Unfortunately, there is no magic formula that will raise your credit scores overnight. But there are some ways you may be able to improve your credit over time if you manage your credit well.
The truth about how to raise your credit scores quickly
While a few lucky may find themselves in a situation where they can raise credit scores quickly, the bottom line for most of us is that building credit takes time and discipline, especially if you're trying to rebuild bad credit. That's because your credit scores are complex and made up of several interconnected factors (more on that below).
No doubt about it: while some credit repair agencies may promise to raise your credit scores quickly, there is no secret to helping you raise your credit scores fast.
But if you start developing healthy habits now, you can build up credit on your own over time.
5 factors that affect your credit scores
As mentioned above, there are several factors that go into determining your credit scores.
- Payment history makes up the majority of your credit scores. That's why it's so important to make payments on time every month, if possible. Late payments can affect your credit history for up to seven years.
- The use of creditis another important factor. It measures the amount of available credit you use at any given time. Experts recommend that you keep it below 30%.
- The duration of your credit historyhas some impact on your credit, but not much. This takes into account the ages of your oldest and newest credit card accounts, as well as the average age of all your accounts. The older your credit is, the better, because it shows lenders that you have more experience managing credit.
- Your credit combination has a small impact on your credit. This factor looks at the types of credit you borrow. Lenders want to see that you can balance revolving accounts such as credit cards with installment accounts such as mortgages, student loans, auto loans and personal loans.
- Your recent credit also has a small impact on your credit. It tracks the applications you submit for things like new credit cards and personal loans with hard credit checks. The fewer the better.
Tips that can help you improve your credit scores
Because credit is so complex, establishing credit takes time. Depending on your situation As an individual, there may be ways to raise your scores quickly, such as paying off all your debts in a very short period of time. But if you're starting out with bad credit, even a drastic measure like that may not have the immediate effect you're looking for. No matter what, the most impactful thing you can do for your credit is to create some consistent habits. Here are some tips that can help you raise your credit scores over time.
Check credit reports on a regular basis to keep track of your progress.
No matter where you go to check your credit, it's important to keep an eye on your credit. And if you find any errors or inaccuracies, we can help you file a dispute. If your dispute is approved by the credit bureaus, you may see the error corrected in as little as 30 days, which can help raise your credit scores.
2. Sign up for free credit monitoring
Keeping a close eye on your credit is essential. Signing up for credit monitoring can help alert you to important changes in your credit, so you can check for suspicious activity. Fraudulent activity can weigh on what could be a good credit score, so it's important to dispute any details you identify as inaccurate. If the credit bureau rules in your favor, the fraudulent activity will be removed from your credit report, which can help you raise your credit scores.
3. Find out how much money you owe
Gather all of your bills and work out a plan to pay them. The snowball method focuses on paying off the lowest balances first, while the avalanche method focuses on paying off the balances with the highest interest rates first. If you have too many credit cards to keep track of, you can also consolidate your credit card debts onto a balance transfer card to make it easier to manage your monthly payments.These three strategies could help you pay off your credit card debts faster, reduce your credit utilization ratio and increase your credit scores. So choose the plan that best suits your needs and stick with it.
4. Set up automatic payment so that you never forget to make a credit card payment.
This may help you develop a history of payments consistent over time. It may not help you raise your credit scores quickly, but it may protect them from declining rapidly, which is likely to happen if you miss a payment.
5. Pay twice a month
Instead of making one large payment at the end of the month, try breaking it up into smaller payments every two weeks. This could help you make a few extra payments each year and save money on interest charges. And additional payments can help pay down your principal balance faster, reducing your account balances and credit utilization ratio, which can increase your scores.
6. Negotiate a lower interest rate
A lower rate can help you pay off your balance faster, because more of your payment can be applied to your principal balance than to interest. Lower balances can mean a lower credit utilization rate (and an increase in your scores). Learn more about negotiating a lower interest rate.
7. Request a credit limit increase
A higher credit limit is another way to help lower your credit utilization ratio, which can help raise your credit scores. However, be aware that some credit issuers run a hard credit check when you request a credit limit increase, and that can cause your credit to go down. Read about how to request a credit limit increase.
8. Combine your credit
Your credit mix refers to the different types of accounts listed on your credit reports. While it probably won't help improve or hurt your credit scores, lenders generally like to see a mix of revolving credit accounts (i.e., credit cards) and installment loans, such as mortgages, auto loans and student loans. The more diversified the money you borrow, the better. Of course, it's not a good idea to get a loan you don't need just to add a little more color to your credit mix.
9. Become an authorized user on someone else's account
If you're new to credit and can't qualify for your own credit card, becoming an authorized user on someone else's account can be a great way to get started. But that's a double-edged sword: If the person who owns the account has healthy credit, it can help you establish a positive credit history in the long run. On the other hand, if they miss payments or have high credit card balances, that could also reflect negatively on you. That's why it's important to choose someone you trust who has a longer credit history and higher credit scores than you, and who has an overall positive credit history.
Situations to avoid when working on your credit scores
When it comes to generating credit, it's easy to focus too much on ways to quickly increase your scores of credit. The truth is that building credit takes time. So take a step back and make sure your strategy doesn't hurt you more than it can benefit you.
Here are some things that no should be taken into account.
- Don't apply for a bunch of new credit cards just because you want to increase your credit utilization. While this could help lower your credit utilization ratio, it could also make you look like a risky borrower because of the new inquiries on your reports.
- For the same reason, don't apply for a loan just to improve your credit mix. Apply for a new loan only if you really need it.
- Don't carry a balance on your credit card just so you can build credit. Carrying a balance can generate unnecessary interest charges and may actually keep your scores low by increasing your credit utilization rate.
- Don't cancel your credit card after paying the balance in full unless you have a good reason to do so. Closing your credit card will affect the length of your credit history, so it's best to leave it open, even if you no longer use it. Of course, if having a card tempts you to spend more, or if it comes with an expensive annual fee, you may want to reconsider this popular belief.