Damaging your credit is much easier than building it back up. Companies rely on your credit score to determine your creditworthiness before approving loans and other lines of credit, and low credit scores often mean your application may be rejected or you’ll receive high interest rates on those cards and loans. Additionally, your credit score can affect car insurance rates and other seemingly non-credit-related areas of your life. By changing a few habits, taking care of unpaid debts, and monitoring your credit report, you can see how to quickly improve your credit score.
Before you change what you’re doing, it’ll help to see where your credit currently stands. You can see two of your credit scores for free on Credit.com — you’ll also get personalized tips on how you can improve your scores.
Manage Credit Card Balances
Credit utilization — how much you use of your available credit lines — plays an important role in your credit score. It accounts for 30% of your credit score, and keeping your credit card balances as low as possible can help improve your credit score. Because you can drastically change your credit utilization with a single payment, it’s one of the best ways you can quickly improve your credit score. In fact, if high credit card balances are dragging down your credit score and you can pay them down quickly, you can improve your credit score in 30 days.
Another word for credit card utilization is “balance-to-limit ratio” which depicts your utilization as a percentage. Generally, you should keep utilization below 30%, but those with the best credit scores keep this number below 10%, according to credit bureau Experian. If you’re working to improve your credit score quickly, start by paying down balances as much as possible each month, rather than just making minimum payments.
Dispute Errors on Your Credit Report
Information the credit bureaus gather comes from a variety of sources. Errors commonly occur and can have a major impact on your credit score and overall creditworthiness. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), you have the right to a free annual credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus — Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. Each agency has slightly different information, so it’s important to check all three each year. If you notice any errors, filing disputes as soon as possible helps get them removed from your report. You can read more here about how to dispute an error on your credit report.
Open a New Credit Card
Opening a new account sounds counterintuitive, and it is if it’s not done strategically. Opening a credit card and using very little of your available credit improves your credit utilization, which improves your credit score. And if your credit file only consists of installment loans (like an auto loan or student loan), adding a credit card can help your mix of accounts, which makes up 10% of your credit score. It’s important not to obtain more credit than you can afford or spend it just because you have it. Additionally, applying for too many credit cards within a short period of time causes hard inquiries into your credit history that can bring your credit score down.
Alternatively, being added as an authorized user to someone else’s credit card can quickly bring up a credit score, especially if the authorized user has no credit history of his or her own. This is an effective option if you’re looking at how to improve your credit scores in 30 days. Of course, asking someone to add you to their credit card is a big favor, so it’s important for everyone involved to carefully consider the consequences. Here’s everything you need to know about adding authorized users to a credit card.
Improve Payment History
One of the most important factors that lenders take into account before lending money is whether or not you’ve paid your accounts on time. That’s why payment history makes up 35% of your credit score, according to credit scoring company FICO. Of course, you can’t change a bad payment history or establish a good payment history quickly, but the sooner you prioritize making payments on time, the better.
Setting up automatic payments is a helpful way to keep up with the due dates on all of your bills. Consistently paying on time from now on can improve your credit score; part of the information that factors into your credit score includes how recently you missed those payments.
If you’re looking for how to increase your credit score immediately, it helps to keep in mind that there are no quick fixes. Improving and repairing credit takes time. Making some changes to your habits and paying off old debts can help bring up your score in a shorter period.