It's always better to have a high credit score, and raising your score can greatly help you when you are applying for a mortgage, new credit card or any other type of loan. However, raising your score by a specific number, such as 100 points, is not a challenge with one simple solution that applies to everyone. Your ability to raise your score depends on a number of factors, and how long it takes for anyone to raise a credit score by 100 points differs from person to person.
Your credit score represents how good or bad a borrower you have been in the past. Companies that calculate credit scores use factors such as your payment history, the amount of money you owe, how long you have had your individual debts and other information to determine how reliable a borrower you are. Credit scores range from 300 to 850, and the higher your score is, the harder it is to increase it. However, if you have a relatively low score, you can often increase it quickly by engaging in responsible borrower activity, such as by paying all your bills on time each month.
Variable Increases and Decreases
The size of any increase and the impact that any action you take has on your score differs depending on what your current score is and what information appears on your credit report. Because you cannot know how an individual company calculates your score, the best you can do is behave like a responsible borrower. If you have a low credit score, such as a score of 500 or lower, and start behaving like a responsible borrower, you can often see relatively quick increases in your score. The longer you act like a responsible borrower, the more your score will rise. Depending on your circumstances, a 100-point increase could take a few months, a year or longer.
The different companies that calculate and provide credit scores use a variety of calculation methods and strategies. Depending on what your score is and what kind of actions you take, you may be able to achieve a 100-point increase in a relatively short amount of time. For example, if you went through a personal bankruptcy seven years ago and that information will soon disappear from your credit report, maintaining regular payments and not opening too many accounts can result in a sudden large increase in your score. On the other hand, if you fail to pay your bills back on time and take on increasingly more debt, you can see a score decrease in a relatively short amount time.
In addition to raising your credit worthiness by acting like a responsible borrower, you may be able to achieve a 100-point gain in your credit score by taking the time to review your individual credit reports. There are three companies that maintain individual consumer credit reports: Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. Under federal law, you have the right to inspect each of these reports every year for free. Carefully review your credit reports every year, keeping an especially close eye out for mistakes, such as late payments that you made on time. If you notice a mistake and ask the credit-reporting agency to correct it, a simple correction and removal of negative history information can result in an almost immediate increase in your credit score.
Roger Thorne is an attorney who began freelance writing in 2003. He has written for publications ranging from "MotorHome" magazine to "Cruising World." Thorne specializes in writing for law firms, Web sites, and professionals. He has a Juris Doctor from the University of Kansas.