Your credit score impacts several aspects of your financial life. Lenders check your score to determine your approval for a mortgage, vehicle loan, or credit card. They also use your score to set your interest rate. Naturally, you’ll want to increase your credit score as quickly as possible before applying for any line of credit. The smallest increase in your score can make the difference between getting approved and being declined. A small increase may also be all you need to qualify for a lower rate on your loan.
While there are ways to increase your credit score quickly, you should know that ‘quickly’ doesn’t mean ‘overnight’. It takes time and persistent responsible actions to boost your credit score.
Here’s what you can do to increase your credit score quickly.
Your payment history has the single biggest impact on your credit score, accounting for 35% of the total. Making consistent timely loan and credit card payments is the most effective way to increase your score quickly. Even one late payment can drag your score down. Multiple late payments will pull your score down drastically. Moreover, late payments stay on your credit report for 7 years.
Don’t rely on your memory to keep track of payment amounts and due dates. You can’t afford the risk of missing a deadline. Instead, set up a system for making sure that all payments go out on time, every month.
Credit utilization is the second biggest factor that affects your credit score, accounting for 30% of the total. Credit utilization refers to the portion of your credit limit that you’re using at any given time. The lower your credit utilization, the better. Making multiple micropayments towards your credit card balance is one way to keep your credit utilization low. Don’t wait till the payment due date to pay off your credit card. Whenever you have extra cash, using it to pay down the balance will keep the utilization ratio low and help increase your score faster.
Every credit card has a credit limit, which is based on the card-holder’s credit history. As your history and score improves, you may qualify for a higher credit limit. This is usually not done automatically. You’ll have to request your credit card issuer. Increasing your available credit will instantly lower your credit utilization ratio provided that you’re not tempted to max your card out every month. The idea is to increase your credit limit increases while keeping your balance the same. The lower your credit utilization ratio the more points it will add to your score.
Can’t get an increase on your credit limit? Consider asking a relative or friend to add you as an authorized user on their card. This is particularly useful if you have a thin credit file. As an authorized user, you’re credit score will benefit from the higher credit limit, longer credit history, and timely payments. Make sure you only become an authorized user with someone who has a record of making timely payments. Otherwise, their adverse credit history can damage your score too.
Using a secured credit card is yet another way to increase your credit utilization ratio. Unlike rewards cards, applying for a secured card won’t trigger any hard credit inquiries that ding your score. Instead, a secured card is issued against a safety deposit. The amount in the safety deposit acts as your credit limit. Getting a secured card will increase your credit limit and lower your utilization ratio. This is an easy way to increase your credit score quickly. It also makes much better use of money that’s otherwise just lying in your bank account.
Keeping old credit cards open gives you two benefits when it comes to improving your score. For one, it increases your available credit limit. Secondly, it adds to the length of your credit history, another factor that contributes to your score. When you’re looking to increase your credit score, keep your old card open and use it smartly. Make occasional purchases with the card and pay off the balance immediately to add points to your score even faster.
Installment accounts include student loans, mortgages, auto loans, and personal loans. Credit cards are a type of revolving credit. Having a mix of both is good for your credit score. This is because it allows lenders to assess how you manage different types of credit. The impact is marginal but when you want to increase
Inaccurate information on a credit report is not at all unusual. It may happen due to several different reasons. Unfortunately incomplete or inaccurate adverse information can damage your score for no fault of yours. Before applying for a loan or credit card, it’s worth getting a copy of your report and reviewing it.
Make sure you pull a copy from each of the three major credit bureaus – Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. Each of these bureaus compile their reports and calculate scores differently. Go through all three reports and dispute any inaccuracies or incomplete information you come across. The agency is obligated to investigate and resolve your dispute within 30 days. If the inaccuracy is verified, they will erase it from your history and correct your credit score accordingly.
Lenders and credit card issuers report your payment behavior to the three credit agencies every 30 days. The information that’s reported has a direct and immediate impact on your credit score. Positive information will add points to your score. Negative information will deduct points from your score. If you do everything right, you should usually see your score improving by a few points every 30 days.
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