How to Improve Your Credit Score Quickly: Nine Options to Try
What would you do with a better credit score?
Would you refinance your home to save a few hundred dollars each month and pay off your mortgage sooner? Or does a low-interest credit card sound more up your alley so you can take your dream vacation?
A healthy credit score can help you in numerous ways to manage opportunities as well as the unexpected, giving you spending flexibility to live out your dreams and overcome financial challenges.
If you’ve struggled with poor credit, you may feel like learning how to improve your credit score quickly is a lost cause. It’s true that in many cases, building back your score takes years of work, discipline, and patience. But by paying attention to what factors are affecting your credit score, you may be able to fix it faster than you think.
It’s easy enough to get a glimpse into your credit profile with a service like Credit Karma. From there, you can see what needs work and apply these nine effective techniques to improve your credit score fast.
1. Ask About a Credit Limit Increase
A credit limit increase is an effective way to increase your score because it improves your credit utilization, the second-most valuable component of your credit report.
By getting a credit increase on one of your cards, you lower the credit utilization ratio, which bumps your score up. Make it a goal to get into “good” credit utilization territory by getting under 30% utilization on all of your cards.
If you build a consistent on-time payment history for at least six months, you could qualify for an increase. Call your credit card companies and ask for a modest bump that doesn’t require a credit check. Many lenders have an automatic approval system that won’t result in a hard inquiry, thus saving you from the temporary hit to your credit.
Credit increases don’t always go through. If you’ve had a pay cut or your credit score has gone down, you may not get an approval. As you try to increase your credit quickly, it’s a good idea to open a new card to start the process of building credit and then ask for an increase six to 12 months later.
2. Set Up Auto-Pay
Making a late payment is one of the simplest mistakes that lower your score, as payment history is the number one credit factor.
Creditors generally report missed payments on 30-day cycles, so they’ll tell the credit bureau when you’re 30, 60, or 90 days late. These are all black marks that could take almost eight years to come off of your credit report.
If you’re having a hard time remembering your payments, set up auto-draft to cover the minimum. Keeping your account current is crucial.
When you’re having trouble paying your bill, contact your creditor as soon as possible. You could be surprised by how they can help you lower payments or reschedule them to fit your needs.
3. Diversify Your Borrowing
Adding accounts is beneficial if you only have one credit card or loan. Even if you have a good payment history, lenders like to see a diverse mix of credit lines. The sweet spot is around 3-5 open lines of credit.
4. Try a Credit Boost
With Experian Boost, you could increase your credit score in a matter of minutes. The free service allows you to use your utility, phone, and streaming service bill payments to count towards your Experian score.
If you’re on time with Netflix and Verizon, among other services, you could see your FICO Score 8 increase by 10 points or more. You may also see no change, but there’s no harm in trying.
5. Get on Someone Else’s Card
If you have a friend or family member who is willing to put you on their card as an authorized user, you can boost your credit by piggybacking off of theirs. Once you get added, the card limit, utilization, and payment history all get counted toward your credit score. You’ll need to find someone with good credit who can help you, but you don’t even need to use the card or have the account number to benefit from it.
6. Dispute Errors
You may assume the information that goes into your credit profile is accurate, but it turns out that over one-third of Americans have found errors on their reports.
Not every inaccuracy counts toward your score, and your information is likely correct. Still, getting a free credit report from each of the three major bureaus off of AnnualCreditReport.com is an easy way of getting a quick credit boost if there are any errors.
7. Pay Off High Balances First
Creditors primarily look at credit utilization as a whole between all of your cards, but your per-card utilization can still send up red flags.
Let’s say two people have a 20 percent credit utilization. One has that spread evenly between three cards, while the other has a maxed-out card and two cards with a low balance. The person with even per-card utilization is displaying more responsible spending habits and will get more of a boost to their credit.
Paying off high credit card balances first is a great way to get out of debt as part of a budgeting plan, and it can get your credit built up faster.
8. Apply for a Credit Builder Loan
If you’re new to credit, it’s hard to find a good starting point for loans and credit cards. You may find that many lenders are hesitant to work with someone with limited credit history. To get moving, you can get a credit builder loan, an income-based specialty loan designed to help you establish a good payment history.
A credit builder loan stores your loan money in a savings account as you pay on it, with payment terms lasting up to 24 months long. It isn’t ideal if you have lots of debt, but it’s a low-risk and fast way to build credit if you have none or want to add more accounts.
9. Watch How Often You Apply for Credit
As tempting as it may be to open new lines of credit to build your mix and lower utilization, too many hard inquiries can damage your credit score. Only apply for strategic loans or cards that are affordable and will benefit you if you need them.
When you do apply for a certain type of credit, make sure you do it in a short period. If you’re shopping for car loans or mortgages, creditors see multiple inquiries as one, reducing the hit to your credit. Be careful with credit cards, as credit bureaus don’t have the same leniency on them.
Learn How to Improve Your Credit Score Quickly with Quick Loans America
Credit can be an imposing challenge for many. No cure-all will immediately solve all of your credit woes, and it will take time and consistency. But when you pair patience with a plan and employ these nine essential credit-building tips, you’ll start to find new opportunities faster than you thought possible.
No matter your circumstances, we can be a valuable partner in helping you achieve the credit health you need to accomplish your goals. Contact our credit experts at Quick Loans America so we can show you how to improve your credit score quickly and easily.