How Do I Raise My Credit Score After Late Payments?

Think before you swipe that credit card.

Think before you swipe that credit card.

If you've applied for a car loan, mortgage or credit card, you probably have found out how important a high credit score is. A gleaming credit report will score you the best interest rates, resulting in lower monthly payments as well as ensure you are a top pick for landlords or mortgage providers. If you've fallen behind on payments, there are still ways to bounce back and polish up your credit report and raise your score.

Make all your payments on time going forward. You can't change your history, but you can take control of financial future. "Forbes" magazine says that one delinquent payment can lower your score by 100 points. The longer you stay current on your payments, the higher your credit score will go.

Pay down your credit cards. Just as having a high balance can lower your score, a low level of debt that is manageable can help your score.

Manage your number of credit cards. Don't open unnecessary new credit cards since that can lower your score. However, opening a new line of credit and paying on time will help you.

Avoid closing several accounts. Even if you don't use them, you're better off keeping them open with no debt.

Avoid any account going to a collection agency. This will stay on your credit report for a long time and flag you as a risk to lenders.

Time your payments correctly. Before applying for any other account or situation where your credit matters, pay down your debts. "Forbes" magazine recommends waiting one cycle before using your credit card again. Just prior to having your credit run, use the card for a small purchase. This illustrates you can use credit responsibly.


  • Credit cards can be a tricky thing. A longer established credit history helps your score. Ideally, you want a handful of responsible lines of credit that have been open for some time and have manageable balances that are current on payments.

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About the Author

Julia Forneris has been a writer and editor since 2002. Her work has appeared in economics magazines such as "Region Focus" and on various websites. The editor of Scratch That! Editorial, Forneris holds a Master of Arts in literature from Virginia Commonwealth University.

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