Your credit score is one of the most important numbers in your life. A high credit score means you're a responsible borrower and can get the best interest rates on loans.
A low credit score can mean you'll have to pay more for car insurance, mortgages, and other types of loans. In this post, we'll show you how to raise your credit score in 7 easy steps. Let's get started!
What Is a Credit Score?
Your credit score is a number that represents your creditworthiness. It's used by lenders to decide whether to give you a loan and what interest rate to charge you. A high credit score means you're a low-risk borrower, which is good for lenders. A low credit score means you're a high-risk borrower, which is bad for lenders.
How Is My Credit Score Calculated?
Your credit score is calculated using information from your credit report. Your credit report is a record of your borrowing and repayment history. The information in your credit report is used to generate your credit score. This includes information such as your:
- payment history
- credit utilization
- and credit history length.
Based on this information, credit scoring models will generate a score that ranges from 300 to 850. The higher your score, the lower your credit risk.
What Are The Benefits of a Good Credit Score?
There are many benefits of having a good credit score:
- Interest Rates: For one, you'll be able to get the best interest rates on loans. This can save you thousands of dollars over the life of a loan. A good credit score can also help you get approved for a mortgage, car loan, and other types of financing. And, if you ever need to rent an apartment, a good credit score can help you get approved.
- Car Insurance: A good credit score can also save you money on your car insurance. Insurance companies use your credit score to determine your premium. A higher score means you're a low-risk driver and will get a lower premium.
- Get A Job: Finally, a good credit score can help you get a job. Many employers now use credit scores to screen job applicants. A high score indicates that you're responsible and can be trusted with important tasks.
As you can see, there are many benefits to having a good credit score. That's why it's important to take steps to raise your credit score if it's low. In the next section, we'll show you how to do just that.
Increasing Your Credit Score
To be able to increase your score, you have to understand how a credit score works. The FICO credit score is used in lending decisions more than any other. To qualify for the lowest interest rates and preferred loan terms, you need to have a score of 750 to 850.
A good credit score is 700 to 749; you will likely find approval for the job or apartment that you applied for with a score in this range. A fair score is 650 to 699, with this kind of score you will pay higher interest rates and possibly be rejected for loans.
How To Raise Your Credit Score Step by Step
If your credit score is low, don't worry. There are steps you can take to raise it. Here are five easy ways to do just that:
1. Pay Bills on Time
Payment history is the most important factor in your credit score. So, make sure to pay all of your bills on time, every time. This includes your mortgage, car loan, credit card bills, and any other type of bill you have.
It's smart to use any tools available to you, such as automatic bill pay or calendar reminders, to make sure you make your payments on time.
Automatic Bill Pay
With automatic bill pay, you can schedule your payments in advance so you don't have to worry about forgetting or being late.
You can also often set up recurring payments, so you don't have to remember to pay each bill every month. And if you're worried about overspending, most banks allow you to set up payment alerts, so you'll know immediately if there's a problem.
One way to make sure that your bills are paid on time is to use calendar reminders. You can set up a reminder for each bill that is due, and many calendars will even allow you to set up recurring reminders.
One way to ensure that you always pay your bills on time is to charge them to a credit card. This way, you can be sure that the payment will go through on the due date.
However, this strategy only works if you are disciplined enough to pay off the entire balance each month. Otherwise, you will end up paying more in interest charges than you would have if you had just paid the bill on time.
Another advantage of this strategy is that it can help you build up your credit score. As long as you make your payments on time and don’t carry a balance from month to month, your credit score will gradually improve.
2. Keep Low Balances on Credit Cards
Don't use all of the available credit on your card. For the best results try not to exceed 30% of your available limit.
That means if you have a credit card with a $1,000 limit, you can't charge more than $300 if you want to improve your credit score. Maxing out your cards will drop your credit score.
The credit utilization ratio is another factor considered in your credit score calculation. You can calculate it by adding your credit card balances and dividing that amount by your credit limit.
To calculate your credit utilization ratio, gather your credit card statements for the last 12 months. Add all the statement balances for each month and divide by 12. That's how you calculate how much credit you use on average monthly.
Lenders like to see a ratio of 30% or less, and people with high credit scores usually have a low credit utilization ratio. A low ratio tells lenders you haven't reached your credit card limits and are likely to manage your money well.
3. Open New Credit Accounts Only as Necessary
Don't open accounts just to save a few dollars at a store—it could potentially hurt your credit score.
Additional credit harms your credit score in a variety of ways, from too many inquiries on your credit report to accumulating additional debt.
4. Check Your Credit Report for Errors
Most people are aware that their credit score is important, but many don't realize that there are actually three different credit reports, each with its own unique information.
Checking your credit report is a good way to stay on top of your credit health and catch any potential errors.
Some 79% of credit reports contain errors, so it's important to check your report for mistakes. When you're reviewing your credit report, look for any inaccuracies or incorrect information.
If you see something that doesn't look right, you can file a dispute with the credit bureau. You should also check for any negative items, such as late payments or collections accounts, that could be dragging down your score. If you find anything that needs to be addressed, take steps to make sure it gets fixed as soon as possible.
Regularly checking your credit report is a simple but effective way to keep tabs on your credit health. By staying informed and taking action when necessary, you can help make sure your credit remains in good shape.
5. Don't Close Credit Card Accounts
If you’re hoping to improve your credit score, you might be wondering if it’s better to close old accounts or keep them open. The answer is that, in general, it’s better to keep old accounts open.
This is because the age-of-credit portion of your credit score looks at how long you’ve had your credit accounts. The longer your average credit age, the more favorably you appear to lenders.
There are a few exceptions to this rule. If you have an account that has been charged-off or is in collections, it may actually hurt your credit score to keep it open. Additionally, if you have an account with a high-interest rate or annual fee, it may be beneficial to close it.
But in general, it’s best to keep old accounts open to help improve your credit score.
6. Make The Most of a Limited Credit History
Establishing credit can be a chicken-and-egg situation: many lenders require a minimum credit history in order to extend credit, but you need credit to build a credit history.
Fortunately, there are a few ways to get started even if you don't have an extensive credit history.
If you're looking for ways to improve your credit score, one option is to become an authorized user on someone else's credit card account. This can be a helpful way to boost your score, as long as the account holder has good credit.
You don't even have to use the credit card to see positive results on your credit score. Simply being an authorized user can help improve your credit history and raise your score.
Of course, it's important to make sure that you trust the account holder and that they are responsible for their credit. But if you're looking for a simple way to give your score a boost, becoming an authorized user could be a good option.
Take Out a Loan
Another option is to take out a small loan from a credit union or online lender. Be sure to make your payments on time and in full, as this will help you to establish a good payment history. With a little effort, you can build the strong credit foundation you need to access the best rates and terms from lenders.
Experian Boost is a free program that allows you to add positive financial data to your Experian credit report. This can include things like your utility payments and banking history.
By including this positive information, Experian Boost can help to raise your FICO credit score. This can be especially helpful for people with limited or no credit history.
Experian Boost is a simple and easy way to improve your credit score, and it's available free of charge. So if you're looking to improve your creditworthiness, Experian Boost is worth checking out.
If you're looking for a way to improve your credit score, the UltraFICO program may be a good option for you. With UltraFICO, you can link your checking, savings or money market account to help build your FICO score.
By linking your accounts, you can show lenders indicators of good financial behavior, including a history of positive account balances, length of time your accounts have been open and evidence of consistent cash on hand.
Additionally, the UltraFICO program is free to use, so it's a great way to improve your credit score without incurring any additional costs. If you're looking to improve your creditworthiness, UltraFICO may be worth considering.
A secured card requires you to deposit money with the card issuer, this is used as collateral to make sure you pay your bill. The deposit is refundable if you handle your card responsibly. Here are some of the most recommended secured cards:
- Capital One® Secured MasterCard® is a good choice for your first card. No annual fee for this card and the credit limit is $200. The deposit varies between $49 and $200, depending on your credit.
- Discover it® Secured Card is a card with rewards and one that you can transfer to a regular card. The annual fee for this card is $0. After a year you are automatically evaluated to see if you qualify for an unsecured card. It also gives you access to your FICO score. You must have a checking or savings account to set up your initial deposit.
- OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card has an annual fee of $35. Your deposit is equal to your credit limit of up to $3000. This card is best if you have bad credit or no checking account.
7. Consolidate Debt if Necessary
If you have a lot of debt, it can be helpful to consolidate it. This means taking out a new loan to pay off your existing loans. When you do this, you'll usually get a lower interest rate. This can save you money and help you pay off your debt faster.
There are many ways to consolidate debt. You can take out a personal loan, get a balance transfer credit card, or use a home equity loan.
Balance Transfer Credit Card
If you have good credit, you may be able to consolidate your debt with a 0% APR balance transfer credit card. These cards offer an introductory 0% APR period, which can last for 12 months or more. This can give you the time you need to pay off your debt without accruing any interest.
Personal loans are another good option for consolidating debt. These loans usually have fixed interest rates, so you'll know exactly how much you need to pay each month. And, if you have good credit, you may be able to get a lower interest rate.
Home Equity Loan
If you own a home, you may be able to use a home equity loan to consolidate your debt. These loans usually have lower interest rates than other types of loans. And, if you use the loan to pay off your debt, you may be able to deduct the interest on your taxes.
There are many options available for consolidating debt. Talk to a financial advisor to find the best option for you.
What Can You Do To Fix Your Credit if You Weren't Able To Pay Your Bills for a While?
Once you have been turned over to a collection agency, it becomes a little more challenging to increase your credit score. Before you do anything, learn your rights as spelled out in The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
Contact your creditors and ask them to erase debt from any account that was turned over to a collection agency. Tell them that you will pay the balance in full if they give you a written agreement stating that they will mark your account “paid as agreed” or completely remove it.
Pay your medical bills last. Not paying them doesn't hurt your credit as much as not paying regular bills. Pay your most recent collection accounts first. These accounts affect your credit more than old ones. Over time the damage to your score will diminish.
How Can I Raise My Credit Score in 30 Days?
One way to raise your credit score is to make sure you're using the right mix of credit products. A good mix includes both revolving and non-revolving credit.
Revolving credit, such as credit cards, can be a great way to build your credit history and improve your score. However, it's important to use revolving credit responsibly by always making at least the minimum payment on time and keeping your balances low.
Non-revolving credit, such as auto loans or mortgages, can also help to boost your score. Non-revolving credit shows lenders that you're capable of handling a large amount of debt and making regular payments over a long period of time.
Another way to raise your credit score is to keep an eye on your credit utilization ratio. This is the amount of debt you're carrying divided by your total available credit. Lenders like to see a low credit utilization ratio, so it's important to keep your balances as low as possible.
Finally, make sure you always make all of your payments on time. Payment history is one of the most important factors in determining your credit score, so it's essential to stay current on all of your accounts. By following these simple tips, you can raise your credit score in 30 days.
How Do I Wipe My Credit Clean?
If you're looking to wipe your credit clean, there are a few things you can do.
Dispute Errors on Credit Report
Requesting your credit reports is a good place to start. This way, you can review them for any errors or questionable items. If you find any, be sure to dispute them with the appropriate agencies.
Lower Credit Utilization
Another thing you can do is lower your credit utilization. This simply means using less of your available credit, which can help improve your credit score.
Remove Late Payments
You can also try to remove late payments from your reports, either by negotiating with your creditors or working with a credit counseling service.
Pay Outstanding Bills
And finally, tackling outstanding bills can also help improve your financial situation and, as a result, your credit score. By taking these steps, you can work towards cleaning up your credit history.
Is Paying Someone To Fix Your Credit Worth It?
Although you can technically fix your own credit, it can be a lot of work. For example, you might have to dispute inaccuracies with credit reporting agencies or negotiate with creditors to remove negative marks from your reports.
If you don't have the time or patience to do this yourself, you might want to consider hiring a credit repair company. These companies are experienced in dealing with credit reporting agencies and creditors, so they can save you a lot of time and frustration.
In addition, many credit repair companies offer money-back guarantees, so you can be confident that you're getting your money's worth.
Ultimately, whether or not you hire a credit repair company is up to you. But if you're feeling overwhelmed by the task of fixing your own credit, it might be worth considering professional help.
The Credit Pros
The Credit Pros is a credit repair company that has been in business for over a decade. The company offers a 90-day money-back guarantee and has earned a 4.6 out of 5 stars rating on Trustpilot.
The Credit Pros specializes in updating inaccurate items on your credit report, which can help improve your credit score. The company also offers credit counseling and other services to help you better manage your finances.
If you're looking for a reliable and reputable credit repair company, The Credit Pros is a great choice.
If you're looking for help with your credit score, Credit Firm is a great option. They've been in business for over 20 years and have assisted countless consumers in improving their credit scores.
One of the best things about Credit Firm is that they offer affordable monthly payments. This makes it easy to budget for their services and get started on the path to improved credit.
In addition, Credit Firm has a great track record of results. They consistently deliver superior results to their clients, which has earned them an award-winning customer service rating.
Finally, Credit Firm has a Trustpilot rating of 4.0 out of 5.0 stars.
While there is no single method to boost your credit score, following these seven easy steps can help you on your way.
Stay diligent and patient in repairing your credit history, and soon you’ll see the results reflected in a higher score. Have you tried any of these methods? Let us know how they worked for you!