You don't like waiting in line at the supermarket. You get annoyed in fast food drive-thrus. It follows somewhat naturally that you expect an ultra-quick fix for your credit score. Whether you have a good or bad score and regardless of whose fault it is that your score is not as high as it could be, you'll need to be patient. There are no smoke-and-mirrors schemes to increase a credit score. You can, however, take action to get it headed in the right direction ASAP.
Get a copy of your credit report and score. You need to know where you stand before you make moves. You can get a free copy of your report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies—TransUnion, Equifax and Experian—once per year at the Annual Credit Report website (see Resources). As for your credit score, you can purchase it after seeing your free report.
Correct mistakes on your report. If it contains inaccurate information, especially items that suggest identity theft, contact the proper credit reporting bureau to get it fixed. When you get your report, there will be prompts that guide you through the process you need to follow to get presumed mistakes checked and fixed. Cheryl Allebrand of Bankrate contends that achieving accuracy on your credit report is the fastest way to raise your score.
Pay your bills on time. While specifics vary based on your personal credit profile, the Fair Isaac Corporation's FICO credit score simulator estimates that if a person with a 707 FICO score pays her bills on time, she could see her score move as high as 727 in just a month.
Chip away at balances. Paying down debt is one of the best ways to see credit score improvements. According to the MyFico website, decreasing the amount of revolving debt, such as credit card balances, you carry is the quickest way to bump up your score.
Be prudent about closing accounts. A strong credit utilization rate helps keep your score up. If you keep the same balance, but close accounts, your ratio of debt relative to your overall credit limit between accounts goes up. This can actually lower your credit score.
- Don't fall for too-good-to-be-true credit repair and credit score boosting schemes. Most firms that promise to improve your credit overpromise and often cause greater harm. You can typically achieve results on your own by responsibly managing your own credit.
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