Having a great credit score is more important than ever. You not only need a clean score to secure low-rate credit cards or bank loans, some employers now use credit scores to differentiate job applicants. The most-used credit score is called a FICO score; it is available through the three credit agencies -- Experian, Transunion and Equifax. When you want to raise your score 30 points there are only a few basics you’ll need to remember.
Request your free credit report. To raise your credit score, you need to know what it is. The only free credit report authorized by the U.S. Government is found at the AnnualCreditReport.com website (see Resources). You’ll need your name, address, Social Security number and birth date to request your report.
Clear up any inconsistencies. Often you can raise your score by 25 points or more by finding and fixing typos in the credit report. ABC News reports that 90 percent of all credit reports are incorrect, so there’s a good chance you’ll find information that’s holding you back. Call the company who incorrectly reported information to see how to clear up the inconsistency. If that doesn’t work, contact the credit bureau to dispute the information.
Check your credit limit. While you have your credit report in front of you, verify that your credit limits are correct. Because your FICO score weighs the amount of free credit you have available, an incorrect credit limit could cost you the 30 points for which you’re looking. If you find an incorrect limit, call the debt issuer. They should respond quickly and your credit score could jump.
Pay down debt. Closing credit cards actually lowers your credit score, so if you want to raise it by 30 points, pay down cards, but don’t eliminate the credit. Rotate your credit card usage so each month they’ll report positive activity instead of stagnation. Piling up more debt hurts your score so only charge an amount you can afford to pay off in the same month.
Pay bills on time. Fully one-third of your FICO score revolves around timely payments, so make sure that you don’t miss any payments. Dispute any credit card payments that are only a day or two late. If you aren’t a frequent offender, there’s a fair chance they may show your payment as on-time and waive late fees.
Pay more than the minimum. The amount of free credit you have available affects your credit score, so paying down your revolving credit accounts, such as credit cards, can help you quickly raise your credit score 25 points or more. If you aren’t sure which card to pay more to first, start with those closest to the credit limit to most impact your credit score.