One of the most crucial indicators of your financial health is your credit score. It provides lenders with a quick snapshot of your credit usage behaviour.
Your chances of getting authorised for new loans or lines of credit will increase as your score rises. Additionally, a higher credit score can give you access to the lowest interest rates when you borrow money.
There are a lot of quick, easy things you can take to raise your credit score. You can begin improving your credit score in just a few hours, even if it can take a few months to see results.
Why Does a Good Credit Score Matter?
Most people will save hundreds of thousands of dollars over the course of their lives with a strong or exceptional credit score. A person with excellent credit is eligible for lower interest rates on mortgages, car loans, and other forms of finance. Better credit scores are associated with lower risk borrowers, and more institutions will compete for their business by providing better rates, fees, and benefits. On the other hand, those with bad credit are viewed as higher-risk customers, which results in fewer lenders competing for them and more companies getting away with charging high annual percentage rates (APRs). A bad credit score can also make it difficult for you to rent an apartment, rent a car, or even receive life insurance because it has an impact on your insurance score.
1. Review Your Credit Reports
It helps to be aware of potential favourable factors when trying to repair your credit (or against you). Checking your credit history can help with that.
Get copies of your credit reports from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, the three main national credit bureaus. Through the official AnnualCreditReport.com website, you can do it for free once a year. Review each report again to see what is improving or detracting from your score.
A history of on-time payments, low credit card balances, a variety of credit card and loan accounts, older credit accounts, and few credit inquiries are all factors that raise your credit score. Major factors that hurt a credit score include missed or late payments, excessive credit card balances, collections, and judgments.
2. Get a Handle on Bill Payments
More than 90% of top lenders use FICO Scores. These are determined by five distinct factors:
- Payment history (35%)
- Credit usage (30%)
- Age of credit accounts (15%)
- Credit mix (10%)
- New credit inquiries (10%)
As you can see, your credit score is most influenced by your payment history. For this reason, it’s preferable that paid-off debts (like your previous school loans) remain on your record. It works in your advantage if you made on-time, responsible debt payments.
3. Aim for 30% Credit Utilization or Less
Paying up your credit card balances in full each month is the simplest approach to keep your credit utilisation under control. A decent rule of thumb is to maintain your total outstanding balance at 30% or less of your overall credit limit if you can’t always achieve so. The next step is to focus on reducing that to 10% or less, which is recommended for improving your credit score.
Requesting a credit limit increase is another approach to lower your credit utilisation percentage. If your debt doesn’t rise in tandem with your credit limit increase, it can benefit your credit utilisation.
The majority of credit card issuers let you submit an online request for a credit limit increase; all you’ll need to do is update your annual household income.
In less than a minute, you might get your increased limit approved. A credit limit increase can also be requested over the phone.
4. Limits Your Requests for New Credit
There are two categories of credit history queries, frequently referred to as hard and soft inquiries. A typical soft inquiry may be something like you checking your own credit, allowing a possible employer to do so, financial organisations you already do business with reviewing your credit, or credit card businesses looking into your file to see if they want to give you pre-approved credit offers. Your credit score will not be impacted by soft queries.
Hard queries, however, may have a negative impact on your credit score for up to two years. Applications for a new credit card, a mortgage, an auto loan, or another type of new credit can all be considered hard enquiries. A few tough questions here and there probably won’t make much of a difference. However, a large number of them in a short period of time will harm your credit rating. Banks could interpret your demand for money as a sign that you are having financial problems and pose a greater risk as a result. Avoid applying for new credit for a time if you’re trying to improve your credit score.
5. Make the Most of a Thin Credit File
You don’t have enough credit history on your report to calculate a credit score if you have a thin credit file. This issue affects 62 million Americans, according to estimates. Fortunately, there are strategies for building a strong credit score and filling out a sparse credit file.
Experian Boost is one. This relatively new initiative gathers financial information, such as your banking history and utility payment history, that isn’t typically included in your credit report and uses it to determine your Experian FICO Score. It is free to use and intended for those with poor or no credit who have a track record of promptly paying their other debts.
6. Keep Old Accounts Open and Deal with Delinquencies
Your credit score’s age-of-credit component examines how long you’ve had your credit accounts open. Lenders see you more favourably the older your average credit age is.
Don’t close any old credit accounts that you aren’t utilising. Closing credit cards while you have a balance on other cards would decrease your available credit and raise your credit usage ratio, even if the credit history for those accounts would remain on your credit report. That can decrease your score by a few points.
7. Consider Consolidating Your Debts
It can be advantageous for you to obtain a debt consolidation loan from a bank or credit union and use it to pay off all of your outstanding bills if you have a number of them. If you can acquire a loan with a reduced interest rate, you’ll be able to pay off your debt more quickly because you’ll only have one payment to worry about.
This could raise your credit score and lower your credit use percentage.
Consolidating numerous credit card accounts by paying them off with a balance transfer credit card is a similar strategy. During a promotional period, these cards frequently carry 0% interest on your balance. But watch out for balance transfer fees, which can run you anywhere from 3% to 5% of your transfer’s value.
8. Use Credit Monitoring to Track Your Progress
Credit monitoring programmes make it simple to track the evolution of your credit score. These services, many of which are free, keep an eye out for modifications to your credit record, including a paid-off account or a newly opened account. Additionally, they often allow you access to at least one of your monthly updated credit scores from Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion.
Many of the top credit monitoring services can also aid in your prevention of fraud and identity theft. For instance, you can contact the credit card provider to report suspected fraud if you receive a notification that a new credit card account that you don’t remember opening has been reported to your credit file.
How can you quickly improve your credit score?
- Check your credit score to see why it is low.
- Pay down your revolving credit as much as possible to lower your credit utilization percentage.
- Have inaccurate things removed (especially late payments).
- Ideally, an old account with a clean payment history and a low utilisation rate should add you as an authorised user.
Ideally, a friend or family member handles this, and they are not even required to give you the card.
You can also pay specific credit repair services to facilitate a transaction between you and a total stranger.
Does paying a collection account improve my credit score?
Because collections remain on your report for seven years, historically, paying them off has not increased your credit score. You cannot foresee the method your lender will use to determine your credit score because newer methods do not consider collections against you after they have a zero amount.
Does paying a loan improve or damage credit?
Frequent loan repayment damages credit because it alters your credit mix and history. The average age of your credit will become newer if the loan you have paid off is your oldest credit line, which will lower your score. Your credit mix worsens if the loan you pay off is the only loan you have.
Will a minimum payment on my credit cards raise my credit score?
No. This is a common misconception. To establish a history of timely payments on your credit cards, you must make at least the minimum amount due each month.
To raise your credit score, you don’t need to pay any interest at all. In fact, because it lowers your credit usage percentage, paying off your credit card balances in full each month will have the biggest positive effect on your score.
A fantastic objective to have is raising your credit score, “3 things that will raise your credit score?” especially if you want to get one of the top rewards credit cards or apply for a loan to buy a significant item like a new car or house.