Can I raise my credit score fast?

Young woman sitting near a window learns 5 quick tips to improve your credit healthImage: Young woman sitting near a window learns 5 quick tips to improve your credit health

In a Nutshell

If you’re trying to find a fast way to raise your credit scores, you should know that there’s no single tactic that will magically improve your scores in a hurry. But there are steps you can take that might help boost your standings in a relatively short amount of time — though it all depends on your specific situation. We’ll show you what works and what doesn’t.
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Are you trying to raise your credit scores fast?

Unfortunately, there’s no silver bullet that’ll raise your credit scores overnight. But there are a few ways you might be able to improve your credit over time if you manage your credit well.

While some credit repair agencies may promise to raise your credit scores fast, there’s no secret that will help boost your credit scores quickly.

But if you start developing healthy habits now, you can build credit over time all by yourself.


5 factors that affect your credit scores

  1. Payment history makes up the biggest chunk of your credit scores. That’s why it’s so important to make on-time payments each month if at all possible. Late payments can haunt your credit history for up to seven years.
  2. Credit usage, or credit utilization, is another important factor. This measures how much of your available credit you tap into at any given time. Experts recommend you keep this to less than 30%.
  3. The length of your credit history has some impact on your credit, though not much. This factors in the ages of your oldest and newest credit card accounts, as well as the average age of all your accounts. The older your credit, the better, because it shows lenders you have more experience managing credit.
  4. Your credit mix has a small impact on your credit. This looks at the types of credit you borrow. Lenders want to see that you can balance revolving accounts like credit cards with installment accounts like mortgages, student loans, auto loans and personal loans.
  5. Your recent credit also has a small impact on your credit. This tracks the applications you file for things like new credit cards and personal loans with hard inquiries. The fewer, the better.

Tips that can help raise your credit scores

1. Check your credit reports on a regular basis

If you find any mistakes or inaccuracies, you can file a dispute. If your dispute is approved by the credit bureaus, you may see the error corrected as soon as within 30 days, which can help raise your credit scores.

2. Pay twice a month

The extra payments can help pay down your principal balance faster, lowering your account balances and credit utilization ratio, which can raise your scores.

3. 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 interest. Lower balances can mean a lower credit utilization ratio (and a lift in your scores).

4. Ask for a credit limit increase

A higher credit limit is another way to help reduce your credit utilization ratio, which can help raise your credit scores. Keep in mind though that some credit issuers do a hard credit check when you request a credit limit increase, and that can cause your credit to dip.

5. 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.

Pitfalls to avoid when working on your credit scores

  • Don’t apply for a bunch of new credit cards just because you want to increase your credit utilization. Even though this might help lower your credit utilization ratio, it could also make you look like a risky borrower thanks to the new hard inquiries on your reports.
  • For the same reason, don’t take out a loan just to improve your credit mix. Only apply for a new loan if you actually need it.
  • Don’t carry a balance on your credit card. Carrying a balance might actually hold your scores down by increasing your credit utilization ratio.
  • Don’t cancel your credit card after you pay it off — unless you have a good reason to do so. Closing your credit card will hurt your length of credit history.

About the author: Tim Devaney is a personal finance writer and credit card expert at Credit Karma. He’s a longtime journalist who prides himself on being a good storyteller who can explain complex information in an easily digestible wa… Read more.