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:
- 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.
- 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.
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