Since credit scores have become such a large part of our financial lives, it pays to keep track and understand how your decisions affect your score. You can build and take advantage of great credit regardless of your age or income. If your credit score is lower than you’d like, there may be a few quick ways to increase it. Here are some strategies to quickly improve or rebuild your credit score.
- Pay all of your bills on time
Payment history is the single largest factor that affects credit score, and late payments can stay on your credit report for years. If you do miss a payment by 30 days or more, call the creditor as soon as possible and arrange a way to pay up the debt. Every month an account is marked delinquent, it harms your score, although the impact of missed payments fade slowly over time. Showing good credit behavior after a misstep can help reverse the damage and improve your credit score faster.
- Make more frequent payments
If you can make small payments throughout the month, it can help you keep your balances low and improve credit. If you can keep your utilization low instead of letting it build up towards a payment due date, it should positively affect your score.
- Ask for higher credit limits
When your credit limit increases and your balance stays the same, it lowers your overall credit utilization, which can drastically improve your credit. Reach out to your card issuer and ask if you can get a higher limit without a hard credit inquiry, which could temporarily drop your credit score slightly.
- Dispute any credit report errors
An error on one of your credit reports could be affecting your score. Fixing it can help you quickly improve your credit. You are entitled to a free credit report every 12 months from each of the three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Check the report to ensure that there are no errors; If there are errors, dispute them.
- Keep Credit cards open
Closing a credit card means you lose the card’s credit limit when your overall credit utilization is calculated. It also means that your average length of credit history will decrease. A good rule of thumb is to keep the card open and use it at least twice a year so the issuer will not close it.