Can You Boost Your Credit Score Overnight?

Good credit requires responsible financial management over a period of time. However, there are some tactics you can try that help build your credit as fast as possible, if not exactly overnight. Find out more about these tips below. 

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Add Rent and Utility Payments

Your credit report and score are meant to help demonstrate whether you can manage money responsibly. But not every bill you manage gets reported to the credit bureaus.

Most landlords don’t send payment information to the credit bureaus, for example. And utility providers usually only report when you’ve defaulted on a bill. If you’re looking for how to increase your credit score quickly, getting these timely payments added to your report can be a good idea.

ExtraCredit lets you link rent and utility payments as trade lines to be reported to the credit bureaus. You can access this perk via the service’s Build It function to establish your credit by increasing your history of timely payments.

Pay Down Debt

Paying down debt is potentially one of the best things you can do for your credit. That’s because when you pay down revolving credit, you reduce your credit utilization, which has a big impact on your credit score. 

It’s also helpful to pay down debt if you’ve fallen behind or have collection accounts on your credit report. Catching up past-due accounts and keeping up with them reflects positively on your score and can help you boost your credit. 

Keep Utilization Low

Revolving credit includes credit cards, lines of credit and home equity lines of credit. Your credit utilization is a ratio of your total revolving credit balance compared to your total revolving credit limit.

For example, imagine you have two revolving credit accounts:

  • A credit card with a credit limit of $5,000 and a balance of $2,000
  • A line of credit with a limit of $5,000 and a balance of $1,000

You would have a total credit limit of $10,000 and a total balance of $3,000. That’s a credit utilization of 30%.

Credit utilization accounts for around 30% of your credit score. Keeping your credit utilization as low as possible—ideally below 30%—helps positively impact your scores.

Pay Bills on Time

Always pay all your bills on time. This is less a tip for boosting your credit overnight and more a tip on how not to wreck your credit overnight. One or two slips that lead to you paying bills 30 days or more past due can drastically and negatively impact your credit score.

Get a Secured Credit Card

A secured credit card is a card designed to help those with fair, poor, or bad credit build credit for the future. Getting one can help you boost your score.

Getting a credit card—and using it responsibly—can be a great way to boost your credit without actually going into debt. It might seem like a contradiction, but remember that a credit card doesn’t automatically mean debt. If you pay your balance off each month, you’re never in debt.

But you do still get some of the potential credit-boosting benefits of holding a credit card. The first is that your credit mix may be improved. Creditors like to see that you can manage multiple types of credit, and your credit score benefits when you have both installment and revolving credit. 

Having a credit card also lets you address your credit utilization. If you have a credit card and you pay off the balance every month, you’ll have a lower credit utilization with a responsible payment history, which is good for your credit. 

Get a Credit Builder Loan

If you already have a credit card, your credit mix might be suffering from the lack of an installment loan. Any type of installment loan—from a car loan to a personal loan—might benefit your credit score if you make your payments regularly and on time. 

But for those who don’t have the credit history or score for a traditional installment loan, a savings-secured or credit-builder loan might be a good option. These loans often require deposits or savings accounts that you get back when you’re done paying for the loan, so they’re not loans designed specifically to provide for a financial need. They’re for the purpose of getting an installment loan and positive payment history on your report. 

Become an Authorized User

If you don’t feel ready for your own credit card or can’t qualify for one, see if a family member will add you as an authorized user to their credit card account. Many banks and issuers report account activity to both the cardholder’s and authorized user’s credit report.

You do need to make sure you consider this option carefully. First, make sure the person you ask is responsible with their bills. If they pay their credit card bill late, you could end up with negative marks on your report.

Second, make sure the credit card company reports on authorized users. If the information doesn’t get added to your credit report, it can’t have an impact on your credit score.

Dispute Errors on Your Credit Report

Inaccurate items, such as a late payment reported when you never missed a payment, could unfairly bring your score down. Reviewing your reports and challenging errors may help improve your score. You can get a free credit report from each of the three bureaus every year at AnnualCreditReport.com. These are also available weekly for a limited time due to COVID-19.

In addition to rent and utility reporting, ExtraCredit shows you 28 of your FICO® scores and your credit reports from all three credit bureaus. You can check what’s showing up on your reports and what’s affecting your credit scores so you can follow up as necessary.

If you do find an error on your credit report during your investigation, be sure to challenge the accuracy of the error. Under law, you have a right to a credit report that’s fair and free of errors, so if information can’t be proved by the reporter, the credit bureaus may have to remove it. 

Set Up Credit Monitoring Account

Invest in credit monitoring to take a proactive approach to protecting your score. By understanding exactly what’s going on with your report, you can address errors quickly and learn how your own actions impact your score. That helps you make potentially score-boosting decisions in the future.

Credit.com’s free Credit Report Card provides a snapshot of your credit report, with information about how you’re doing in the five critical areas for your score. Knowing how you’re doing can help you pinpoint areas that might need some help.

Don’t Close Accounts

This is another tip to keep from dragging down your credit score almost overnight. Keep credit cards and other revolving accounts open if you can, even if you aren’t using them. They can help reduce your credit utilization and increase your credit age, both of which are good for your score.

How Is Credit Score Calculated?

Understanding how your credit score is calculated helps you make good decisions that can boost your score. Credit scores are based on five factors:

  • Payment historywhich is whether you pay your bills on time regularly
  • Credit utilizationwhich is how much of your open credit you’ve used
  • Credit age, which is the average age of your open accounts as well as how long you’ve had credit
  • Credit mix, which indicates you have a healthy mix of revolving and installment accounts
  • New credit, i.e., hard inquiries, which refers to whether a lot of lenders are checking your credit to evaluate you for loans

How Often Does Your Credit Score Update?

Credit scores typically update at least monthly, but big changes to your financial situation can boost your score or drive it down more quickly. It really depends on how often your various creditors report this information to the credit bureaus. 

Work on Your Credit Now

It’s never a bad time to start working on your credit. Start by signing up for ExtraCredit so you’re in the know about your credit scores and reports and can make educated decisions to build your credit. 

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