How to improve credit score quickly with these 10 tactics that work

Are you struggling with getting a loan? Do you need a quick solution for your credit scores, then let me tell you something- credit scores did improve in a day. If you want your credit score to be good enough, you need two things- 1) discipline and 2) educating yourself about available choices. Don’t worry if you are not aware of this; we will guide you to improve your CIBIL score.

Before we move forward, it is important to know which score is considered a good Credit score.

What is a good credit score?

CIBIL score is a credit score of a 3-digit numerical composition ranging from 300 and 900. If your score is closer to 900, then you have a better credit score. According to the stat, a 750 credit score is considered perfect for taking a loan on agreeable terms. But in case your credit score is less than an ideal score, you need to improve the credit score.

Now, you must be wondering why it is important to have a good CIBIL score. Let’s understand it.

What are the benefits of having a good CIBIL score?

In India, CIBIL is known as one of the trusted credit agencies, as its scores are the most accurate amongst all credit rating agencies. If you have a good or high CIBIL score, that means your company’s finances are into good and efficient management. Therefore, it becomes important to improve your CIBIL score and maintain it as per the CIBIL guidelines. A good score not only helps you to get loan approval quickly but also provides borrowers several perks. Let’s look at those advantages one by one.

  • Speedy loan approvals: Having a good credit score shows you as a reliable borrower in a lender’s eyes. Consequently, banks try to approve their loans as fast as possible.
  • Lower interest rates: People who have good CIBIL scores obtain loans at much lower interest rates as compared to those with lower CIBIL scores.
  • Negotiation authority: People who have high CIBIL scores have the authority to negotiate for a lower interest rate with banks/financial institutions
  • Easy credit: As I mentioned above, a high CIBIL score indicates that you have healthy financial management by a person or a company, and therefore banks rely on them.
  • The credit card offers: Banks usually present interesting offers and schemes to those people who have a good CIBIL score.
  • Higher loan limit: A great CIBIL score can benefit you to take a loan of a higher limit, that too on a low-interest rate.

How to improve CIBIL score

Since we have seen the importance of a good and high CIBIL score, you must be looking for measures that help you improve your credit score. There are a few measures below that will help you out.

1. Keep Checking your credit utilization ratio.

To improve the credit score, you should keep in mind that it is not necessary to use Credit cards for every transaction you perform. The reason behind avoiding your credit card is that your credit card utilization ratio should be below 30%, as maintaining low monthly balances shows a great CIBIL score.

2. Clear credit card balances.

Another way to improve the CIBIL score is to clear your credit card balance. Balance means outstanding EMI’s and loans that are impacting the CIBIL score. To improve your credit score, you need to contact the lender bank and pay the dues.

3. Removing errors from the CIBIL report.

As I have mentioned above, you should regularly check your CIBIL report to check on the information. However, if you find any incorrect detail, it becomes crucial to get it corrected quickly so that it did not hamper your CIBIL score.

4. Review your credit report regularly.

It will help if you check or review your CIBIL reports regularly. This report will help you recognize the factors or reasons that led your CIBIL score to be low. Usually, these factors incorporate due or delayed loans. Identifying the errors helps you to improve your credit score. And if you need precise information, then contacting a designated bank or a financial institution will help you to rectify the errors.

5. Raise the limit of your credit card.

If you want to maintain a good credit score, you need to ask your bank to raise the limit of credit cards to have more credit available to you. But keep in mind that this extra credit does not mean that you have to spend beyond your limit. Having a low credit utilization ratio and high credit availability showcases you as a responsible borrower and leads to a high CIBIL score.

6. Pay EMI on Time

If you want to make a purchase of something big like home appliances or home, and a car then you have to make sure that you repay bills and EMIs on time. Making timely EMIs payment is very important. It is one of the important aspects that credit scorers or CIBIL consider while assessing your credit ratings. There you have to maintain a good credit score if you want your loan to be approved.

Wrapping it up

You should always maintain a high CIBIL score as it works like a report card that reflects your prior performance and behavior as a borrower. The parameter builds trust between you and your bank by assuring you will repay their loaned money on time. In today’s time, getting loans becomes difficult because of trust issues; therefore, getting loans is like a boon and leads you to achieve happiness.

You need to maintain a good credit history, and in case you do not have a good history, you need to follow the above measures to improve CIBIL score, as we have seen that a bad credit score can hamper your credit requirements in the future. Therefore you have to maintain it from the beginning as it will take a lot of time to improve your CIBIL score.

How to improve credit score quickly with these 10 tactics that work

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You can’t build excellent credit overnight, but there are some strategies you can use to build your credit relatively quickly. The fastest way to build credit is to be intentional about how you approach every credit account, focusing on building a positive payment history and avoiding damaging credit mistakes.

If you’re starting to build your credit from scratch, expect to wait six months before you have a credit score. The credit scoring algorithm needs you to have at least one account active for three to six months before it can generate a credit score for you.  

Become an Authorized User

Being an authorized user means you can use another person’s credit card, but don’t have the responsibility of making payments. Once you’re an authorized user, the entire account history may be added to your credit report and factored into your credit score.

If you’re added to someone’s credit card, it should ideally be a friend or family member’s account with a low balance and no history of late payments. If you become an authorized user on an account with a negative credit history, it could actually be harmful to your own credit report.  

Some credit repair companies claim they can help you improve your credit score by selling you tradelines—accounts with well-established credit histories that you can add your name to for a quick credit boost. However, credit scoring companies are sophisticated enough to tell when you’re a legitimate authorized user on an account from a relative and when you’ve been added to an account for the sole purpose of boosting your credit score.

Get a Secured Credit Card

A secured credit card is easier to get approved for than an unsecured card. You can control the credit limit on a secured credit card by paying a higher security deposit. Being responsible with bigger credit limits will help boost your credit score, allowing you to qualify for unsecured credit cards with higher credit limits.

Make sure the secured card you choose reports your activity to all three major credit reporting bureaus.

Pay on Time

Once you have accounts of your own, paying on time is the best thing you can do to build a good credit score. Payment history is the biggest factor influencing your credit score.   The more on-time payments you have, the better.

You only need to make the minimum payment by the due date each month for your payment to be considered on time, so aim to pay at least the minimum. Just make sure to send it in so it arrives on time.

Keep Your Credit Card Balances Low

The second biggest factor that affects your credit score is the amount of debt you’re carrying. Keeping your credit card balance under 30% of the credit limit is ideal for building credit.

You can decrease your credit utilization, or the amount of credit you’re using, by making frequent payments on your account throughout the month. This way, you don’t build a balance as your payment due date nears. Instead, frequent payments (twice monthly or more often) reduce your total credit utilization by reducing the amount you owe at any point in time.  

Correct Errors on Your Report

Any negative information on your credit report can make it harder to build your credit. For example, old debt collections or other unpaid bills can hurt your score, so it’s best to take care of these before you start trying to improve your credit score.

In addition to negative information that’s accurate (in other words, you really did neglect to pay those bills), there may be inaccurate information that’s also harming your score.

To find out whether errors or inaccurate information is harming your credit score, order a copy of your report from each credit bureau. You can do this for free through AnnualCreditReport.com. Then, carefully check each report for errors.

You have the right to an accurate credit report, and this right allows you to dispute errors with the credit bureaus. If you spot errors, write to the credit bureaus asking them to remove the inaccurate items from your credit report.   If you have proof of the error, send a copy to help support your claim (but keep the original for your records).

Open a New Account

After you’ve established your credit history with one account, it can help to open another, if you’re ready. Having another account will increase your available credit if you work hard to keep your utilization low. Just as with your other accounts, it’s best to not charge more than you can afford, make timely payments, and always pay at least the minimum amount due.

But take care. While you’re working to build your credit as quickly, you want to avoid mistakes that could backfire. Opening too many credit cards in a short amount of time can hurt your credit score in the short term. Not only that, taking on more credit cards than you can handle puts you at risk of late payments, a move that will hurt your credit score.

The Bottom Line

Building your credit involves you demonstrating that you can handle credit responsibly. Having open, active accounts that you’re paying on time is the fastest way to build your credit.

There are certain times when it pays to have the highest credit score possible. Maybe you’re about to refinance your mortgage. Or maybe you’re recovering from a bad credit history and you want to get approved for a credit card.

It’s always good to have a healthy score, of course.

But if you’re in a place where you really need to up that score as soon as possible, there are a few under-the-radar ways to speed up the process.

How to Raise Your Credit Score Fast

  • Find Out When Your Issuer Reports Payment History
  • Pay Down Debt Strategically
  • Pay Twice a Month
  • Raise Your Credit Limits
  • Mix It Up

How long will it take to increase your credit score? It won’t happen instantly, but if you follow the steps in this article your credit score will begin to go up within a couple of months. Let’s get started.

1. Find Out When Your Issuer Reports Payment History

Call your credit card issuer and ask when your balance gets reported to the credit bureaus. That day is often the closing date (or the last day of the billing cycle) on your account. Note that this is different from the “due date” on your statement.

There’s something called a “credit utilization ratio.” It’s the amount of credit you’ve used compared to the amount of credit you have available. You have a ratio for your overall credit card use as well as for each credit card.

It’s best to have a ratio — overall and on individual cards — of less than 30%. But here’s an insider tip: To boost your score more quickly, keep your credit utilization ratio under 10%.

Here’s an example of how the utilization ratio is calculated:

Let’s say you have two credit cards. Card A has a $6,000 credit limit and a $2,500 balance. Card B has a $10,000 limit and you have a $1,000 balance on it.

This is your utilization ratio per card:

Card A = 42% (2,500/6,000 = .416, or 42%), which is too high.

Card B = 10% (1,000/10,000 = .100, or 10%), which is awesome.

This is your overall credit utilization ratio: 22% (3,500/16,000 = 0.218), which is very good.

But here’s the problem: Even if you pay your balance off every month (and you should), if your payment is received after the reporting date, your reported balance could be high — and that negatively impacts your score because your ratio appears inflated.

So pay your bill just before the closing date. That way, your reported balance will be low or even zero. The FICO method will then use the lower balance to calculate your score. This lowers your utilization ratio and boosts your score.

2. Pay Down Debt Strategically

Okay, let’s build on what you just learned about utilization ratios.

In the above example, you have balances on more than one card. Note that Card A has a 42% ratio, which is high, and Card B has a wonderfully low 10% ratio.

Since the FICO score also looks at each card’s ratio, you can bump up your score by paying down the card with the higher balance. In the example above, pay down the balance on Card A to about $1,500 and your new ratio for Card A is 25% (1,500/6,000 = .25). Much better!

3. Pay Twice a Month

Let’s say you’ve had a rough couple of months with your finances. Maybe you needed to rebuild your deck (raising my hand) or get a new fridge. If you put big items on a credit card to get the rewards, it can temporarily throw your utilization ratio (and your credit score) out of whack.

You know that call you made to get the closing date? Make a payment two weeks before the closing date and then make another payment just before the closing date. This, of course, assumes you have the money to pay off your big expense by the end of the month.

Take care not to use a credit card for a big bill if you plan to carry a balance. The compound interest will create an ugly pile of debt pretty quickly. Credit cards should never be used for long-term loans unless you have a card with a zero percent introductory APR on purchases. Even then, you have to be mindful of the balance on the card and make sure you can pay the bill off before the intro period ends.

4. Raise Your Credit Limits

If you tend to have problems with overspending, don’t try this.

The goal is to raise your credit limit on one or more cards so that your utilization ratio goes down. But again, this only works out in your favor if you don’t feel compelled to use the newly available credit.

I also don’t recommend trying this if you have missed payments with the issuer or have a downward-trending score. The issuer could see your request for a credit limit increase as a sign that you’re about to have a financial crisis and need the extra credit. I’ve actually seen this result in a decrease in credit limits. So be sure your situation looks stable before you ask for an increase.

That said, as long as you’ve been a great customer and your score is reasonably healthy, this is a good strategy to try.

All you have to do is call your credit card company and ask for an increase to your credit limit. Have an amount in mind before you call. Make that amount a little higher than what you want in case they feel the need to negotiate.

Remember the example in #1? Card A has a $6,000 limit and you have a $2,500 balance on it. That’s a 42% utilization ratio (2,500/6,000 = .416, or 42%).

If your limit goes up to $8,500, then your new ratio is a more pleasing 29% (2,500/8,500 = .294, or 29%). The higher the limit, the lower your ratio will be and this helps your score.

5. Mix It Up

A few years back, I realized I didn’t have much of a mix of credit. I have credit cards with low utilization ratios and a mortgage, but I hadn’t paid off an installment loan for a couple of decades.

I wanted to raise my score a nudge, so I decided to get a car loan at a very low rate. I spent a year paying it off just to get a mix in my credit. At first, my score went down a little, but after about six months, my score started increasing. Your credit mix is only 10% of your FICO score, but sometimes that little bit can bump you up from good credit to excellent credit.

I wasn’t planning on applying for credit within the next six months, so my approach was fine. But if you’re refinancing your mortgage (or planning something else really big) and you want a quick boost, don’t use this strategy. This is a good one for a long-term approach.

Bottom Line

When you want to boost your credit score, there are two basic rules you have to follow:

First, keep your credit card balances low.

Second, pay your bills on time (and in full). Do these two things and then toss in one or more of the sneaky ways above to give your score a kickstart.

And remember — you do not have to carry a balance to build a good score. If you do that, you’re on a slippery slope to debt.

Services like Experian Boost and Credit Karma provide easy ways to boost your credit score at no cost to you.

Improving your credit score is critical to your financial stability and wellbeing. By understanding how to leverage you credit score, you can gain access to higher lines of credit, qualify for a mortgage, snag a credit card with great benefits and low interest, receive higher loan amounts with lower interest, have more negotiating power when making a purchase and access lower car insurance rates.

Right now, your credit score might not be too high. However, if you’re hoping to sign up for a new loan or credit card soon, then you’ll need to boost your credit score fast. Thankfully, there are a number of ways you can potentially increase a credit score in a short period of time – for free.

  • Credit Score Ranges
  • Experian Boost
  • Experian CreditWorks℠ Trial
  • Credit Karma Free Monitoring
  • Disputing Credit Errors
  • Increasing Credit Limits
  • Credit Utilization

What Is a Good Credit Score?

Before looking into how to improve a credit score, you need to know what credit score you’d like to have. According to Experian™, credit scores range from 300 to 850. Here is how they classify different scores:

300-579 Very Poor
580-669 Fair
670-739 Good
740-799 Very Good
800-850 Exceptional

Credit scores are not static; you can boost a credit score instantly. All it takes is a quick and free credit score boost. Here are some tips on how to do just that.

Use Experian Boost

One service that’s free and can potentially increase your credit score fast is Experian Boost . Average users who signed up for Experian Boost improved their FICO® Score 8 based on Experian Data by 13 points, according to Experian.

All you have to do is sign up for Experian Boost and connect your bank account to your Experian account. Then, Experian will scan your bank account transactions to see if you paid any utility or cell phone bills recently, including your monthly Netflix subscription. Any payment will be used to calculate your score.

Missed payments do not factor into your score like they would with a credit card. After Experian scans your account, you can review your data and then potentially increase your score. If you have a poor credit score and/or limited credit history, Experian Boost could help you boost your credit score quickly.

Get a Free Credit Report

You need to find out your current score and credit history to determine where you stand and where you want to go. By unlocking a detailed report, you can see what’s holding you back and specific areas where you need to make improvements.

For example, when you sign up for Experian Boost, you get that free access to your credit report as well as complimentary monitoring and useful tips on keeping your score high.

Experian also offers CreditWorks℠, which you can sign up for through their trial promotion. You can gain access to your credit report and see credit utilization, account balance changes and new credit inquiries. This service provides Social Security number, payday loan, social network, and file-sharing network monitoring, identity theft insurance and FICO® score alerts as well. Credit score calculated based on FICO® Score 8 model. Your lender or insurer may use a different FICO Score than FICO Score 8, or another type of credit score altogether. Learn more.

Slick Tip: Use our affiliate link to get a $1 Experian credit report and FICO® score along with a free 7-day Experian CreditWorks℠ trial .

Note: Experian’s credit monitoring benefit may only be available for 5 days during your trial period since enrollment can take up to 48 hours. You may cancel your trial membership any time during your first 7 days without charge. When you order your $1 Credit Report and FICO® Score here, you will begin your 7-day trial membership in Experian CreditWorks℠. If you don’t cancel your membership within the 7-day trial period*, you will be billed $21.95 for each month that you continue your membership. You may cancel your trial membership anytime within the trial period without charge.

Another helpful service is Credit Karma, where you can see your score for free, get free monitoring and see personalized recommendations for using your credit in a more effective way.

Dispute Errors On Your Credit Report

On both Experian and Credit Karma, you can review your credit report and then dispute any wrong information. For example, if you see that there’s a charge you never made, then you can file a dispute to have it removed. If your claim is legitimate, you could see a credit score boost in no time.

Inquire About a Higher Credit Limit

You should always aim to have low credit utilization. This means you’re using less than 30% of your available credit. If you can’t pay down debt right now, then you can always contact your credit card or loan issuers and ask for a higher limit. This will improve a credit score quickly without you having to spend money or put in more than a few minutes of your time.

Keep All Your Cards Open

Even if you’ve paid off a card in full, don’t be so quick to close it. If you close open accounts, then your credit utilization will increase, which, in turn, could decrease your score. If you want to close it because of high annual fees, determine whether or not it’s worth it. And in the future, only apply for credit cards with no or low annual fees if you don’t use credit cards that often or care about the benefits.

Increase a Credit Score Quickly

With all these tips, you can learn how to raise your credit score and then reap the multitude of benefits that come with a good or even excellent score. You’ll be able to build your credit, access more attractive credit cards and loans as well as feel more secure about your financial future.

Find ways to free up cash in your budget and bump up your income, then explore strategies for paying down balances.

What’s inside

Figure out your budget

Reduce your spending

Stop using your credit cards

Get a side hustle to increase your income

Find a payoff method you’ll stick with

Look into debt consolidation

Know when to call it quits

Figure out your budget

Reduce your spending

Stop using your credit cards

Get a side hustle to increase your income

Find a payoff method you’ll stick with

Look into debt consolidation

Know when to call it quits

Want to pay off your debt fast? Here are seven tips that can help:

Figure out your budget

Getting a handle on your income and expenses can you help you figure out if you have any extra money to pay down your debt. Paying more than the minimum each month can speed up your payoff timeline.

While you’re focusing on debt payoff , work to build an emergency fund. Even a small one can prevent you from getting deeper into debt if an unexpected expense comes up.

Use this calculator to figure out your budget.

Reduce your spending

Every dollar counts, really. Cutting down expenses, such as streaming services, ordering delivery for dinner or ditching an expensive phone, can add up fast.

Consider what you would give up in order to be debt-free.

Free tools for tackling debt

NerdWallet helps you stay on top of upcoming payments and understand your debt breakdown.

Stop using your credit cards

Halting your debt from growing any larger can make it easier to manage. One way is to stop using your credit cards.

Not adding onto the balance while you’re paying down debt can also help improve your credit utilization — or the ratio of your debt balance to your available credit — which is a major factor in calculating your credit score. The lower your credit utilization, the better it reflects on your credit score.

Get a side hustle to increase your income

Scraping together extra income can increase how much you can put toward your debt, accelerating your payoff.

Look into legitimate side hustles . Some jobs can be completed in less than an hour, like user testing for websites and apps. Others, like freelancing, will take longer, but may earn you more cash.

Find a payoff method you’ll stick with

Paying off debt is a financial and psychological commitment. Just as you have to have the cash to pay down what you owe, you also have to find a payoff method that works for you.

If some quick small wins early in the process will help you stay motivated, the debt snowball method may be right for you. With this tactic, you put all the extra money you can toward paying your smallest debt first (while covering at least the minimums on your other debts). When it’s paid off, you roll the money that had been going to the first debt into paying the next-biggest, and so on, until all your debts are paid off.

But if you’re more into delayed gratification and maybe saving a little money, the debt avalanche method may be for you. With this strategy, you focus on paying off the debt with the highest interest rate first. Always focusing on wiping out the debt with the highest interest costs can save you money overall and may also speed your debt-free date.

Look into debt consolidation

Rolling multiple debts into one payment — ideally with a lower interest rate — through debt consolidation can make your debt easier to manage and less expensive overall. The less you have to pay in interest, the more money you can put toward reducing the underlying debt.

A 0% interest balance transfer credit card or a debt consolidation loan are two solid options for debt consolidation. Note that you’ll likely need a good credit score to qualify. Also, each lender sets its own requirements, and credit score may be just one piece of the puzzle.

Know when to call it quits

Sometimes debt can be too much . If you’re having a hard time keeping up with your debt payments and your total debt is greater than 50% of your gross annual income, it might be time to get outside help.

Debt relief options , like debt management plans from a nonprofit credit counseling agency and bankruptcy , may give you the relief you need to move past your debts. Otherwise, paying off what you owe could take years and get in the way of other financial goals, like saving for retirement or a down payment on a house.

Here are the factors that go into a credit score — and how you can improve them.

Borrowing money, whether in the form of a mortgage, car loan, or credit card charge, is practically a way of life for most of us. And your credit score plays a key role in helping you sustain your borrowing habits.

Your credit score isn’t just an arbitrary number. Also known as your FICO score, your credit score is the result of a specific formula that will ultimately dictate your likelihood of getting approved for a loan or line of credit, and at the most favorable rate. Understanding how your credit score is determined can help you take steps to boost that number and avoid mistakes that can bring it down.

How to improve credit score quickly with these 10 tactics that work

IMAGE SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES.

What goes into a credit score?

There are five key components that come together to establish your credit score:

  • Payment history (35%): Your payment history is a measure of how responsible you are with making payments. Paying your bills on time will help your credit score, while being late or skipping payments will hurt it. A lot.
  • Credit utilization ratio (30%): Your credit utilization ratio is the percentage of available credit you’re using. You should always aim to keep this number at 30% or lower.
  • Length of credit history (15%): Your credit history speaks to the amount of time you’ve held your accounts. While younger borrowers have a natural disadvantage in this particular category, those with long-term accounts in good standing can benefit.
  • New credit accounts (10%): Opening too many new accounts at once sends a message that you need credit to keep up with your expenses. It’s not a good message to send, so you’re better off opening new accounts slowly over time.
  • Credit mix (10%): Your credit mix represents the variety of accounts you have open. There’s a difference between having five credit cards versus two credit cards, a mortgage, an auto loan, and some leftover student debt.

How to improve credit score quickly with these 10 tactics that work

CHART BY AUTHOR.

Note the percentages assigned to each of those factors. Certain components, such as payment history and credit utilization, carry far more weight than your new accounts and credit mix. Focusing on the right aspects of your credit score can help you boost it more quickly.

What’s in a number?

Though we all tend to use the term “credit score” as a singular phrase, you actually have three different credit scores. The reason? There are three major bureaus — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — that put out scores for consumers, and while the formulas and information these bureaus use should, in theory, be similar, discrepancies can sometimes arise. Also, it could be that one bureau’s information is more up-to-date than another’s, which could work for you or against you depending on how things shake out. Either way, don’t be surprised if you go searching for your credit score and wind up with three different numbers.

Your credit score can fall anywhere in the 300 to 850 range, with 350 being downright abysmal and 850 being perfect. Currently, the average American’s credit score is an even 700, which is a good score, but not a great one. On the other hand, a score of 800 or above is typically considered excellent, and if you fall into that range, you’re likely to snag the most optimal borrowing opportunities available. You should also know that a score below 580 is considered poor, so if you’ve yet to cross that threshold, you might face some serious rejection the next time you apply for a loan.

Boosting your credit score

Now that you know what goes into your credit score, you can take steps to tackle your shortcomings. Let’s start with payment history. Simply put, if you want to beef up your payment history, you’ll need to make a habit of paying your bills on time, every time — no exceptions. If that’s not a feat you can pull off directly — say you’re really strapped for cash and have many bills coming due — your next best bet is to get added as an authorized user on someone else’s account. This way, when that person pays the bills on time, you’ll get to piggyback on his or her good habits.

If your goal is to boost your credit score as quickly as possible, tackling your credit utilization can help. The easiest way to bring down this ratio is to pay off a chunk of your existing debt, but if you don’t have the cash, you might try calling your lenders and requesting an increase in your credit limit. If you have a decent history of paying on time (even if just your minimums), there’s a good chance your lender will comply.

If neither of the aforementioned tactics work, you can try applying for a new credit card with a higher limit. While that step will result in a hard inquiry on your record, thus taking your new accounts rating down a notch, if it causes a steep drop in your utilization, you’re likely to come out ahead. Becoming an authorized user on another card also helps with utilization, as that card’s credit limit will get added to yours, thereby bringing your ratio down.

While you may be hoping to boost your score quickly, especially if you’re looking to apply for a mortgage or larger loan, remember that building credit usually isn’t an overnight process. Rather, it takes time, and it takes effort. The good news, however, is that the more you learn about credit scores and how they work, the better equipped you’ll be to improve your number and get your hands on the best borrowing deals out there.

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How to improve credit score quickly with these 10 tactics that work

Most people don’t put much thought into their credit scores until the time comes to apply for a loan. If you expect to need financing in the next few months and aren’t convinced your credit score is high enough to get you approved, you’ll need to act quickly to improve your chances. Thankfully, there are several things you can do to boost your credit score in record time.

Understanding how credit scores are determined can help you improve yours. Here are the five factors credit bureaus use to assign credit scores to consumers:

Payment history (35%): Your payment history speaks to how responsible a borrower you are. It looks at your tendency to pay bills on time, as well as red flags such as having a bankruptcy filing on record.

Credit utilization ratio (30%): Your credit utilization ratio represents the percentage of available credit you’re using. A credit utilization ratio of 30% or less can help your credit score.

Length of credit history (15%): The length of your credit history can work in your favor, especially if you’ve paid your bills consistently over time. This is the one category where older consumers have an advantage over their younger counterparts, as someone with 10 years of timely payments might be a more ideal loan candidate than someone with only one year of accounts under his or her belt.

New credit accounts (10%): When you open too many new accounts simultaneously, it sends the message that you’re highly reliant on borrowing to keep up with your expenses. It’s generally better to open new accounts slowly over time, as opposed to opening a bunch all at once.

Credit mix (10%): Not all debts are created equal. Credit bureaus make a distinction between credit card accounts versus student loans, car loans, and mortgages.

As you can see, certain factors play a larger role than others in determining your score. That’s why it pays to focus on the first two categories — payment history and utilization — when taking steps to boost your credit.

With that in mind, here are four tips to help you improve your score quickly:

1. Pay off a chunk of your existing balance

Carrying a credit card balance won’t just cost you more money in interest payments; it’ll also drive up your credit utilization ratio. Say you have $5,000 in available credit along with a nagging $2,000 balance you’ve yet to pay off. Even if you don’t charge another dime on a credit card for the foreseeable future, as long as that $2,000 remains outstanding, your credit utilization ratio will be above that ideal 30% threshold. Paying off your existing debt, or at least a portion of it, is therefore one of the fastest ways to bring your score up.

If you don’t have the cash available to chip away at your balance (which tends to be the case for those who owe money on their credit cards), you might consider taking on a temporary side job or picking up some extra shifts through your current employer.

If that’s not an option, then take inventory at home and see if there’s anything you can sell for a quick profit. The sooner you bring down your credit utilization ratio, the quicker your score will climb.

2. Ask for an increase in your credit limit

Another way to improve your credit utilization ratio is to request a higher credit limit. If you’re a long-standing customer with a decent credit history, there’s a good chance your credit card issuer will comply. In fact, in a recent CreditCards.com survey, 89% of consumers got their credit limits increased simply by asking.

If appealing to your current credit card company doesn’t work, your next best bet is to try opening a new credit card. Though hard inquiries on your credit history, which occur when you apply for a new account, can temporarily ding your score, if your new card comes with a generous credit limit, it can more than compensate — especially since your credit utilization ratio carries more weight than most other categories when determining credit scores.

3. Correct credit report errors

A simple credit report error could wreak havoc on an otherwise respectable score. It’s estimated that 20% of credit reports contain errors, and if you spot one on yours, fixing it could give your score an immediate boost. According to the Federal Trade Commission, 20% of consumers who dispute credit report errors see their scores rise as a result, so it pays to review your credit report and make sure it’s completely accurate.

4. Become an authorized user on somebody else’s card

If opening a new credit card isn’t an option for you, you might try seeing if someone else will add you as an authorized user to an existing account. This can help in a number of ways. First, as long as the initial cardholder pays his or her bills responsibly, those on-time payments will beef up your record.

Additionally, the credit limit the card in question comes with will get added to your existing limit, which can help bring down your credit utilization ratio. Furthermore, you don’t actually need to use the card you’re issued to have it help your credit; you just have to choose the right person to partner up with.

Though building credit typically takes time, these moves can help give your score a more rapid boost.

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That said, your credit score isn’t something you can set and forget, so once your number improves, be sure to maintain the good habits that helped it climb in the first place. Otherwise, you could end up right back where you started.

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How to improve credit score quickly with these 10 tactics that work

Building good credit takes time. But sometimes, you need to improve your credit quickly.

Your credit history might affect your ability to get a new apartment or a job. And good credit is key when you need access to funds for a new car or house. Sometimes we can’t plan those changes.

If you’re already paying your lenders on time, there are a few extra steps you can take to boost your credit rating in a pinch.

1. Correct your credit report

First, take a look at your credit report. It should include all of your credit accounts, inquiries made on your credit and information on any overdue debts. But errors are fairly common. If you spot any mistakes, let the relevant credit bureau know by filing a dispute.

The credit reporting companies have to investigate the disputed items (unless they find them to be frivolous) in a timely manner — usually within 30 days of the complaint. Once the investigation is closed, the agency has to give you a copy of the results in writing, as well as a free copy of your report if anything in it has changed.

You can ask the bureau to send out corrected versions to anyone who has received a copy of your report in the six months leading up to the dispute.

Remember that your lender might agree not to report a late payment to credit agencies. If you have an extenuating circumstance or a history of on-time payments, it’s worth asking if you can have a break.

If your lender has agreed to let you off the hook for a late payment, making sure credit bureaus are up to speed can help protect your score.

2. Pay off debt

Your credit utilization — or how much you owe on credit cards compared to your total credit limit — makes up 30% of your credit score. Ideally, you should be utilizing no more than 30% of your limit.

“Thirty is the magic number,” said Carl Holubowich, a certified financial planner with Armstrong, Fleming & Moore. “You don’t want to be over that. If it’s 29, it’s fine.”

The trick is to decrease your utilization before a credit card statement is generated, said certified financial planner Jonathan Colby Winslow of WaterOak Advisors. “Once the statement is produced and a balance shows up on your credit report, that is considered part of your credit utilization and may reduce your score,” he said. If credit agencies don’t see any outstanding balance when they run a credit check, he added, “your credit utilization rate looks significantly better.”

To help keep your utilization rate low, consider making several payments throughout the month, or pay off a chunk of debt just before the next statement closes.

3. Increase your line of credit

If you don’t have enough cash to pay off some of your debt, you can also lower your credit utilization ratio by increasing your total available credit.

You might be tempted to do that by opening a new line of credit. But you probably shouldn’t.

While a new credit card might lower your credit utilization ratio, it can also hurt your score by triggering a new credit inquiry. That’s because the creditor will want to check your credit first — a process which temporarily dings your score. That’s the last thing you want when trying to quickly improve your credit.

Plus, opening new credit cards lowers the average age of all of your accounts — another thing that factors into your credit score. In general, older accounts positively impact your credit score.

A better way to increase your available credit is to call up your current credit card issuers and ask them to increase the limit on your cards. While some might require a credit check, others may be willing to approve you for a smaller line of credit increase without running your credit.

4. Don’t close any old cards

A lot of people think that simply closing an old credit card with a negative payment history will erase the bad information. It won’t.

Because old credit cards can be credit boosters, shutting existing cards is a bad move in this situation. “If you have an old credit card that you don’t use any more, still keep it open,” Holubowich said. Malik Lee, a CFP and associate at Henssler Financial, added that closing a credit account when trying to quickly increase scores is “probably the biggest mistake” he’s seen people make.

Length of credit history makes up 15% of your FICO score, and credit mix makes up 10% — so you might want to keep any retail cards open, as well.

5. Become an authorized user

Finally, you can ask a relative or spouse with a good credit history to add you as an authorized user on their credit cards. Even if you don’t have access to the card itself, you’ll gain the credit benefits of increased utilization. Plus, your length of credit history will go up.

If the cardholder misses payments, however, your credit is on the line, too.

Last Updated: December 4, 2020 References Approved

This article was co-authored by Derick Vogel. Derick Vogel is a Credit Expert and CEO of Credit Absolute, a credit counseling and educational company based in Scottsdale, Arizona. Derick has over 10 years of financial experience and specializes in consulting mortgages, loans, specializes in business credit, debt collections, financial budgeting, and student loan debt relief. He is a member of the National Association of Credit Services Organizations (NASCO) and is an Arizona Association of Mortgage Professional. He holds credit certificates from Dispute Suite in credit repair best practices and in Credit Repair Organizations Act (CROA) competency.

There are 29 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.

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Credit reports are used by banks, credit card issuers, car dealerships, landlords, and even employers to determine your reliability for credit. With so much riding on it, you naturally want your score to be as high as possible. Unfortunately, mistakes can happen and your score might not be as high as you’d like it to be. Don’t panic! There are some simple steps you can take to raise your credit rating, as well as many things you can do to keep your credit score high in the future.

Note: This article applies to the United States. While some of the information here is relevant for other jurisdictions, check with your relevant local sources to verify first.

How to improve credit score quickly with these 10 tactics that work

Derick Vogel
Credit Advisor & Owner, Credit Absolute Expert Interview. 26 March 2020.

  • Amounts owed (30%) — What’s your overall debt load? If you’ve taken on too much debt, your score could suffer.
  • Length of credit history (15%) — How long is your record when it comes to managing credit? If you’re brand new to the scene, then lenders will view you as a risky borrower compared to someone who’s been paying off debt for decades.
  • New credit (10%) — Taking out a bunch of new loans and/or opened credit card accounts will reduce your score.
  • Types of credit (10%) — A healthy mix of debt (a mortgage, a credit card, and a car loan) is viewed a little more favorably than debt consisting entirely of credit cards. However, don’t open a new credit account just to have “balance.” Instead, focus on the other components of your score.
  • How to improve credit score quickly with these 10 tactics that work

    How to improve credit score quickly with these 10 tactics that work

    Derick Vogel
    Credit Advisor & Owner, Credit Absolute Expert Interview. 26 March 2020. Some free services are scams and will stand there between you and the credit companies in order to harvest your data and then sell the data to marketing firms.