A low credit score can be a hindrance on your financial life, but it doesn't have to stay that way. There are a number of steps you can take to boost your score, sometimes within 30 days. The method that is best for you will depend on your personal circumstances and your credit history.
Pay a Big Chunk
If you have the cash on hand, or if you recently received a large sum of money like a bonus from work, use the money to make a big payment toward your outstanding credit card balance. Not only will this lower your monthly payments, your credit score will also increase due to the fact that the ratio of used credit to available credit will also improve.
Find a Friend
If you have a trusted friend or relative who has good credit and a credit card for several years, see if she is willing to add you to the card as an authorized user. The good news for you-- and the card holder -- is that you don't even have to use the card to benefit. Your credit can make a dramatic immediate jump through your association with an individual who has "old" credit.
Check Your Credit Report
Removing incorrect or outdated information from your credit reports can also lead to a dramatic credit score increase. Check for things like incorrect credit limits listed for your credit cards or accounts that never existed and have been reported in error. Also check to be sure that things like late payments or defaults more than seven years old or a bankruptcy older than 10 years are not listed, as this would exceed the statute of limitations for these events. Be sure to order your credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus, TransUnion.com, Equifax.com and Experian.com.
Use an Old Card
If you have an old credit card that has been collecting dust bunnies in a drawer, break it out and use it to make a small purchase that you can easily repay at the end of the month. An unused credit card will lose its positive impact on your credit score over time, and using it again will help re-establish your "old" credit and strengthen your score.
Chris Joseph writes for websites and online publications, covering business and technology. He holds a Bachelor of Science in marketing from York College of Pennsylvania.