) relative to credit card limits. You can read more here:
      How to Build Credit the Smart Way

  • Tanner

    Hello. I am currently in the process of rebuilding my credit. I have about $800 that I am disputing/paying off. my credit is so low that my 3 scores wouldn’t even show up when I bought them through free credit report.com. In your opinion what is the best way to reestablish an unsecure line of credit to start building my score back up? years ago I used a local micro loan company to establish my credit but I am having trouble finding one around.

    • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

      What do you mean your scores didn’t show up at all? If you need unsecured credit, you will almost certainly need a credit score. You can check your score for free through some credit cards, and you can get a free credit score from Credit.com that updates every 30 days. It also has a personalized plan for improving your credit. When your credit score is low, your best bet for re-establishing it is with a secured product.

  • Harry

    Hi. I’m a student with student loans and a credit card. I have not had a single late payment with any of these accts. Last month I had a score of about 696. This month it came down to 626, because I maxed out my credit card. It is a small credit of Less than 1K. I figure this is why it went down 70 pts. But my question is: if I pay my credit card balance in the next couple months, which I know I can, will it go back up to 696 range?

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      If that’s what’s bringing your scores down then yes, paying it down should help your scores.

  • Brittany

    I am currently trying to purchase a home and I’m trying to increase my score 64 points within 2 months. I am having some issues because I have 2 medical bills that transferred to another collection agency back in November of 2014 and now I have duplicate medical bills under my middle score from two different collection agencies for the same accounts. This has been weighing down my middle score and I’ve contacted both collection agencies and submitted a dispute with Equifax, yet nothing has been done or fixed. Also, I have paid off all of my non-medical collection accounts and they have not increased my score. Two of the collection accounts I paid off are still on my credit but in a Paid status and it didn’t help my credit scores. Do these accounts have to completely be removed for it to increase my credit scores? I have a secured credit card I’ve had for 4 months, a Car loan I’ve been paying for 7 months, and a car loan that was completely paid off in 2014 prior to the one I’m on now. I’ve been working so hard to get my scores to increase, but I haven’t been able to get anywhere.

    • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

      Brittany —
      Unfortunately, paying off a collection doesn’t typically raise scores. We’re also concerned about the dispute because a dispute can actually hurt your chances of getting a mortgage. (You can read more about that here: How a Credit Report Dispute Could Stop You From Buying a Home). How is your credit utilization (that’s the amount of credit you use relative to your credit limit). Keep that low (no more than 30%, and no more than 10% is even better). Also, be certain that you are paying every bill on time. Your payment history and credit utilization are the two biggest factors that determine your score.

      Let us know if we can help further.

    • Brittany

      I disputed the medical accounts because they were duplicates on my credit report. Two different collection agencies were trying to collect on my account. Would that cause an issue of me purchasing my home?

  • Chris

    Hi! I was wondering how much a score can fluctuate within a week? It seems my score is teetering on my credit card utilization as all other factors are stagnant. I’m currently disputing some inquiries on my account also is there an average number your score raises per inquiry removed?

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      Depending on the information that has changed it can fluctuate quite a bit. Inquiries usually they take somewhere in the range of 3 – 5 points off the score. If they are older than one year, most scoring models ignore them.

  • Ladybug Leslie

    How can, I increase my 711 credit score to a 750 or 800? I had 4 credit cards and made the mistake of closing 2 with 0 balances. Now, I have two credit cards. One credit card has a 0 balance and the other a small balance. I want to improve my credit to buy a car late next year and I would like to own a home in the future. I think what may be keeping my score in the low 700’s is a student loan. It’s not in default, as I am still enrolled in school. Can, I do anything to increase my credit score, until I finish school and in the position to pay off my student loan.

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      It is hard to say without knowing exactly what’s bringing it down. Do you have your free credit score from Credit.com? What factors are you receiving low grades for?

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler
  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    Ms. V – it is so hard to say. It could but there are so many factors that go into credit scores it’s hard to predict exactly what one particular action will do to your scores. I definitely encourage you not to close the accounts once you pay them off. The other concern I have is that with so little wiggle room your score could drop again before closing due to something minor – a different balance, for example – and most lenders pull credit right before closing. I don’t mean to stress you out, but it is something you need to be prepared for if you plan to buy now rather than waiting until your credit is stronger. Your loan officer should be able to guide you through that process.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    Any on that page should help you build a credit reference. Double check the one you choose reports to all three credit reporting agencies – they should though.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    That’s helpful. You may want to get a secured credit card as well so you have a mix of open accounts on your credit reports.

  • Jameel Murphy

    Hi. I have 4 issues on my credit report a light bill which will be paid this week a cable bill which will be paid in the coming weeks. A repo and a credit card which are going to be tough to payoff currently. My credit score is 550 but i need at least 600-660 to be able to rent a decent apartment. I am hopeful after i pay off the two utility bills my credit will move to 600. Does that sound realistic?

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      Jameel – It’s really hard to say. Under many scoring models collection accounts are negative regardless of whether they are paid or not. It really depends on which scoring model the landlord’s credit report source uses, and that’s hard for you to know in advance. This article may be of interest: The 7 Biggest Questions About Debt Collections & Your Credit

      Do you have any positive accounts paid on time right now? Accounts with a positive status do help.

  • Lisa carter

    can I raise my credit score by 100 and 1 month

  • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

    Why were the accounts frozen? And for how long? It’s possible you can call the creditors involved and ask for “goodwill deletions.” They are not obligated, of course, but if you can show you had a good payment record before and that you had no way of knowing the accounts were frozen, perhaps they will be willing to help. (If the accounts had already been turned over to collections, this is unlikely to work.) Failing that, you’ll be left to rebuild credit slowly. If you no longer qualify for standard credit cards, you can open a secured card and pay it off faithfully, keeping the balance at 30% or less of your limit.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    That’s a pretty big jump in one month and I don’t feel comfortable speculating since so many different variables go into these models. If you can get that 28% UTL down it might be a safer bet. If not, then do what you can.

    • tippy

      Gerri- To be clear, lower than the 28% ? if so what would be safer?

      • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

        There’s no magic specific threshold. All factors are interdependent. But consumers with the highest scores tend to use less than 10% of their available credit. Again now I can’t promise any specific results from one particular action.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    It’s hard to say because it depends on what factors are bringing your score down. Have you obtained your free credit score from Credit.com? When you do you will also get a free action plan for your credit. Hopefully that will help.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    Lola –

    It’s so hard to tell because it depends on everything in your credit reports. But going from a 564 to an 800 credit score in a short period of time is difficult unless there is seriously negative information that gets removed and everything else in the report is positive.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    The Social Security number isn’t necessarily needed. It’s possible they could report using the same address as the cardholder in which case it could create an alias on your credit file. One easy solution would be to ask her to ask them if it will be reported. Either way, I think it’s a good idea to check your credit reports periodically to see what’s showing up.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    Bobby I’m going to email you to get more details.

    • Alicia

      Can I please have some more information, I am a bit confused and on my path yto have inquiries removed from my credit , and am not sure of how mto handle the back and forth.

      • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

        Alicia —
        Inquiries that are made for purposes of extending credit stay on your credit report for two years, though they typically affect your scores for about six months. If you are asking about incorrect inquiries, however, here’s how to get errors removed: A Step-By-Step Guide to Disputing Credit Report Mistakes

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    They don’t necessarily need all that information to report but it’s possible that they won’t. I’d suggest you check your credit reports in about 45 to 60 days to see if these are on there. Most issuers do report authorize users so they don’t accidentally run afoul of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act.

  • David

    Awesome job Steve!!

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler


    It’s hard to say because I don’t know what’s pulling your scores down. Do you have your free credit score from Credit.com? What grades do you get for the five main factors affecting your score? You should also see an action plan there for your credit. What does that say?

    Here’s how to monitor your credit score for free.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler


    This is the problem with trying to manipulate your score with a quick fix like that. There are so many variables that go into a credit score that it’s really hard to nail down the exact course of action – especially when you’re dealing with a swing of just a couple points like that. Your lender likely has access to a tool that simulates the effect of various actions on your credit and that’s what he’s using to try to guide you. Because he has access to your full credit report and full credit score information I don’t want to hazard a gas as to what might get you to where you need to be.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    Angela, is the negative information on your credit reports accurate? If so, then the only thing these companies are going to do is try to dispute them and hope they aren’t verified so they get removed (which you can do yourself) or they will try to negotiate with collection agencies, for example, to get the information removed. But there’s absolutely no guarantee that they can be successful. This article may help:
    Can You Really Repair Your Own Credit for Free?

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    I am really sorry to hear you’ve had such a setback. Unfortunately, judgments do often last a long time – 10 or 20 years in many states is not uncommon. However, I do recommend you verify that for your state just to make sure they are trying to collect when they can’t.

    If the judgment is valid, then it is very likely that they are allowed to charge interest after a judgment is obtained. And unfortunately, those costs can really add up over the years. Again, it’s hard to determine whether the amount they are really charging is legitimate or not so you may have to do a little research to find out what’s permissible in your state.

    If the amount they are charging you is allowed, then you have two choices. One is to simply pay it off. Try to get a pay off amount from them in writing and then keep good records and make sure they notify the state when the judgment has been satisfied. (The procedure varies but in most states it needs to be done within a month or two.) Once the credit bureau picks up the fact that it is been satisfied that it should come off your credit reports because paid judgments are reported seven years from the date the judgment was entered by the court. .

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    You need to think about a couple of things here. First, if you add her to your account she will have access to it. Anything she charges is your full legal responsibility. Are you willing to take that chance given that she has bad credit? Secondly, it’s not just the last three years on your account that counts but it’s your entire account history. So make sure you get your credit reports and credit scores to find out exactly what is reporting for this account. Here’s how to monitor your credit score for free.

    It may be safer, and wiser, to help her establish or reestablish your credit with a secured card of her own.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    I am not sure what you mean Kim. But generally the individual accounts that were included in bankruptcy may still be reported. They don’t simply disappear after you file for bankruptcy. Any negative information related to those accounts can generally be reported for seven years, while positive and neutral information may be reported in definitely.

  • lachawkfan

    Pt 2 about the electronic tracking. There should be a number on your receipt and you log into the USPS sight and enter that number and it will give you the status of the letter from the time the Post Office received it, to the time that it was delivered. I think that there is a time limit as to how long you can access those records.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    We are so sorry for your loss. Were these bills incurred before or after you turned 18?

  • Stephanie

    How did you do that?

  • Danielle

    Yessss…….congrats to u.

    • stevegifford


  • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

    Congratulations. That’s quite an accomplishment.

  • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

    It depends on what the old judgment was for. Some types of judgments are not dischargeable in bankruptcy — including child support, student loans, some taxes and damages resulting from drunken driving are examples. If it was supposed to come off, you can dispute it with the credit reporting agencies. Here’s how:
    A Step-By-Step Guide to Disputing Credit Report Mistakes

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    According to the FCRA it says: “before the end of the 30-day period beginning on the date on which the agency receives the notice of the dispute from the consumer.”

    Since you have proof of delivery, you can count it from the date of receipt. (I am not sure why you didn’t get the receipt – you’ll have to ask the post office).

Credit.com receives compensation for the financial products and services advertised on this site if our users apply for and sign up for any of them.

Hello, Reader!

Thanks for checking out Credit.com. We hope you find the site and the journalism we produce useful. We wanted to take some time to tell you a bit about ourselves.

Our People

The Credit.com editorial team is staffed by a team of editors and reporters, each with many years of financial reporting experience. We’ve worked for places like the New York Times, American Banker, Frontline, TheStreet.com, Business Insider, ABC News, NBC News, CNBC and many others. We also employ a few freelancers and more than 50 contributors (these are typically subject matter experts from the worlds of finance, academia, politics, business and elsewhere).

Our Reporting

We take great pains to ensure that the articles, video and graphics you see on Credit.com are thoroughly reported and fact-checked. Each story is read by two separate editors, and we adhere to the highest editorial standards. We’re not perfect, however, and if you see something that you think is wrong, please email us at editorial team [at] credit [dot] com,

The Credit.com editorial team is committed to providing our readers and viewers with sound, well-reported and understandable information designed to inform and empower. We won’t tell you what to do. We will, however, do our best to explain the consequences of various actions, thereby arming you with the information you need to make decisions that are in your best interests. We also write about things relating to money and finance we think are interesting and want to share.

In addition to appearing on Credit.com, our articles are syndicated to dozens of other news sites. We have more than 100 partners, including MSN, ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo, Marketwatch, Scripps, Money Magazine and many others. This network operates similarly to the Associated Press or Reuters, except we focus almost exclusively on issues relating to personal finance. These are not advertorial or paid placements, rather we provide these articles to our partners in most cases for free. These relationships create more awareness of Credit.com in general and they result in more traffic to us as well.

Our Business Model

Credit.com’s journalism is largely supported by an e-commerce business model. Rather than rely on revenue from display ad impressions, Credit.com maintains a financial marketplace separate from its editorial pages. When someone navigates to those pages, and applies for a credit card, for example, Credit.com will get paid what is essentially a finder’s fee if that person ends up getting the card. That doesn’t mean, however, that our editorial decisions are informed by the products available in our marketplace. The editorial team chooses what to write about and how to write about it independently of the decisions and priorities of the business side of the company. In fact, we maintain a strict and important firewall between the editorial and business departments. Our mission as journalists is to serve the reader, not the advertiser. In that sense, we are no different from any other news organization that is supported by ad revenue.

Visitors to Credit.com are also able to register for a free Credit.com account, which gives them access to a tool called The Credit Report Card. This tool provides users with two free credit scores and a breakdown of the information in their Experian credit report, updated twice monthly. Again, this tool is entirely free, and we mention that frequently in our articles, because we think that it’s a good thing for users to have access to data like this. Separate from its educational value, there is also a business angle to the Credit Report Card. Registered users can be matched with products and services for which they are most likely to qualify. In other words, if you register and you find that your credit is less than stellar, Credit.com won’t recommend a high-end platinum credit card that requires an excellent credit score You’d likely get rejected, and that’s no good for you or Credit.com. You’d be no closer to getting a product you need, there’d be a wasted inquiry on your credit report, and Credit.com wouldn’t get paid. These are essentially what are commonly referred to as "targeted ads" in the world of the Internet. Despite all of this, however, even if you never apply for any product, the Credit Report Card will remain free, and none of this will impact how the editorial team reports on credit and credit scores.

Your Stories

Lastly, much of what we do is informed by our own experiences as well as the experiences of our readers. We want to tell your stories if you’re interested in sharing them. Please email us at story ideas [at] credit [dot] com with ideas or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by.

- The Credit.com Editorial Team