How to Raise Your Credit Score 100 Points
It’s highly unlikely that you’ll raise your credit score 100 points overnight. But with the right tools and behaviors, you can make huge progress with your credit score, faster than many might think possible.
Just how quickly can you expect to see a change in your credit score?
After looking at 50,000 Credit Strong credit builder accounts, we found that, on average, account holders improved their FICO score by more than 25 points within three months. After nine months, the average account holder had increased their credit score by more than 40 points.
Credit Strong account holders that made all their payments on time for 12 months almost doubled that improvement, increasing their scores on average by almost 70 points.
This blog post won’t teach you how to raise your credit score 100 points overnight, but it will show actionable steps you can take to improve your credit score over time.
How is Your Credit Score Calculated?
If you’re looking for ways to boost your credit, you should start by understanding how your credit score is calculated. Your FICO credit score is calculated based on the following five sets of criteria:
- Payment history: Your payment history tracks whether you have a pattern of paying your creditors on time. If you have a poor payment history, this makes you a bigger risk to the lender. Your payment history accounts for 35% of your credit score, so it’s one of the most important factors to focus on.
- Amounts owed: If you’ve taken on debt, your lender wants to see how much you owe in proportion to your available credit. This is what’s known as your credit utilization ratio. If you’re maxed out on most of your credit cards, this could indicate that you’re overextending yourself. This category accounts for 30% of your credit score.
- Length of credit history: The more credit history you have, the more it will boost your credit score. You may have a history of making on-time payments, but that’s not going to mean as much if you only have six months of credit history. The length of your credit history counts for 15% of your credit score.
- New credit: If you’ve recently opened multiple credit accounts within a short period of time, this is a red flag for most lenders. The amount of new credit you’ve taken on will count for 10% of your credit score.
- Credit mix: Lenders also want to see that you have a healthy mix of different credit profile types. For instance, it’s a good idea to take out a combination of revolving credit and installment loans. This category accounts for 10% of your credit score.
How Often Does Your Credit Score Update?
If you’ve been working on building your credit score for a while, you may wonder when that hard work will start to pay off. So how long does it take to build credit?
According to TransUnion, one of the three major credit reporting agencies, your credit report is updated anytime your lenders provide new information. This typically happens once a month, but at the very least, it’s updated every 45 days.
However, some lenders will provide more frequent updates, especially if you’ve made a major change, like paying off a student loan or other type of debt.
10 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score
Now that you understand how your credit score is calculated, you probably already have an idea of ways you could begin improving it. If your credit score is lower than you would like, here are ten ways you can begin to raise it.
1. Review Your Credit Report
The first step is to request a free credit score copy of your free credit report from the three major credit bureaus. If you visit AnnualCreditReport.com, you can request a credit check copy from these credit unions: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.
Looking at your credit report will help you identify the factors that are holding you back. For instance, you may see that you have a history of making late payments. But you may also come across errors that you need to dispute with the credit bureaus.
2. Pay Your Bills on Time
One of the easiest ways to improve your credit score is by paying your bills on time every month. This will start to eliminate your credit card debt. Your payment history accounts for the most significant piece of your overall credit score.
You can ensure this happens by setting due date alerts on your phone. You can also automate your monthly payments through online bill pay or by setting up autopay through your lenders.
3. Ask for Late Payment Forgiveness
Maybe you’re someone who always prioritizes paying their bills on time, but you made a mistake and missed a payment. Mistakes happen, and most lenders understand this.
If you have a history of being a good customer and repaying your debt, then you should contact your credit card company and request late payment forgiveness. If you repeatedly miss payments, your credit reporting agency is unlikely to honor your request to rid you of these negative items.
But if it was a one-time lapse and you’re prepared to pay your bill immediately, your lender may be willing to hold off on reporting you to the credit bureaus. However, your lender isn’t required to comply with your request.
But what if you missed a payment by more than 30 days and it’s already on your credit report? In this case, you can send your lender a “letter of goodwill.”
If this letter, you’ll take responsibility for the missed payment and ask your lender to remove it from your credit file reports. Once a late payment is on your credit report, it can stay there for up to seven years, so you want to do whatever you can to get it removed.
4. Keep Credit Card Balances Low
If you want to maintain a healthy credit score, it’s important to keep your credit utilization ratio low. At the very least, your credit utilization ratio should be below 30%, but between 2% and 9% will help you optimize your score..
You can calculate this number by dividing your total debt by your total available credit. For instance, if you owe $6,000 in debt but have $30,000 in available credit, your credit utilization ratio is 20%.
One easy way to lower your credit utilization ratio is to request an increase in your credit card limits. Increasing your limits will automatically improve your credit utilization ratio, assuming you don’t add more debt.
This can be a better approach than applying for a new credit card account since the credit inquiry will likely lower your score by a few points.
5. Keep Old Credit Cards Active
Once you pay off your credit cards, you might be tempted to close them so you won’t run the balance up again. But leaving those cards open can actually help your credit score.
If the balance on the card is at zero, this helps lower your credit utilization rate. Closing old cards could cause your credit score to fall. So it’s always best to leave old cards open and just refrain from spending money on them.
6. Become an Authorized User
It can take time to get your credit score where you want it to be. If you want to speed this process along, you might consider becoming an authorized user on a friend or family member’s credit card. This possibility is how to build credit without a credit card that you are responsible for.
Before becoming an authorized user, make sure that the person you choose is good at paying bills on time. Otherwise, this option could hurt your score instead of help.
7. Consider a Credit Builder Loan
Another way to improve your credit score is by taking out a credit builder loan.
A credit builder loan is an excellent way to build credit without taking out additional credit card debt. Once you’re approved for the loan, the funds are placed in a savings account for you. Every month, you’ll make a fixed monthly payment which is credited toward the loan.
Once the loan is paid in full, you’ll receive access to the funds. But the best part is that the consistent payments you made over time helped build up your credit score.
8. Take Out a Secured Credit Card
Another way to build your credit score is by taking out a secured credit card with a card issuer. With a secured credit card, you’ll pay an upfront deposit which serves as collateral for the credit line. This will cause a credit limit increase which could potentially increase your credit score on your credit account.
If you default on the card, your lender will keep your deposit. But if you continue making payments and keep the account in good standing, your lender will eventually return the deposit to you.
This is a good option for anyone who can’t get approved for a traditional credit card due to bad credit. However, these cards often come with hidden fees, so you’ll want to compare offers from multiple companies first.
9. Make Payments Twice Per Month
If you’re working on paying down debt, you’re probably making one large payment per month. Instead, try breaking this down into two smaller payments every two weeks.
This will help you pay down the principal faster, which will lower your account balances and credit utilization ratio. And since paying twice a month will add in a few additional payments over a year, you’ll end up saving money on interest.
10. Sign Up for Credit Monitoring
One of the best ways to maintain a good credit score is by monitoring it consistently. You can do this by signing up for a free or paid credit monitoring service. These services monitor changes in your credit report and send you regular updates.
Plus, the right credit monitoring service can help spot instances of fraud sooner. Monitoring your credit is the best way to proactively maintain a good credit rating.
How to Raise Your Credit Score by 100 Points
There is no “quick fix” to improving your FICO score — you have to build healthy habits over time. Lower your credit utilization ratio, pay your bills on time, and avoid taking on any new credit.
By taking the steps outlined in this article, you’ll be well on your way to building a good credit score.
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