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Improve Your Credit Score & Increase Points Fast

by: Sean Michaels

Update: 09/2021


In today’s consumerism driven world, most people at some point will need a credit card, a mortgage, or some kind of financial assistance from a bank or a financial institution. In case of bad credit score or no credit score (in case you do not own a credit card or any other type of loan from a bank), getting credit is tough.

Though numerous factors influence your eligibility for a loan or credit card, the credit score is one of the most important of those factors. And it can make or break your chances of being approved for a credit card, loan, utility services, auto insurance or renting a home of your choice.

In essence, maintaining a good credit score is critically important. If your credit score is low, take these steps to improve your credit score fast.

What is a credit score?

Your credit score is the yardstick for banks and lenders to decide if you should be given that credit card or loan. It typically varies between 300 and 850. Anyone with a score lower than 300 has bad credit. Your credit score helps lenders determine your probability of paying off a loan. There is a lot of talk around about good and bad credit.

Your credit score is the deciding factor whether or not you are approved for a loan or credit card. If you have always paid off your loans and credit card bills on time, then your credit score will likely be good. Else, you will have bad credit, which makes you ineligible for a loan.

If you have never taken a loan or had a credit card, you have zero credit, which will have the same effect as bad credit. Without a credit score, a lender cannot be assured of your ability to make timely repayments. That is why it is so important to maintain a good credit score.

What counts towards your credit score?

Essentially, your credit score is the report card of your credit history. The score is the sum of your payment history, the amount of debt, length of credit, types of credit in use, and new credit. All these factors come together to make your credit score.

The biggest part, almost 35 percent, of your credit score, is your payment history.  If you were to lend money to your cousin and knew that he always makes payments on time, wouldn't you trust him more? Of course, you would. The case with a credit score is no different. Lenders want to be sure that they can trust you and your past payment history is the yardstick.

The next important part of your credit score, almost 30 percent, is the amount of debt you have today. This is measured by figuring out your debt utilization ratio.

For instance, if you have only one credit card with $2,000 available and a debt of $1,000, then your debt utilization ratio is 50 percent. ($1,000/$2,000). The higher the ratio, the lower your score, because it shows that you aren't responsible with your credit. If you owe $100 out of $2,000, it makes your situation better.

Next comes the length of your credit history, and it accounts for about 15 percent of your score. To determine this, lenders usually look at your oldest account, your youngest account, and your average account. The older your credit accounts, the better your score.

The next 20 percent of your credit score is determined by the types of credit that you use and your newest credit respectively. Types of credit include credit cards, car loans, mortgages, student loans, etc.

Lenders look at both the types of credit you have paid off successfully in the past and the types of credit outstanding at the moment. New credit involves loans that you have just applied for or a credit card that you got a week ago. All of these come together to make up your credit score.

Impacts of bad credit score

No one thinks of credit risk when seeking a loan or making credit card purchases. What we think of is how the purchase or the loan makes our life better by providing us with the things we need or want at that moment. But creditors or lenders don’t care about your purchases or how they improve the quality of your life. They only want the money back, with interest.

Credit risk refers to the possibility of you not paying off your debt. The lower your credit score, the higher your credit risk, and for obvious reasons, it isn't too favorable to lenders.

Bad credit has a big impact on not only your finances but your quality of life in general. Some of the ways bad credit negatively affects your life are:

How to Improve Your Credit Score Fast?

Difficulty getting approved for a loan

Your likelihood of getting approved for a loan or a credit application is directly dependent on your credit score. The lower your score, the less likely you are a lender who is willing to approve you.

Each lender has their own quality level cutoffs, and if you fall below that level, you will most likely not be approved for the loan. For instance, there isn't much difference between the credit score of 698 and 700, but to lenders, those two points make a big difference.

Higher interest rates

Even if you do manage to secure a loan, the interest rates will be higher than normal. This is because lenders see your credit risk as high with less possibility of paying off the loan. With a good credit score, you are not only able to secure a loan easily, but lenders may also lower the interest rates because they trust you to make timely payments.

Higher insurance premiums

Auto and home insurers almost always look at your credit unless the law in the state explicitly forbids it. This includes timely payments and outstanding debts. Bad credit could mean higher insurance premiums.

Difficulty getting a job

Even though there is hardly any relation between credit and job performance, employers are very likely to check your credit score during the hiring process, unless you are in a state where the practice is banned. A poor credit score could have you rejected even though you were a good fit for the position, and also make it hard to get a security clearance.

Trouble renting an apartment

For a fact, landlords with good apartments in desirable neighborhoods often run a credit check as compared to those who have shabby apartments in substandard neighborhoods.

This is because well-kept apartments in good localities get tenants very easily and in large numbers. Applicants with lower credit scores are not favored because they are less likely to make timely rent payments.

If you have a poor credit score, you may end up in a cramped apartment in a down market neighborhood, because those landlords don't check credit history. This, of course, doesn't apply to regions where the practice is banned.

How to Improve Your Credit Score Fast?

How to improve your credit score fast?

Your credit score is much like your weight. In fact, it has been found in a survey that more people would be embarrassed to admit their credit scores than admit their weight. And quite like losing weight, improving your credit score takes time and effort.

To lose weight quickly, people usually go for crash diets, but they usually don't work and are also unhealthy.

However, it is indeed possible to improve your credit score fairly quickly. Keep in mind, though, that any change could take up to 60 days at least, but it's better than doing nothing about your weight and sitting there eating French fries and watching TV. Much like losing weight, for improving your credit score, you need to take action.

The following steps can help you improve your credit score with time, diligence, and patience.

1. Check your credit reports

The first step you need to take is to order a copy of your credit report from all three This is because unless you check your credit report, you won't know where improvements need to be made. The reports may not always be accurate either.

In fact, there are several instances when credit reports contain mistakes, and as a result, the credit score dips. Therefore, you must first determine the accuracy of your credit reports. You may also take the help of a professional to help you check the reports thoroughly.

2. Point out errors

The first thing you should check in your credit report is if all your payments have been reported. If you find any payment missing, then you must hold your creditor accountable. There are other errors, besides wrong credit reporting, that can affect your credit score. For instance, if someone else has stolen your identity and is abusing your credit, it will affect your credit.

In fact, credit identity theft is a common issue that has been faced by several people, thanks to the rising number of Internet threats.

Creditors asking for purchases you never made or received a tax notice from a job you never had are all cues that your credit is being abused by someone else. If you suspect fraud, you must immediately talk to your financial institution or creditors.

Other errors include reporting of an old collection account, unpaid bills, and your credit information getting mixed up with that of someone else with the same name. Again, you may seek the help of a professional to guide you in figuring out the errors in your credit report.

3. Fix the late payments

Most people with bad credit score have unpaid bills from days or weeks ago that were never taken care of. Unfortunately, these late or delayed payments are a blemish on your credit report, and there's no other way than to pay them off. People think that closing an account gets rid of unpaid bills, but it isn't so.

Even closing the account won't get rid of late payments. As long as the late payments remain on your credit report, your credit score will not improve. Before you do anything else to improve your credit, the late payments must be fixed.

The best option is to set payment due date alerts so that you don't miss the dates. Many banks offer payment reminders through their websites, which involves sending you an email or text message to remind you when a payment is due.

You can also get your payment schedules organized around a more convenient time, for better chances of remembering them.

4. Negotiate with the creditors

Remember that your entire credit history is on record, so you cannot deny that you had stopped making payments on a credit card bill after you lost your job. What you can do is ask creditors to remove that or any other debt that went to collection. Be careful about this negotiation and do all of it in writing to have proof later.

Write a letter to your creditor with an offer to pay the remaining balance if they will report the account as “paid as agreed” or erase it altogether. Get the creditor to agree in writing before you make the payments.

There's also something called a “goodwill adjustment” that you can take advantage of. For instance, if you were a good MasterCard customer until you lost your job, you could write a letter to the company, emphasizing your good history in the past, and ask that the late payments be removed from the credit report. In many cases, this could happen.

5. Reduce your debt

Although this is easier said than done, reducing the amount of money that you owe can go a long way in not only improving your credit score but also giving you satisfaction. The first thing to do to be able to achieve is to stop using your credit cards.

By using your credit report, note down the accounts that you have and then check how much you owe on each account and what the interest is on each. Next, you need to come up with a solid plan that uses your available budget first to pay off the highest interest cards, while continuing to make minimum payments on the other accounts.

6. Get a credit card

Having one or two credit cards will actually improve your credit score over time, as long as you don’t charge too much and pay your bills on time. Responsible users of credit have several benefits to reap from owning a credit card or two.

If your credit score is good or excellent, you will be approved for any credit card. But if you have bad credit, getting a traditional card can be difficult. In that case, you should try for a secured credit card.

These credit cards have a restricted spending limit. For instance, if you open a checking account and put $500 in it, you get a line of credit for $500. Make sure to choose a secured card that reports to all three major credit bureaus.

If you have never had a credit card, then an account mix up could also be responsible for the errors on your credit report. Getting a credit card could fix the problem. But what should you do if you cannot get either traditional or secured credit cards? That takes us to the next point…

7. Become an authorized user

If you cannot get approved for either a secured or a traditional credit card, there is a third option.

This involves convincing a family member or friend for being added to their existing credit card account. Remember this is the question of money, so if you’ve had a wonky financial history, it shouldn't be surprising to hear “no” a lot. In some cases, you might also be in luck, particularly if you are young with no poor credit history.

If you do manage to convince someone to add you to their account, you should then offer to make an agreement in writing, putting down how much you can spend and how you will divide the bill. Once this is sorted, you must be responsible and use the card wisely.

You shouldn't spend more than you can afford and make sure to do your part when the bill is due. Leaving your co-signer hanging will not only affect your credit score but also make your relationship bitter.

8. Reduce your spending

Improving your credit score doesn't mean you keep using your card for every little thing. Remember the credit utilization ratio? The lesser it is, the better off you are. Ideally, it should be no more than 30 percent. The best ratio is 10 percent.

Once you achieve that ratio, your credit score will be up to the mark. But for that to happen, you must reduce your spending and underuse your cards. Yes, that's right. For instance, if your Visa card has a $2,000 limit and you routinely charge a $1,500 a month, it makes your credit utilization ratio higher than 50 percent.

It doesn’t matter if you always make timely payments. What matters is that the credit bureaus think you are a spendthrift who lives off of his credit cards. It paints a poor impression of you and your credit. But if your utilization ratio is high because your credit limit is low, then this leads to the next item.

9. Raise your credit limit

If your credit limit is low, talk to your creditors about increasing it. For example, if the limit on your MasterCard is $2,000, you could have it increased to $3,000. Be careful about raising your credit limit, because it works only if you are responsible enough to keep your spending under control. Else, you will be back to using 70 percent of your credit each month, and your credit will only dip lower.

10. Limit credit applications

We know it can be tempting to sign up for the store credit card for the 20 percent discount, but remember that it affects your credit score negatively.

For every card that you sign up for it costs you three to five points off your credit score, and if you already have bad credit, applying for lots of credit offers in a short time will only damage credit score even more.

Similarly, credit checks also negatively impact your credit. If you find that a hard inquiry was placed on your credit file without your knowledge, make sure to contact the lender and find out what it is all about.

If you still have no knowledge of the inquiry, it might be fraud or identity theft and requires alerting the credit bureaus. Although it takes time, the hard inquiry can be removed from your credit report. On the other hand, soft inquiries don’t impact your credit score, because they are generally done by a lender as part of a background check.

11. Pay your bills on time

Remember the elements of a credit score that we discussed earlier you’re your payment history, including late and missed payments form the biggest chunk of the score – 35 percent. If you forget to make your payments on time because you’re too busy, absent-minded, or too overwhelmed with young children, then please automate your payments. But you know what’s even better than paying your bills on time? Paying twice a month.

Yes, that’s right. If you use almost your entire credit limit, it harms your credit score. Suppose, your limit is $2000, and you end up spending $1,800 because of unforeseen expenses. Even if you pay in full by the 15th of the month, it still involves maxing out a card.

The better option here is to make one payment just before the statement closing date and the second payment before the due date. While the first payment will most probably trim down the balance that the credit bureaus see, the second one makes sure you don’t have to pay late fees.

It may not be as quick as you want, but improving your credit score is completely possible with some discipline and effort. And in some cases, making your credit score good could turn out to be easier than shedding those extra inches!


Getting into debt and pulling out of it is not as easy as it seems. There are times when your credit score will have become very low and you have to map out plans to get the records straight.

If you have been looking for ways to improve your credit scores and get out of debt faster, we have put together some answers to recurrent questions about ways of improving credit. The answers have been divided into sections for easy read and location of answers.

Credit Score Improvement

The first point you have to look at in getting your credit improved is having a good credit score. Most of the time, some debtors have bad credit and are always at a loss on how to improve this. In this section, you will find out ways you can improve your credit score.

How can you raise your credit score?
Paying off debts quickly and keeping low balances on your credit cards are ways you can raise your credit score.
How do you get your credit rating up?
Pay off debts on time and also make sure you close unused credit and debit cards.
How can I raise my credit score in 30 days?

How to raise credit score in 30 days: Negotiate with your creditor over your late payments. Credit scores can also be raised in 30 days by paying off debts on time.

How to maintain and improve credit score?
Do not apply for new credits but pay off delinquent debts promptly. Keeping low credit card balances also improves credit card scores.
How can I quickly raise my credit score?
Credit scores can be quickly raised by paying bills on time and cutting down expenses.
How do I get my credit score to go up?
Pay off revolving (credit card) debts quickly and make sure balances on your credit card accounts are kept low because having outstanding debts on these accounts negatively affect the credit score.
What increases your credit score?
Low balances on credit cards and timely payments on debts are some of the things that trigger an increase in credit scores. It is also important to pay off debts than settling them.
How can I raise my credit score without a credit card?
You can become an authorized user on another cardholder’s credit card. If his credit score is impressive, yours will be raised faster.
How can students improve their credit score?
By becoming authorized users on parents' credit card account and paying their debts on time.
How do I raise my credit score?
Cut off unnecessarily expenses that will increase your debt. Rather, look for ways to pay off current debt on time.
How to increase credit score fast to buy a house?
If you have a bad credit, start paying off outstanding debts to increase your credit score. Also, consider paying off balances or become authorized user on a cardholder’s account.
How to improve credit score with credit card?
Pay your debts in full and on time too. This helps you avoid recurring interest rates if the debt is left for long.
How to improve a 535 credit score?
A 535 credit score is considered poor credit and has to be improved. You can start the improvement by getting a secured credit card. Keeping low balances on credit cards also help because low balances attract high credit scores.
How to improve credit score with charge offs?
After a charge off, credit scores can be improved when payments are made to other accounts. Prompt payments on other accounts that have not been charged off improve credit scores but when such payments are delayed, the credit score starts making for the lowers.
Does getting a credit card improve my credit score?
A credit card improves credit scores when low utilization rates are maintained on it. There are other options for improving credit scores with credit cards, such as increase the credit limit or maxing out the card.
How to improve my credit score for a mortgage?
Pay off debts from your credit card and bury delinquent payments by paying up on time. Open disputes if inaccurate information was entered on your report.

Credit Improvement Timeframe

After you must have found out better ways to increase your credit score, there is also a need to determine the length of the process. Some credit improvements might take years and it is better you find the duration of improving your credit.

How long does it take to build your credit?
Credits can be built within months if you’re consistent in paying off debts.
How many years to improve credit score?
Credit scores might take seven to ten years to improve. Yours can be improved before this time if you are committed to paying off debts on time. The numbers of years it will take to improve credit scores depend on how much you owe and how much you have paid off.
How long to improve credit score after bankruptcy?
A credit score will continue to remain low throughout the bankruptcy. It usually takes ten (10) years to remove bankruptcy from a credit score before it can be improved.
How to increase credit score 100 points in 6 months
Check your credit report and determine how much you owe. Then set up repayment plans and follow them judiciously. It is also important that you request an increase in your line of credit and pay more than the minimum amount to clear the debt faster.
How long does it take to increase credit score?
The duration of increasing credit scores is dependent on the score and the type of debt. For instance, bankruptcy takes ten (10) years, foreclosure takes seven (7) years and late mortgage payments normally stay on the credit report for seven (7) years. Credit scores can only be increased when payments are made on time and in full.
How to increase your credit score in 2 months?
Find out the standing of your credit score and report errors (if any). After this, start paying off debts on time and in full to avoid recurring interests. Also, avoid opening new accounts and don’t use more than 30% of your credit limit.
How to improve credit score in 3 months?
Find out your credit score and sign up with a credit monitoring service to watch your credit score for you. Take note of positive changes in your credit score and make sure you pay up bills on time. Consider taking fewer loans and when these are done without interruption, your credit score will be improved within 3 months.
How long does it take to rebuild your credit history?
Rebuilding your credit score depends on your commitment to paying off your bills. It might take months or years, it all depends on your effort.

Alternatives to Credit Improvement

If you are not pleased with the previous means of improving credit, there are other ways around to it. In this section, you will learn how to improve your credit scores by using common alternatives.

Can you get a collection removed from your credit report?
You can get a collection removed from your credit report by paying for delete – paying the collector to remove the collection from your credit report.
How can I raise my credit score by paying off my credit card?
Pay off debts and maintain low balances on credit cards.
Is it better to pay off a credit card or make payments?
It is better to pay off credit cards. Leaving off balances for some time increases the interest rate and might affect your credit score.
How to improve credit score fast?
Start paying off balances with high utilization before others. You can also make micropayments to keep balances low while you pay up later.
Will paying collections increase credit score?
Debts that have become collections cannot improve credit scores even after they are paid.
How to increase credit score quickly?
When debts are paid on time, the credit score will be increased quickly. credit scores can also be raised by increasing the credit limit or becoming an authorized user on another cardholder’s credit card.
How to improve credit score immediately
Negotiate outstanding balances with your creditor or increase your credit limit.
How to increase your credit score by 100 points?
Begin a debt reduction plan to reduce your expenses. Avoid closing old accounts and pay off outstanding debts.
How much will paying off credit cards improve your score?
Credit scores are improved if cards are maxed out. The increase is also dependent on the credit to the ratio of your debt.
How to improve a 500 credit score?
To move a 500 credit score up, get a line of credit and always pay off your debts on time. Keeping a low utilization rate will also help.
How can I fix my credit?

One of the first things to do when wondering how to fix your credit is to find out your credit score and start paying off debts on accounts with high credit utilization.

Can paying off rent improve credit score?
Paying off rents improves credit scores. Renters start off their credit history without taking loans and getting into debts. When rents are also paid on time, the credit score is improved and credit grantors will be able to issue loans to renters with good credit scores.
Does renting improve your credit score?
Renting positively improves credit scores when you (the renter) make on-time payments on your rent.
Does increasing your credit limit improve your credit score?
Increasing your credit limit improves your credit score because it helps in regulation of utilization rate. Increased credit limit also helps in regulating the percentage of credits to be used on credit cards.
How to improve my credit score from good to excellent?
You can start off by paying off old and revolving debts. When you maintain low balances on your credit card for some time, your credit score will definitely move from good to excellent.
How to increase credit score by 60 points?
Increasing credit score 60 points is quite easy if you have bad credit. Find out how bad your credit score is and schedule a repayment plan. When paying off the debt, pay in full and on time.
Does canceling a credit card improve my credit score?
Closing your credit card will improve your credit score if you have zero balance on the account. It is better to cancel a credit card if it is no longer in use. But before then, pay off all debts before closing the card.
Will consolidating my student loans improve my credit score?
Consolidating your student loans will improve your credit score if you were able to pay off debts on time. When you consolidate high-interest rate student loans, it will help you reduce your interest rates and improve your credit score.
Will settling debt improve credit score?
Debt settlement hurts credit scores if you are settling multiple credit card accounts. Debt settlement does not improve credit scores and paying off outstanding dents hurt your credit score instead of improving it.
How to improve Experian credit score?
Experian credit scores can be improved by paying off debts on time. Avoid opening multiple credit card accounts and keep balances on existing accounts low.
Does a secured credit card improve credit score?
Secured credit cards help in credit score improvement because the security deposit you submitted when it was opened helps in regulating your credit limit.
Does being an authorized user improve credit score?
Becoming an authorized user improves your credit score because you won’t be responsible for paying off debts. You, however, need to make sure the cardholder’s account is in good shape.
Will paying off accounts in collection improve my credit scores?
Paying off accounts that have been passed off for collections don’t improve credit scores.
Does closing a credit card improve credit score?
Your credit score will improve after closing a credit card if you have low credit limits on the card. Before closing your credit card, pay off balances on the card.
Will paying off auto loan increase credit score?
Paying off auto loan increases credit scores because you will have less obligation to fulfill to the lender. Your utilization ratio will be increased when auto loans are paid off and this is why your credit score will be increased when auto loans are paid off.
Will paying off a delinquent increase your credit score?
Yes. Your delinquents can increase your credit score when they are paid on time. You must also note that you are trying to return your debt to its normal status. Even though late payments will still linger while on-time payment of delinquent will increase your credit score.
Will paying off credit card balance improve credit score?
Your credit score will improve if you pay off credit card balance and the interests on time.
How to improve your credit score after a foreclosure?
Your credit score will be improved after a foreclosure if you pay off other bills in full and on time. Get a credit card but make sure you adjust your spending habit to avoid getting into more debts.
How to improve credit score with no credit history?
If you don’t have a credit score yet, you can start off from somewhere. Apply for a secured credit card or become an authorized user on some other person’s credit card. There is also the option of taking a student loan.
Will paying off medical bills improve my credit score?
Medical bills can improve your credit score if paid on time. Most people miss medical bill payments leading to increased debt. Medical bills can only be paid off to improve your credit score if they have not been handed over to collections.
How to improve my poor credit score?
Fix late payments by paying them off in full. Always keep revolving credit low and leave some old debt on your report. Old accounts should not be totally wiped off but left on the report – wiping them off might hurt your credit score.
How can a negative credit score be improved?
A negative credit score can be improved by applying for pay for delete. Pay for delete is a service that allows debtors to pay up their debt and have negative information removed from their credit score.
How to improve my credit score myself?
Pay off delinquent payments and collections and maintain low balances on your credit card. You can also improve your credit score by yourself by paying off revolving debts or keeping their balances low.
Does paying off bad debt increase credit score?
Bad debts might not increase your credit score if they have been passed off as collections. Generally, a bad debt that is not paid on time and in full jeopardizes increase of your credit score.
Should I close credit cards to improve credit score?
Closing credit cards with high credit limit will not improve your credit score. It is better to close credit cards with zero balance and lower credit limits.
Can filing bankruptcy improve credit score?
When bankruptcy stays on the credit score for long, the score is negatively affected and might be moved to collections. Though bankruptcy does not leave the credit report until ten years, it can be filed. Filing bankruptcy improves credit score because it will be taken off the credit score sooner.
Does requesting a credit card limit increase hurt your score?
There are times when a limit increase on your credit card can hurt your score. These increased limits trigger off more expenses and might send you into more debts.

How Good is Your Credit Score

When getting a loan, your credit score plays vital – from there, the creditor will find out if you can pay back the loan. There are bad and good credits and the latter normally demand credit improvement.

Is 600 a bad credit score?
credit score of 600 is considered poor and you might not get fordable service. For instance, you will be charged high interest rates on loans.
Is 650 a good credit score?
650 is a good credit score because credit score because credit scores below 630 are considered bad credit.
Is 700 a bad credit score?
No. 700 is considered a good credit score.
Is 600 a good credit score to buy a house?
You can buy a house with a 600 credit score. Because it's the average score when buying a house, it can be considered a good credit score for house loans.

Sean Michaels

Sean brings a decade worth of experience in credit repair to our company. Sean started his career working in an accounting department for a major credit card company. This was a natural fit, given his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accounting.