If you don’t have as high of a credit score as you would like to, there are several things you can do to increase it. Depending on the reasons it is low, you might be able to increase it by several points pretty quickly.
Make Payments on Time
No matter what strategy you use to increase credit, you won’t see much success if you always make late payments. If you do have late payments, they can be on your report for many years. One area to pay close attention to is your debt repayments, like student loans. If they are starting to feel unmanageable, you may look into a student loan refinance. It ensures you have a payoff plan, making it easier to make your payments on time.
If a payment is more than a month late, you will want to contact the company as soon as possible so you can make a plan to take care of it. You might ask if they would consider not reporting this to the credit agencies. Still, even if they won’t do this for you, getting up to date on your accounts as soon as possible is worthwhile. The longer you are delinquent, the more your score will go down.
Consider Adding to the Mix
Getting another credit account can boost your overall score, especially for something you do not currently have. If you only have cards, you may want to look into a loan instead. It can be inexpensive to get a loan to boost your score, as long as it will report to the three major bureaus. Of course, if you already have different types of debt, getting another account won’t be that helpful for you. Make sure you understand any fees you might be charged when going with one of these options.
Think Strategically When Making Payments
Your credit utilization refers to the part of your credit limits that you are using. You may want to use less than a third of the limit for each card. That means you don’t want to carry a high balance on any one card. Consider using less than 7 percent if you really want to see your score go up. It is best to have a low balance when it is reported to the major bureaus, since the current balance will be used for figuring out your score. If you have expensive hobbies or large bills you put on credit every month think about ways to eliminate that utilization or spread the costs around a bit.
You may want to ensure the balance is paid off before your billing cycle has ended. You can also make payments throughout the month to ensure the balance stays low. It is worthwhile to spend some time researching this, as your utilization is a huge factor when your score is calculated. Depending on your situation, you may want to put less on your cards, or you may want to pay with a debit card or cash more often. Often, the only thing taken into higher consideration than that is if you make on-time payments.
Ensure Utility and Rent is Factored In
Using rent-reporting services allows on-time rent payments to be reported to credit agencies. Not every score factors in rent like this. Still, if a creditor finds your records, the on-time rent payments will likely be there. Being consistent and on time can be helpful if you are looking to borrow money. There are also services that will connect on-time utility payments to your credit score. It is a fairly low time commitment to get started, and the amount of time it takes to work will depend on the service you go with.
Be an Authorized User
If you have a friend or family member with a good credit score, you might be able to get added as an authorized user on one of their cards if their limit is high enough. The account will be included with your own credit reports, and you will benefit from the positive history of the user. You don’t necessarily have to have the account number or use a card, but being connected in this way allows you to piggyback off of their higher score. It is best to find someone who reports back to all the major credit agencies, as this will give you the best effect. If you don’t have much credit, this can be a great way to build it up. Of course, you will want to be upfront with the account holder about expectations, but if you both agree how things will work out, it can be a good deal.