Finding out your credit score isn’t high enough to qualify for something that you need to purchase is like getting punched in the stomach; it knocks all the wind out of you.
But what if I told you:
That you can make significant changes to your sore in as little as 30 days and a massive difference within 90 days.
In this post, I will show you how much you can increase your score over the next 90 days and go over some of the basic tactics that will help you reach your purchasing goals.
The First 30 Days
Just like cooking, increasing your credit score is going to take preparation, and that is going to be the foundation of how your credit continues to grow.
Obtaining Your Reports
It is imperative that you first get all 3 credit reports from each credit reporting agency because all 3 of your reports will be different.
Some items might not make it to all three of your reports, this is also why you usually will have 3 completely different scores.
While there are several options to obtain your score for free, my recommendation is to purchase your report from Myfico.
This is because almost all lenders, over 90% of them, use your Fico Score to determine if they will issue you some form of credit.
You will be able to see all your reports and scores with Myfico
Be One With The Disputes
Once you have a copy of your report you need to dispute anything inaccurate; If it looks incorrect, just dispute it.
You should also be on the lookout for things like old mailing addresses, misspelling of your name, old our outdated phone numbers and places of employment where you no longer work.
All of these things can have a direct influence on your score, so it is best to update or dispute these items quickly.
You then need to dispute things like collection accounts, late payments, accounts showing the wrong balance due and also any accounts that you didn’t remember opening.
When you dispute items on your credit report you will see a drop in your credit score.
Don't Be Alarmed, it will correct itself once the dispute is complete.
Validate Your Collection Accounts
I personally can’t stand collections, the idea that someone can purchase your debt from someone else and start coming after you like a vulture is aggravating.
While you should dispute any collection account that isn’t accurate, that won’t always fix the issue.
If the collection company responds to the dispute saying that you indeed owe them money, the credit reporting agencies probably won’t remove it from your credit.
What you need is to make them Validate that you owe the money.
Can they prove that they are licensed and that you signed something stating you owe them the money?
You need to send them something in writing requesting that they validate that you owe the debt within 30 days or they need to remove your account.
Pay Those Bills On Time
If you haven’t been doing this, then you need to get it together, there is nothing that will drop your score faster than not paying your bills on time.
A large percentage of your credit score is determined by how good of a payment history you have.
Even if you can only pay the minimums, avoid obtaining any additional late payments if you have them.
With simply paying your bills on time, checking your reports, disputing inaccurate information and accounts and getting collections removed from your report you will probably see anywhere between a 20 to 50 point increase.
Point Increase In First 30 Days
20 - 45 Points
Will 60 Days Make A Big Difference?
When it comes to credit, it is always best to think of it in 30-day increments. During the first 30 days, you started the cleaning process, and now you need to start adding good things to your credit.
Borrow Some Credit
One of the fastest and most effective ways to add a new, positive tradeline to your credit is by having someone add you as an authorized user.
This can be a brother, a sister, a parent a best friend, anyone good with paying their bills on time.
If you can get more than one added that is even better, just remember only to have someone add you if they are good with their credit.
Getting added as an authorized user puts a new tradeline on your credit with good payment history and doesn’t cost you an inquiry on your credit report.
It can take up to 30 days for the new tradeline to be added to your reports so the faster you get people to agree to add you, the better.
Obtain New Credit
Your next step needs to be obtaining some new credit. It is strongly recommended that you add more positive tradelines to your credit report.
There are a few products that will give you additional tradelines fast and for a minimal fee:
Fingerhut Merchandise Account
This type of account doesn’t cost you anything and is extremely easy to get approved for, and it doesn’t pull your credit when you apply.
Fingerhut also reports your tradeline to the 3 major credit reporting agencies. Even if you have bad credit or a short credit profile you can still obtain their Fresh Start Account.
Once you have been approved, you can start shopping with your line of credit on the fingerhut.com site.
Self Lender Credit Builder Loan
The Credit Builder Loan with Self Lender allows you to add a personal loan to your credit report for a small fee and monthly payments.
My account cost a $9.00 startup fee and I chose to pay off a loan of $525 over 2 years at $25.00 per month.
I don’t have access to the loan but as I make payments, the loan amount will decrease, and once I pay the loan off, all of the funds will be sent back to me.
During this time, Self Lender will report the payments to all 3 credit reporting agencies allowing me to build my credit for just $25.00 per month.
On top of that, this product will not pull your credit either, I think the small fee is worth it, and at the end of the term, you get all of your money back.
Secured Credit Cards
Last but not least, you should look into a secured credit card. These cards usually have a minimum amount you must put up as collateral like $200.00.
However, once you have funded the card, there are options to increase your credit or even add more funds to the card to manually raise your credit limit.
These cards usually come with some form of credit monitoring along with reporting to all of your credit reporting agencies.
Secured cards; however, will pull your credit and ding you for an inquiry, but it is well worth the inquiry if you are trying to build your credit.
The Candy Bar Method
Once you have obtained new credit, you need to be smart at how you manage it. My husband and I came up with the Candy Bar Method.
I will write a complete post about it soon, until then, in general, it is a method that you use to make sure you are able to use each of your credit cards every month and pay them off 100% in-full, by purchasing only candy bars.
If you time this right, the creditors will see that you are using credit and won’t mind increasing your limits. It will also make sure you always have on-time monthly payments.
When you use these methods above, it means you have added new trade lines and cleaned up your report, you can expect to see a 50 - 100 point increase within 60 days.
Point Increase In First 60 Days
50 - 100 Points
After 90 Days Where Will You Be?
One of the most important parts of building your credit and maintaining it is going to be Time. I know it sounds odd, but time is going to be a primary key.
How Old Are You?
The age of your credit accounts are essential, and the average age of your accounts is a substantial factor in ranking your overall credit score.
It is vital that you let your accounts age by not adding any new credit once you have added a few trade lines.
The newer the accounts on your credit, the lower your average age of accounts and the harder it is for your score to increase.
Thank You, Come Again!
On-time payments over time is another strong factor and the longer your report is showing on-time payments, the better.
You need to have a robust system to make sure you don’t miss any payments and to also make sure you don’t miss the cut off date for when your card will report.
Increasing your average age of accounts and allowing your on-time payments to increase will help your score tremendously.
Once your credit is on autopilot mode you need to have a reliable monitoring service, the worst thing you can do is build your credit up only for someone to ruin it because you aren’t monitoring it.
Credit Monitoring is an essential factor, it allows you to catch any new accounts or inquiries hitting your report that you didn’t authorize and can help you with preventing identity theft.
Now that we have cleaned up your credit, added positive tradelines, monitored your credit and given it time, your scores will probably see an increase anywhere from 100 to 160 points in 90 days.
Paying The Fees
There are tons of ways to make money that won't cost you anything, if you don't have the initial funds to invest in a secured card or a credit builder loan then finding a few side gigs can always help with increasing your annual income and making building your credit much easier.
Point Increase In First 90 Days
100 - 160 Points
Taking Action & Next Steps
Like most people, I didn't grow up in a home that provided me with a credit education, and we didn't learn about credit or how to be financially responsible in school.
Usually our first time learning about credit is when we are in a situation where we need it, but don't have it.
Now that you have the basics and understand what credit is, you should take our Free 90 Day Credit Sprint Challenge.
You have done the right thing and started to take responsibility for your financial future, there is no reason to stop here.
Now that you know how much you can build your score over just a short 90 day time period, it’s time to take action.
You don’t have to believe me at all, just take our Free 90 Day Credit Sprint Challenge.
We have had some participants increase their score over 140 points in less than 90 days just by following our system.
Take your buying power back and start on your goal to a more stable financial and credit future.
Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.