Quick Tricks for Improving Your Credit Health

Quick Tricks for Improving Your Credit Health

Your credit health is kind of like your physical health--there's no fast lane to a perfect credit score or perfect health; it's a long-term journey. But just as you can begin making healthy diet and exercise choices today, you can do the same for your credit.

Here are a few things you can try right now to boost your credit health.

Task: Ask for a higher credit limit.

Possible benefit: Lowers your credit card utilization.
Time: 10 minutes
Tactic: Calling up your credit card company might seem like a daunting task, but if it could help your credit health, shouldn't you do it? Most companies review credit limits on an every-six-months basis. If it's been a while since you've received a credit limit increase, you can try requesting one.

First of all, know that this tactic will likely only work if you've had an excellent record with your credit card company. Find your creditor's phone number on your latest statement or by searching online. Call them up and get an agent on the phone. Once you're talking to someone, tell them how good of a customer you've been, how you've always made your payments on time, and how you've enjoyed using the card. After this initial framework, tell them that you'd like to request a credit limit increase.

Watch out for: Sometimes, credit limit increase requests can come with a new hard inquiry to your credit. Make sure to ask first if this will happen so that you know what to expect and if you'd still like to go through with your request.

Task: Write a "Goodwill adjustment letter" for a past late payment.

Possible benefit: Removes a late payment from an otherwise good-looking credit report.
Time: 15 minutes
Tactic: If you've recently made a late bill payment when you're ordinarily on top of things, asking to have that one, small black mark removed could work for you. In your letter, you'll make a case for why the delinquency should be removed. Show what a loyal customer you've been and how much you've improved your financial situation since this one mistake. Model your letter after this example and wait about 30 days before following up, if you haven't heard anything.

Watch out for: Remember that your credit card company doesn't have to remove the delinquency, so be prepared for that instance.

Task: Make a plan to pay down your credit card debt at a faster rate.

Possible benefit: Lowers your credit card utilization.
Time: 30 minutes to an hour
Tactic: If you tend to carry balances on your credit cards from month to month, work out a plan to pay down your debts faster so you can get your credit card utilization rate to lower than 30 percent--that's the rate that credit experts recommend.

First, see where you stand by checking out your current rate. Then, see your rate on individual cards in your My Accounts section. For the cards reporting more than 30 percent, work on those first. If you've only been making the minimum payments on those cards, increase that repayment rate so you can steadily decrease your utilization rate.

Watch out for: While you're working on lowering your balances, avoid relying too heavily on your credit cards. Otherwise, you'll just reverse all of your hard repayment work.

Task: Transfer your credit card balances.

Possible benefit: Strengthens your debt pay-off plan and increases your total number of accounts.
Time: 15 minutes (then 7 to 10 days, typically)
Tactic: When you have lots of different credit cards with varying balances to repay, making multiple payments each month can seem tricky. There are several cards that offer introductory balance transfer rates, meaning if you transfer all or some of your other cards' balances, you won't pay any interest on those balances for a year or two. These promotions vary by card, so always review the terms carefully with a representative. If you're interested in opening a balance transfer card, our partners have many offerings -- find out how to pick the right card for you first.

Watch out for: In most cases, if you don't pay off your balance transfer completely during the introductory period, you'll have to pay interest on the entire transferred amount when that period is up. So this tactic is good for you if you're really ready to tackle your credit card debt.

Task: Get rid of credit report errors.

Possible benefit: Gives you a more accurate record of your credit history.
Time: 1 hour (then up to 30 days)
Tactic: While some credit report errors don't affect your credit score at all (like inaccuracies in your personal information), others can severely impact your ability to get approved for credit (like inaccurate derogatory marks). Bottom line: Cleaning up your credit report should be a top priority. Use this step-by-step guide to help you through the process of cleaning up your reports.

Watch out for: While some credit repair companies will tell you they can remove all negative information from your credit report through this process, that's simply not true. Accurate negative items on your report cannot be removed. Before you hire a company to help you dispute your credit report errors, read through our blog post on how to spot a credit repair scam.

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this site is not provided by the bank or issuer. Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of the bank or issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank or issuer. Credit Karma may be compensated by companies mentioned through advertising, affiliate programs or otherwise. It is this compensation that enables Credit Karma to provide its members with services like free access to your credit scores and free monitoring of credit and financial accounts at no charge.

 

Disclaimer: All information posted to this site was accurate at the time of its initial publication. Efforts have been made to keep the content up to date and accurate. However, Credit Karma does not make any guarantees about the accuracy or completeness of the information provided. For complete details of any products mentioned, visit bank or issuer website.

All Comments

Results 1-10 of 46Results per page: 5 | 10 | 25Page 1 of 5   Previous | Next
2 Contributions
414 People Helped

Helpful to 414 out of 437 people

Last year in October my husband lost his job. With this happening right before all the holidays and me being recently employed for only three months after graduating college put us behind on all our bills, mortgage, Insurance payments etc..... I made the mistake of taking out three different payday loans to cover all our bills and cover christmas for our children. With repaying at 495% interest on those loans, which none of the principle part of my payments to the loans was being applied to, sunk me even deeper into debt. I started with a 720 credit score and due to defaulting on the loans, my home, which is now foreclosed and being removed off my property on January 1st 2014 (Mobile Home),  my credit score is 550. I just new I would not qualify for any loan with that score and my history but I applied for approval on a new mobile home and qualified through what is called a chatel loan for people with very poor credit. The place I went to purchase the home from is ran by real estate agents and brokers, they offered to help build my credit with my down payment of $675 promising at least a 30 to 60 point increase on my credit score. They recommended I dispute all the negative items listed on my report to the companies reporting them. The companies then have thirty days to respond to the dispute. If they dont, the negative report has to be removed from your credit history. You keep doing the disputes over and over and eventually you may not get the 30day required responce. Also a secured credit card helps jump up your credit score. The recomendation is to only charge 20 to 30 dollars on the card and pay off that balance immediatly and not wait to pay the minimum on the due date. this significantly increases the points on your score. I just started 6 weeks ago and went from a 550 to a 584. Hope this helps:)

Reply by
DelgadoS

2 Contributions
11 People Helped
Helpful to 11 out of 11 people

Recently I applied for credit in a store, that is the only one that will give me credit. I use it just for using it, in small amounts, and pay at end of month, it has bumped up my credit substancially, opened a second one and did the same. It is working wonderfully. Now i will open a secured line, need 3 open, good  credits in order to make the credit better, if you dont owe, you dont have credit. Sadly, thats the way it works

Reply by
padavano

1 Contribution
32 People Helped
Helpful to 32 out of 37 people

I am going to follow your advice! Thanks!

Reply by
SHEZO

1 Contribution
9 People Helped
Helpful to 9 out of 11 people

I'm going to start following this helpful advice from you TODAY, hopefuly it should work out as yours "ustjrtm" , Thanks shezo.....

Reply by
poohbear41176

1 Contribution
0 People Helped

How is a secured credit card any different then having a regular credit card? How does it make your score go up faster then a regular credit card?

Reply by
habilemoon

1 Contribution
0 People Helped

The Dispute process works, or at least it did when I attempted it in 2002. Rules governing the credit burrows may have changed. All you have to do like I did back then is call up each of the three credit burrows. tell them straight that you want to dispute everything on your credit report. EVERYTHING. At that point they generate a letter to every creditor on your report. It is a 30 day process from the time you ask for the dispute until the creditor sends in there confirmation. if a creditor doesnt get theres in on time it goes away on your credit history. I did this in 2002 and my score went from a 570 to a 780. The only reason why I was able to get financing to purchase my house. FYI, the best time to do this action is November to December. Most creditors are so busy with holidays activity that your dispute can be overlooked and not processed in time. Good Luck!

Reply by
Arlene1st

1 Contribution
0 People Helped

TY for your advice. I am going to try today..rofl I need help and am in similar situation as you are. Thanks again,

Reply by
Downing1

1 Contribution
0 People Helped

Excellent tip on the secured credit card. I did the same thing and have kept my utilization below 25% and it has helped my score improve!

Reply by
kaymarie2000

1 Contribution
2 People Helped
Helpful to 2 out of 4 people

So if the company doesn't respond in 30 days do u have to tell someone to get it removed? Who and how?

Reply by
tdovers1

1 Contribution
16 People Helped
Helpful to 16 out of 31 people

I don't understand why my score dropped 30% in the last three months,and I have not done anything to change my score?

Reply by
sjw65

2 Contributions
0 People Helped
Helpful to 0 out of 1 people

Thanks for this tip, do you have anythning for enquires that you did not make ? someone

hack my computer and request credit card from Banks, i would not use personally.

and these hard enquires is dropping my score.

Reply by
marinagalvan

1 Contribution
8 People Helped
Helpful to 8 out of 21 people

i was told to keep the bal at 30% then wait till it goes through statement then pay it all off. and to repeat every month . is that so?
 

Reply by
marymargaree

1 Contribution
0 People Helped
Helpful to 0 out of 3 people

I dont know who Lvnv is that is on my credit schore

5 Contributions
316 People Helped

Helpful to 235 out of 267 people

I actually work in customer service for a major credit card company and I just want to make a comment on this article. The article states: 

"Call them up and get an agent on the phone. Once you're talking to someone, tell them how good of a customer you've been, how you've always made your payments on time, and how you've enjoyed using the card. After this initial framework, tell them that you'd like to request a credit limit increase."

This is actually pointless and can make the call kind of awkward. The representative really has nothing to do with whether your credit line increase is approved or denied. This is actually all automated. The representative enters your financail information into the computer and the computer is either A. Automatically approve you or B. Send you a letter of "Adverse Action" telling you were denied and give you the reason. 

Really this is how most things are done at credit card companies. Including being approved for a credit card, credit line increases, and even fee reversals (such as late fees-based on previous fee reversals and how profitable the account is). 

Reply by
LabRockett

2 Contributions
79 People Helped
Helpful to 59 out of 72 people

but it is always nice to be pleasant to whom ever you deal with in life.

Reply by
Punstressak

2 Contributions
32 People Helped
Helpful to 31 out of 39 people

I have actually gotten a temporary credit increase using this tactic when I needed to rent a car at the last minute. I spoke with an agent, told him why I needed the card, and agreed to deposit the funds to cover the increase as if it were a "pre-paid" card. I'd only been a customer for one year, so maybe it was just the fabulous credit  card company. That's one of the few cards I truly regret screwing up on. 

Reply by
sbwrs

1 Contribution
2 People Helped
Helpful to 2 out of 2 people

I do understand this.It happened to me when I had open heart surgery and couldnot work.They got argry at me because I couldnot tell them when I was going to pay..My credit score is lower now since I have that and doctor collections on here but I am in hopes that these companys know if you are a good pay master and you are not dead but tiring very hard to work or get some kind of help that they would work with you...seems to me.

Reply by
ArtemisMinerva

1 Contribution
6 People Helped
Helpful to 6 out of 14 people

What about reconsideration letters?

2 Contributions
31 People Helped

Helpful to 31 out of 39 people

People with credit cards are in a no win situation,they give you a limit you use it pay it down ,but if you use the limit they give you and you make your payments on time ,because you used your card to the limit it brings your score down ,**** if you do **** if you don't,and if you pay it off and close it out it brings your score down, not fair at all.

Reply by
Deidret24

1 Contribution
32 People Helped
Helpful to 32 out of 34 people

when you pay off your credit cards you NEVER close them out yourself, you just rip the card up and let the card company close it out by default . something i picked up along the way

5 Contributions
316 People Helped

Helpful to 79 out of 93 people

Most likely, any response you get to a letter of reconsideration is going to be the same answer just worded differently. I honestly have mixed feelings about where I work. I do love my company but I don't like how cold it can be sometimes. Credit card companies are actually quite cold. And when I say cold, I don't mean that the people that actually work there are cold but the way the system is set up is cold. Big credit card companies are not like your small town bank. Nothing is really personal. The people who work there are really more like script readers. All the answers you get are cut and dry, there is no exception (unless you go up the chain of command-the further you go the more you can get done...sometimes..) 

If you want that small town feeling, go with a local bank or credit union. But, I also want to give you a tip. MANY small banks and credit unions hire these large companies to manager their credit cards. For example, my company manages credit card accounts for about 1,200 different financial institutions. So, READ THE FINE PRINT and see who is going to actually be managing the account. Make sure it really is indeed your bank/CU. (You may be able to just ask a teller or banker.)

Top Contributor
938 Contributions
2402 People Helped

Helpful to 74 out of 87 people

No such thing as a "Quick Fix" when it comes to Credit History or Credit Score.  It is all about time and effort.

2 Contributions
13 People Helped

Helpful to 13 out of 13 people

If anyone on here is asking for you to sign up or pay for helping you with your credit, you are asking for trouble.  They are not only spamming us here but could also be phishing for suckers to steal from.  All it takes is a little letter of dispute and sometimes only a short call to all three credit bureaus to fix simple credit discrepancies.  Don't be lazy, don't hire someone to do this for you - do it yourself.

1 Contribution
35 People Helped

Helpful to 35 out of 40 people

It would be nice when you applied for the annual free credit report and you automatically get to dispute equifax online,they let you know if the other 2 reporting agencys got your request for the free report,now I have to wait and hope.

Reply by
jsaying

2 Contributions
19 People Helped
Helpful to 19 out of 19 people

You must send your disputes to each credit bureau, they do not share the information you sent to one.

2 Contributions
11 People Helped

Helpful to 11 out of 13 people

I filled for  bankruptcy in 2003 I thought this came off after 10 years. How do I get this off my report?

Reply by
claudstov

1 Contribution
3 People Helped
Helpful to 3 out of 3 people

When youn request your yearly free credit report, dispute it.  They will take it off or tell you why it is still there.  Sounds like it should be removed.

Reply by
Thinkingwisely

1 Contribution
1 Person Helped
Helpful to 1 out of 3 people

How was your experience with filing bancruptcy?

1 Contribution
43 People Helped

Helpful to 43 out of 54 people

regarding the task to transfer credit card balances - Warning -  the balance transfer fee - often is significant.  Many times credit unions have credit card balance transfer programs with no transfer fee. 

1 Contribution
20 People Helped

Helpful to 20 out of 28 people

I make two, sometimes three payments on both my credit cards every month and my credit score never changes. I only owe $1300.00 total in credit card payments when I charge up to the limit of both cards; one has an $1100.00 limit and the other has a $500.00 limit. I never let them get up to, or over their limits. Even though I make so many payments, and, right now the $1100.00 card is at a $400.00 balance and the $500.00 card is paid off, Credit Karma does not even show it!! So how do you like that!! This has been no help to me at all...

2 Contributions
47 People Helped
Helpful to 47 out of 50 people

One thing i have noticed it takes more than a month, I have heard up to three, for changes to your credit to affect your score. Also, you do not want to leave any credit cards paid off and have no activity on them. CreditKarma recommends 30% balance or less. Example: If you have 2 credit cards and say one is limited to $300, and the other $700, you have a total of $1000 available credit. You should charge $90 on the $300 card and $210 on the $700, and pay them off when you get the bill, only once a month, not multiple payments. Do this every month, the balance will show consistently no higher than the 30%, you will have 0 finance charges ( for most cards ), and most likely within 3 or 4 months you should see a good jump in your score. Of course I consider a good jump to be at least 30 points.

Reply by
QuestFor800

1 Contribution
21 People Helped
Helpful to 21 out of 23 people

  • (30%) of your Credit Score is based on outstanding debt. How much do you owe on car or home loans? How many credit cards do you have that are at their credit limits? The more cards you have at their limits, the lower your score will be...The rule of thumb is to keep your card balances at (25%) or less of their limits. Maybe ask for credit line increase.

Reply by
charlene6115

2 Contributions
5 People Helped
Helpful to 3 out of 3 people

I just went in and noted what day my credit seems to hit the report and that is on Saturday so I am going to start making my paymebts before Friday so the balance never registers as I pay my cedit card off monthly.

Reply by
dareladyt

1 Contribution
0 People Helped

You have to connect the credit card companies to your account with Credit Karma and at that point they start monitoring the credit cards. You must create an account with CreditKarma too.  I hope this helps.

Reply by
jsaying

2 Contributions
19 People Helped

Find out when the credit card company reports your balance to the credit bureaus, usually your statement date, but double check.  Make sure your balance is at 20% of the credit limit when it is reported.  Example:  one of my cards had a due date of the 5th, so I pay it off or down to 20% of the credit limit.  However they do not run the statement until the 10th, so if I use the card and run my balance up to 50% of my credit limit by the 10th, the balance on the 10th is what is reported, not the 20%  or zero balance on the 5th.  

Reply by
TomP50

1 Contribution
0 People Helped

Tinkerbell you're an idiot. CreditKarma only has what is reported to them. You have to understand that CreditKarma is nothing more than a report card for how your credit rating is going and what the banks and credit card companies are reporting about you. They are also here to give you advice but that's about it. Not everything they recommend works for all folks but they have absolutely NO control over whether your credit rating goes up or down.

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