Credit scores can be tough waters to navigate. Most of us have heard of a credit score, and we know that the higher the number is, the better off we are. But when it comes to raising our credit scores, the task can seem insurmountable.
If you are wondering how to repair your credit score quickly, you are not alone. While credit scores vary significantly among different populations and demographics of people, the overall average credit score in the United States is 687. Most credit reporting companies have a scale ranging from 330 to 830. Therefore, a credit score of 687 would typically be rated as fair, but it’s still far from a very good score.
Even though low credit scores plague the nation, the great news is that with some time and effort, you will be able to improve your rating. It won’t miraculously happen overnight, but there are some tricks to expediting the process. Here’s how to build up your credit score in just a few weeks.
Dispute Negative Information
If you notice any erroneous, outdated, or unverifiable negative data on your credit file, you should always try to dispute it. If the negative information gets dropped from your Experian, Equifax, or TransUnion credit reports, it will only take a month to see a decent increase in your credit score.
If you dispute your score, the Fair Credit Reporting Act requires the credit bureau to indicate the dispute on the credit report. You may see the code “XB” on your credit report the month after filing your dispute. These accounts get treated differently since they are under investigation. So if you need a fast and legitimate way to boost your credit score, disputing negative information is the way to go. Disputed accounts are pretty much suppressed from your credit history for about 30 days while the bureau investigates the disputed. The disputed accounts will not be included for your FICO or Vantage Score.
Pay Your Bill Before It’s Due
Financial management is all about timing. Even if you are paying your credit cards in full every month, your credit score may be lower than it should be if you are paying your bills at the wrong time of the month—meaning the day your bill is due. Creditors only report the balances of your credit cards once a month to the bureaus. So, if your balance is being reported before the due date of your bill, you may appear to be a much riskier borrower than you are.
To raise your credit score quickly, pay the balances off (or as much as you can) long before they are due. If you do this, instead of the creditors reporting your due balance as shown on your statement each month, they will instead report only your reduced or $0 balance.
If you would like to know when each of your creditors reports your payments to the credit bureaus, you can either check your credit reports or call and ask. Often, it is on the day of, or right after the statement closing date.
Limit Your Credit Card Use
The first step to building better credit is knowing how much you owe on each of your cards, what the spending cap is, and how much of your allowable amount you are spending each month on each of your credit cards. If you are continually maxing out your credit cards, this could have a negative impact on your credit score. According to NerdWallet, while there is no maximum credit utilization ratio, using 30% or less of your available credit is a good rule of thumb.
Pay Off Your Credit Cards
About 30% of your credit score is based upon the amount of credit card debt you have. One of the most straightforward ways to boost your score is to eliminate your credit card debt or reduce your balances as much as possible. The more you can pay off, the better your score will be. You will typically see results as soon as one to two months after making the payment to your credit card company.
Try the “Piggybacking” Method
Piggybacking is a credit score hack most often used with romantic couples or in families, where one person takes advantage of the other person’s excellent credit history. It is common for the person with good credit to allow the person with poor credit to become an authorized user on their card.
Some parents also allow their college-age kids to do this. For example, if a parent adds their child as an authorized user to their credit account that has existed for 15 years, the child would probably get a score of 700 or higher within the first few months of having a credit card.
Use the Rapid Re-Scoring Hack
This ‘rapid re-scoring’ hack is only available to those in the market for a mortgage, but it’s a great way to try to get erroneous, negative, old data removed from your credit report. The goal with rapid re-scoring is to get the negative stuff taken off your report or to get current and beneficial data added to your credit reports.
First, you will need to apply for a mortgage from a lender of your choosing. During this application process, you gain the right to have any mistakes or inaccurate information showing on your credit reports cleared up as soon as possible. Your mortgage lender will reach out to the credit bureaus on your behalf and supply them with documentation that shows that your credit report should be updated immediately.
Your lender will ask the credit bureaus to refresh your credit reports to show the most recent data available to your account(s). You will receive a newly updated credit report and a typically higher credit score. This hack often works in 48 hours. However, a lender is the only one that can initiate the process.
Add Rental Information to Your Credit Files
Renters all over the nation have had their rental payment history added to their credit reports. This ‘non-traditional’ payment data can boost your score up to 20 points or more, assuming you have been paying your rent on time. After using this hack, you will see your score jump in about a month or less from the day your rental payment data hits your credit file.
To use this hack, your landlord has to verify your on-time rent payments, and a third party like RentReporter.com or RentTrack.com must then supply that verified information to the credit bureaus.
Swap Bad Debt for Good Debt
Bad debt is credit card debt, also sometimes referred to as revolving debt. This debt weighs your credit score down, and if you can eliminate it, your score will likely go up. If you do not have enough cash to pay off your card, you can still raise your credit score. All you need to do is exchange your bad debt for good installment debt. An installment debt is considered less risky to the credit-scoring world and will be more beneficial to your overall credit score.
For example, you can get a personal loan or peer-to-peer long to pay off your credit card bill, your bad debt will go away, and good debt will take its place. Your card will be paid off, and you will instead be making payments to a third party that does not so heavily impact your credit score. In about 30-60 days after swapping your credit debt for installment loans, you should see a jump in your credit score.
There are many reasons why one should begin the task of improving their credit score. Some of the more essential reasons include reducing security deposit cost, finding lower insurance rates, receiving higher credit limits, and ending debt collector harassment.
Contrary to what many believe, improving your credit does not take years, and it is not overly challenging. All it takes a little bit of patience and planning, and you will be on your way to a higher credit score.
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