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How To Improve Your Credit Score Quickly
By Mark B. Huntley, Esq.
Last Updated 9/12/19
Summary: Improve your credit score quickly by focusing on increasing your payment history percentage and lowering your credit utilization ratio.
I’m going to tell you how to improve your credit score quickly whether you’re intent is to get a better interest rate on an upcoming loan or to qualify for new credit.
I raised my credit score 184 points in 6 months, with half of that gain coming in the first 45 days.
You can too!
If you understand the two most important factors affecting your credit score, you can leverage that knowledge to improve your credit score fast.
In this article, I am going to reveal the very tricks I used to improve my payment history percentage and credit utilization ratio for a huge credit score gain!
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Understanding Your Credit Score
To quickly raise your credit score, you will need to focus on improving your payment history and your credit utilization ratio.
The reason they are the two most important credit score categories is because they collectively account for 65% of your FICO score.
Focusing on improving these two areas will make the biggest impact on your score.
What Is Payment History?
The payment history category represents 35% of your FICO credit score and tracks whether you pay your bills on time or 30+ days late.
If you have late payments in your credit file, then your credit score is being negatively affected by these records.
There are only three guarantees in life; death, taxes, and late payments will ruin your credit score.
Negative credit records can stay in your file for up to 7 years.
Recent late payments are weighted more against your credit score than older missed bills.
MyFICO reports that people with credit scores over 800 generally have zero late payments in their credit records.
Luckily, there are a few things you can do to have negative records deleted.
You can also take steps to dilute late payments to increase your payment percentage.
What Is Credit Utilization Ratio?
The second-largest factor affecting your credit score is your credit utilization ratio.
According to FICO, your utilization ratio, sometimes also referred to as Accounts Owed, is responsible for 30% of your credit score.
The ratio is between your total available revolving credit (think credit cards) and the total amount that you have charged to these accounts (the amount you owe).
For instance, if I have three credit cards with credit limits of $1,000, $750, & $250, then you have a total revolving loan credit limit of $2,000.
If I owe a total of $600 on those credit cards and I divide $600 by $2000, then I get a credit utilization ratio of 30%.
You will have a higher credit score the closer you keep your credit card balances to zero.
FICO says that its super credit score performers with scores over 800 average a credit utilization ratio of 7%.
Consequently, if you owe money on your credit cards and other revolving loans you can increase your credit score by lowering your credit utilization ratio.
This can be done by paying down your credit cards or increasing your total available revolving credit for free.
Your Credit History
Generally, people fall into one of two categories when discussing types of credit files.
People with no credit or limited credit start out with a ‘thin file’ which simply means you don’t have a lot of credit records in your file.
As you take on more tradelines your credit file will grow and become a ‘thick file’.
I think it is important to understand the distinctions because I had tremendous success quickly improving my credit score even though I have a thick file.
People with thin credit files and good credit history can improve their score very quickly by adding a few authorized user tradelines.
Generally, it is more difficult to quickly increase the credit score of a thick file than a thin file.
This makes sense because thick files with bad credit scores can have multiple negative records that are dragging down their score.
Whereas, people with no credit or limited credit by definition can only have a couple of negative records which can more easily be offset or addressed.
I saw almost a 200 point gain in 6 months with a thick credit file.
Someone with a thin credit file could see a substantially larger gain in the same period of time.
How To Improve Your Credit Score Quickly
Now that we have the basics out of the way let’s discuss how to improve your credit score.
I mentioned that the two ways I increased my credit score fast were by focusing on my payment history and credit utilization ratio.
By focusing only on these two areas, you can see huge gains to your score in a matter of weeks.
How To Improve Your Payment History
My problem was that I had a lot of missed payments, with an on time payment history percentage of 70%.
To help improve that percentage, I diluted the negative payments history by adding positive payment history to my credit file.
I was able to accomplish this goal and increase my payment percentage up to 80% in less than 45 days by following these three strategies:
Borrowing a kidney is a term we use for people who are added to a family or friends credit card as an authorized user.
Purchasing authorized user tradelines is the route people take who really need to improve their credit score quickly because you get to pick your credit limits and length of history to add to your credit file.
These first two strategies are the same which requires you to be added as an authorized user to a credit card thus transferring the credit cards positive payment history into your credit file.
Back reporting rental payments requires you to sign up with a rent reporting company that can report up to 24 months of back rental payments to the big three credit agencies.
These strategies will also work for people with thin credit files by adding new tradelines and positive payment history to their credit file.
The goal of all three options are to add lengthy positive credit history to your credit file.
How To Decrease Your Credit Utilization Ratio
If you remember from the earlier explanation, your credit utilization ratio is the difference between your revolving credit limit and the amount you owe.
There are three effective ways to lower your credit utilization ratio:
- 1Pay off the amounts owed
- 2Request credit limit increases
- 3Add new revolving loans
Payoff Amounts Owed
The first way to lower your utilization ratio is to payoff or pay down existing revolving loans, like your credit cards and store cards such as Fingerhut.
To get the maximum credit score gain, you would need to pay down all of your revolving loans to the point that no more than 7% is owed.
Keep in mind that only paying down or off your revolving loans (think credit card type accounts) will help your credit score.
Paying off installment loans like a car or student loan will not significantly help your credit score.
This can be tough and could cost you a lot of savings, but there are two other ways to hit the target ratio that will cost you nothing.
Request Credit Limit Increases
This is my favorite credit building hack because it is free, quick, and easy.
All you have to do is log into your credit card accounts online and find the ‘Request credit limit increase’ link.
Fill out the relevant information and hit submit.
Within a few days, you will get word from your lender how much of an increase they have given you.
This is great for your utilization ratio because it automatically goes down when you increase the amount of revolving credit you have available.
Whether you pay off amounts owed on a credit card or increase the total amount of credit available, your utilization ratio will go down.
Add New Revolving Loans
Another way to quickly lower your ratio is to add new revolving credit to your credit file by applying for credit cards or store credit.
If you increase your total available revolving credit limit than you ratio of amounts owed will go down simply because you have more credit available.
If you don’t have the best of credit, consider adding additional credit from Fingerhut, they offer credit for purchases at their online store.
You are much more likely to qualify for secured credit cards and online store credit if you have a subprime credit score and are looking to add new revolving loans to your credit file.
The best part is they specialize in giving huge credit limits to people with no credit and bad credit.
When I applied for my Fingerhut account, I had a 575 credit score, and they gave me a $1,000 unsecured revolving loan.
Since signing up, they have given me three credit increases for $300 each for a total of $1,900.
Another great option is to apply for a new credit card, whether you have good credit or bad credit.
Depending on your credit score, you may not qualify for a traditional credit card and may need to start with a secured credit card.
In either case, adding one of these types of credit cards will decrease your utilization ratio because they increase your maximum amounts of revolving credit available to you.
Hopefully, you found this article on how to improve your credit score quickly informative.
You should be able to increase your credit score quickly now that you know the two most important factors that affect your credit score.
I increased my credit score almost 200 points in 6 months by purchasing tradelines from Tradeline Supply Company, having my rental payments back reported, and adding revolving loans like Fingerhut.
Improving your credit score quickly couldn’t be easier.
If you’d like to learn more ways to improve your credit score check out 55 ways to build your credit score.