A low credit score isn’t forever. It’s easy to feel this way since it takes much longer to raise your credit score than it does to see it drop, but it’s entirely possible to raise your credit score faster than most people imagine. It’s not always easy, and it does involve more time and effort than you might assume. The best way to boost your credit involves paying your expenses on time, keeping your debt-to-income ratio low, and understanding how to properly maintain a good score. However, there are a few surprising ways you can raise your score right now you might not have previously thought to do.
1- Dispute Every Error
Even if it’s just a small error, dispute it. You’ll want to have everything in your power on your side. You need to file a claim with the credit bureau and the creditor to fix any mistake that’s been made on your report, even if it’s just an incorrect year on an account. All errors have the potential to make a positive and profound impact on your score. That’s what you want, and this is one way to ensure you’re able to raise your score within one month.
2- Keep Paid Off Accounts Open
The big mistake many consumers make is closing accounts they’ve paid off, which is always a bad idea. These accounts are imperative to the overall available credit you have on your report as well as the amount of your credit utilization. Canceling a paid off account minimizes your available credit. This makes the debts you do have suddenly look larger, and that makes your overall credit score drop significantly.
3- Change Your Payment Dates
There is something you can do to keep your score looking good, and that’s change the date you make your payments. You’re not changing your due dates. You’re going to figure out when each of your creditors reports your accounts to the credit bureaus and pay before that date. If you pay off your balance before then, your credit utilization looks lower. Your payments won’t be late if you still pay by the due dates, but you’ll end up getting a better-looking credit report when you pay sooner.
4- Use Your Cards
Having a credit card in your name isn’t enough. You have to use it. The best way to use your cards is to make the everyday purchases you already make, and then pay them all off in full. You’ll do this each month to maintain an impressive credit report. This is also a great way to earn more mileage or rewards points on your credit accounts. Using your cards to pay for everything you buy regularly and then use the cash you typically use to pay it off. This helps you earn points and raise your score all at once.
5- Apply for More Credit
This sounds counterproductive, but you need a mix of credit to really have a good score. If you only have one credit card and nothing else, it doesn’t make your score great. If you add a car loan or a personal loan to the mix, you can show creditors you have a better handle on your finances. If you must start with a secured card, do it. When your credit is good enough, you can add a small personal loan to the mix to make it look like you have more of a variety. This helps your score almost immediately, and it never fails to shock people how easy it is to raise their score using this method.
Your credit score is the most important number in your life, and you need to have it on target if you hope to have a bright financial future. It’s a good idea to start creating a budget, sticking to it, and checking your credit report every few months. Each of the major bureaus is legally required to provide you a free copy of your credit report each year. If you have it staggered so you get one every three or four months, you’ll always be on top of your score.