How do I Raise My Credit Score 200 Points?

by Joe Andrews, Demand Media

    Raising your credit score by 200 points is like refurbishing a home. You have to carefully separate the sound components of your credit from the flaws to create a new, high credit structure. It won’t be easy to raise your credit score, often called your FICO score, this far. Some credit flaws stay with you for seven years or longer. However, by diligently working to build and maintain good credit you can see a dramatic increase in a short time and a 200 point raise of your FICO score in possibly a matter of several months.

    Step 1

    Request your free credit report. You’re going to have to become intimate with the problems on your report if you hope to solve them. AnnualCreditReport.com is the only free credit report recommended by the U.S. government. You’ll need to give them your name, birth date, address and Social Security Number to request the free report. If possible, sign up for credit monitoring from one of the three credit bureaus or MyFico.com, the company that creates your credit score. Although this may cost you a few dollars, you’ll be able to more easily track your progress.

    Step 2

    Clean up mistakes on your credit report. You’ll probably be able to make your credit jump several points by scouring your credit report for inconsistencies. ABC News says that 90 percent of all credit reports have mistakes. Contact the creditor who incorrectly reported credit information and ask them to clean up the mistake on your credit report. If they can’t or won’t help, call Experian, Equifax and TransUnion to dispute any false information.

    Step 3

    Check your credit report to verify your credit limits are correct for each card you use. Because your FICO score improves as you have more free credit available, inaccurate credit limits can cost you a portion of the 300 points you’ll need. If any limit is incorrect, call the credit card company and ask them to fix the problem quickly.

    Step 4

    Rotate your credit card use. Stagnant credit scores don’t help you build credit as much as active cards do. By using several different cards you’ll be able to show that you’re credit-worthy. Don’t apply for new debt or close cards. Both of these actions reduce your credit score over the short-term.

    Step 5

    Build a spending plan to make payments on-time. If you’re having trouble making a payment on time call the lender to negotiate a payment plan. Thirty percent of your FICO score is timely payments, so having any lender report that you’re late could cost you dearly. Make a budget and keep track of due dates for payments on a calendar to ensure that every payment arrives on time.

    Step 6

    Pay debt down by paying more than the minimum required. Because your available credit amount impacts your FICO score, work toward lowering all of your credit card and revolving credit loan balance to help you raise your credit score by 300 points. If you’re conflicted about which card to over-pay first, begin with those loans that are closest to the credit limit to make a bigger impact on your FICO score.

    Resources

    About the Author

    As a former financial advisor to companies and individuals for 16 years, Joe Andrews knows financial planning and marketing from start-ups to personal budgets. He also writes on motor racing, board games and travel. Andrews received his B.A. from Michigan State University in English. He is currently working on a young adult novel.