How to Improve Your Credit Score in 30 Days or Less

how to improve your credit score in 30 days

If your credit score isn’t where you need it to be, it can feel like it takes forever to build it back up.

Yes, it does take time to raise your credit score, but there are steps you can take now to start seeing immediate improvements.

Here are a few ways to raise your credit score in 30 days or less. They may not all be easy, but the payoff is worth it.

How to improve your credit score in 30 days

1. Never make a late payment

One of the best ways to improve your credit score is by avoiding any late payments.

Since your payment history is the most important factor in your score, keeping it in the clear will be helpful to you.

Whether it’s paying your cell phone bill, your utilities, or your credit cards off each month, make sure your payment is on time, every time.

2. Decrease your credit utilization

Credit utilization refers to the ratio of your balances to your limits. It’s the amount of money you owe on revolving debt (such as a credit card) compared to the credit limit available to you.

Overall, your credit utilization ratio should be 30 percent or less. So if yours is currently higher than that, try and decrease it to improve your credit.

For instance, if you make a large payment on your credit card this month, you’ll improve your credit utilization. This, in turn, will improve your credit score.

3. Increase your credit limit

If you can’t reduce your balance low enough to hit a credit utilization ratio of 30 percent, there’s another way to improve your credit utilization: increase your credit limit.

After all, your limit is half of the ratio that makes up your credit utilization. You can increase your limits by calling your credit card issuer, then ask to apply for a credit limit increase.

Some credit cards even allow you to apply for a credit limit increase online. Often times you will know right after you apply if your credit limit increase is approved or not by the lender.

However, it’s important to keep your spending at the same level and not use that shiny new credit. If you increase your spending along with your available credit limit, you cancel out any credit utilization ratio benefits.

4. Get a balance transfer credit card or peer-to-peer loan

If credit card debt is weighing down your finances and your credit score, consider applying for a balance transfer credit card or a peer-to-peer loan.

You can use both of these to pay off your credit card (or cards). They usually come with a much lower interest rate, which means you can get out of debt faster.

Still, if you need to raise your credit score in 30 days, only apply if you think you have a chance at approval. That’s because another factor in your score – new credit – will take a hit when you apply.

The hit is worth it, though, if you’re approved. You’ll now have improved credit utilization, which is worth far more of your score.

If you receive approval for a balance transfer credit card, keep these two things in mind:

  1. Pay more than the minimum. Divide your balance by the number of months you get at no interest. That should be your new minimum to ensure payoff before the promotional rate expires.
  2. Don’t close your old credit card. That could result in a drop in your score. Keep it open and only use it if you can pay off the balance every month.

5. Use your old cards so they’re not closed

Speaking of not closing old cards, another tool to raise your credit score in 30 days is to make sure your cards aren’t closed due to inactivity.

The length of your credit history is the third most important factor in your credit score. Lenders want to see you’ve had positive, long-standing relationships with other lenders. That’s why this portion matters so much.

If you’re afraid using old cards will lead you to debt, use them only for small purchases. Then, pay them off the minute you get home. That way you can show the transaction history without accruing interest.

6. Get a secured credit card

If you have bad credit and want to increase your debt limits to improve your score, get a secured credit card.

A secured credit card does require a security deposit upfront. However, you’ll get it back if you close or upgrade the card. Plus, many credit card issuers review their secured cards every six months or so to see if they’re ready for an upgrade.

If your credit is in really bad shape, secured cards are a fairly easy way to rebuild it – assuming you have some cash to put down for the security deposit and you pay your balances off every month.

Avoid pay for delete and late payment adjustments

While compiling this list on how to improve your credit score in 30 days, I found some suggestions that, while interesting, are less than reputable.

Pay for delete and late payment adjustments are two credit cleanup methods where borrowers ask debt collectors to report information that’s not entirely true to the credit reporting bureaus.

According to Experian, pay for delete is when a borrower “offers to pay the debt they owe only if the creditor will remove the negative account history from their credit report.”

Late payment adjustments – also known as goodwill letters – are letters written by borrowers to lenders asking them not to report late payments.

Both of these methods violate the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), which requires fair and accurate credit reporting.

According to the FCRA “unfair credit reporting methods undermine the public confidence which is essential to the continued functioning of the banking system.”

Accounts in collections and late payments stay on your credit report for seven years. If you pay off an account in collections, it should be reported as “paid collection.” If it’s not, ask your debt collectors to send a letter stating that the debt has been paid in full.

Even if your creditors follow through with pay for delete or late payment adjustments, there’s no guarantee it will occur in 30 days.

The road to good credit isn’t short

While a quick boost to your credit score is nice and sometimes necessary, don’t get stuck on what you can do in one month. Building and maintaining good credit is something you’ll work on for life.

Luckily, it’s not that hard to do. Just make sure you have the breathing room in your finances to make on-time payments. Also, avoid accruing balances that exceed 30 percent of your total limits. Keep following these best practices and you’ll master how to improve your credit score in 30 days in no time.

If your debt is holding you back from the credit score you want, here’s how you can make this year the year you get your debt under control.

Interested in a personal loan?

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LenderRates (APR)Loan Amount 
1 Includes AutoPay discount. Important Disclosures for SoFi.

SoFi Disclosures

  1. Terms and Conditions Apply: SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet SoFi’s underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. To qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. If approved, your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, years of experience, income and other factors. Rates and Terms are subject to change at anytime without notice and are subject to state restrictions. SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment or PAYE. Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Finance Lender Law License No. 6054612. SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp., NMLS # 1121636. (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org)
  2. Personal Loans: Fixed rates from 5.49% APR to 14.24% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 5.29% APR to 11.44% APR (with AutoPay). SoFi rate ranges are current as of December 1, 2017 and are subject to change without notice. Not all rates and amounts available in all states. See Personal Loan eligibility details. Not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, to qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including evaluation of your credit worthiness, years of professional experience, income and other factors. Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at 14.95%. Lowest variable rate of 5.29% APR assumes current 1-month LIBOR rate of 1.34% plus 4.20% margin minus 0.25% AutoPay discount. For the SoFi variable rate loan, the 1-month LIBOR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. APRs for variable rate loans may increase after origination if the LIBOR index increases. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account.

2 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.

Citizens Bank Disclosures

  1. Personal Loan Rate Disclosure: Variable rate, based on the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) published in The Wall Street Journal on the twenty-fifth day, or the next business day, of the preceding calendar month. As of August 1, 2017, the one-month LIBOR rate is 1.23%. Variable interest rates range from 6.02% – 15.97% (6.02% – 15.97% APR) and will fluctuate over the term of your loan with changes in the LIBOR rate, and will vary based on applicable terms and presence of a co-applicant. Fixed interest rates range from 5.99% – 16.24% (5.99% – 16.24% APR) based on applicable terms and presence of a co-applicant. Lowest rates shown are for eligible applicants, require a 3-year repayment term, and include our Loyalty and Automatic Payment discounts of 0.25 percentage points each, as outlined in the Loyalty Discount and Automatic Payment Discount disclosures. Subject to additional terms and conditions, and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change.
  2. Loyalty Discount: The borrower will be eligible for a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their loan if the borrower has a qualifying account in existence with Citizens Bank at the time the borrower has submitted a completed application authorizing us to review their credit request for the loan. The following are qualifying accounts: any checking account, savings account, money market account, certificate of deposit, automobile loan, home equity loan, home equity line of credit, mortgage, credit card account, student loans or other personal loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. Please note, Citizens Bank checking and savings account options are only available in the following states: CT, DE, MA, MI, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI and VT. This discount will be reflected in the interest rate and Annual Percentage Rate (APR) disclosed in the Truth-In-Lending Disclosure that will be provided to the borrower once the loan is approved. Limit of one Loyalty Discount per loan, and discount will not be applied to prior loans. The Loyalty Discount will remain in effect for the life of the loan.
  3. Automatic Payment Benefit: Borrowers will be eligible to receive a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their student loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. during such time as payments are required to be made and our loan servicer is authorized to automatically deduct payments each month from any bank account the borrower designates. Discount is not available when payments are not due, such as during forbearance. If our loan servicer is unable to successfully withdraw the automatic deductions from the designated account three or more times within any 12-month period, the borrower will no longer be eligible for this discount.
7.39% - 29.99%$1,000 - $50,000Visit Upstart
5.29% - 14.24%1$5,000 - $100,000Visit SoFi
8.00% - 25.00%$5,000 - $35,000Visit Payoff
5.99% - 16.24%2$5,000 - $50,000Visit Citizens
5.99% - 35.89%$1,000 - $40,000Visit LendingClub
5.25% - 14.24%$2,000 - $50,000Visit Earnest
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