How to Improve Your Credit Score Fast

You don’t need to hire someone to improve your credit score. Here’s how to make the most of your spending habits.

How to Improve Your Credit Score Fast

The other day, my spouse decided to take a look at his FICO score—and he was distraught. His score wasn't the high score that he hoped it to be. When he told me, he immediately thought he should call up a credit repair company.

I immediately rejected the idea. After all, you can improve your credit score fast on your own—no fees involved. Together, we're going to work to fix his credit score step by step.

Believe it or not, there's a lot of simple ways to boost your credit score. Here are some of the fastest ways to make things happen, and maybe get approved for a new loan sooner rather than later.

Take a look at your credit score before you start!

Your credit score is made up from the information three different credit bureaus receive from creditors, lenders, landlords, and the government. These bureaus are called TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act allows each American to access their credit reports once a year. All you need to do is write a letter explaining that you want a copy of your report.

Don't be surprised if all three credit reporting agencies have different scores associated with you. Each bureau has a different way of scoring things.

You can also get a general idea of how your score looks like on CreditKarma.

Your credit report will show you what your bad marks are—and you should dispute them.

Do you notice some derogatory marks on your credit report? The easiest way to improve your credit score fast is to dispute the marks on your credit report.

A lot of creditors don't have the right information on you, or may even keep marks that are outdated. By writing a letter telling the bureaus that they're wrong, you make them investigate the derogatory mark. If they can't prove anything negative, they will remove the mark.

Pay down credit card debt.

The biggest factor that your credit score is based on deals with your credit card debt, which is a fact about credit cards you might not know about. Your credit score has a large chunk of its value determined based on the amount of credit you use, compared to how much credit you're offered.

People who use most of their card balance are seen as a higher risk to lenders. The ideal credit score will have your balance stay below 30 percent of your credit limit. Anything higher, and you're putting a dent your score.

Actually, paying off loans is a good way to quickly improve your balance.

The lower your balances, the better your credit score. Paying off loans and credit cards will make your credit score rise faster than anything else. No matter how low your FICO score is, paying down some cash is the easiest way to improve your credit score fast.

Seriously, every dollar counts.

If you can't get rid of derogatory marks, offer to do a "pay for deletion."

Let's say you have this one bill that you let become a charge-off. You left that bill to rot for ages, and the collection companies eventually stopped calling. The bad mark is stuck on your record like scars from a really bad acne breakout.

You can fix this, if you have a little cash. To do this, you need to write a letter to the creditor and request a pay for deletion. Send it via certified mail.

A pay for deletion act means you pay a sum (often less then what you owe), and they delete the bad mark off your record. If they agree or offer a similar deal, agree to it. They have to delete the mark.

If they don't delete it after you pay them, you can dispute the error. This is a good way to improve your credit score fast after a serious fall from grace.

Keep paying your bills on time.

The easiest way of improving your credit score fast without dealing with negative marks is to keep paying your bills when they're due. It seems simple, right? That's because it is.

The bulk of your credit scores is based on timely payments. As long as your bills aren't 30 days late at any time, you're in the clear.

Consider doing debt consolidation.

Are your credit card interest rates out of control? Does it seem like you'll never be able to get out of debt and fix your credit? It may be a good time to look at loans.

In some situations, the easiest way to make your credit score go up is to pay off your credit card debt quickly and avoid piling on more debt. Having another loan can improve your credit score over the long term, and you can use the funds to pay off your credit cards. If you are considering ways as to how to decide between paying off debt and investing, and your credit score is suffering, you may want to go this route.

Use a cellphone bill to improve your credit score.

The new credit system uses bill payments like your phone and utilities as a way to judge how well you manage your money, too. This seems like a simple thing to do, and it is.

Simple as it may be, it works. It'll only improve your score a smidge, but it still does wonders over the long term. You will need Experian Boost to do this, though.

Ask for a limit increase.

Want to improve your credit score fast, but don't have the cash to do much? Well, you might still have a shot. If you recently got a raise, you may be able to boost your credit limit by asking for a higher limit.

This trick lowers your credit ratio without you having to pay down debt. The result is the same. Just be careful of the ways your credit score can affect your investments, as you don't want to dig yourself into a deeper hole than you're already in.

Personally request that your bank reports good things to bureaus.

If all else fails, you may want to start asking creditors to report your good payments to the credit bureaus. Sometimes, this won't work. Other times, it will. When it comes to ways to improve your credit score though, it never hurts to try.

personal finance
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Cato Conroy

Cato Conroy is a Manhattan-based writer who yearns for a better world. He loves to write about politics, news reports, and interesting innovations that will impact the way we live.

See all posts by Cato Conroy