Did you know that even if you never missed a payment your credit score may still be below 650? Why? Credit models do not only look at your timely payments when they calculate your credit score. They look at many factors. So listen up for a few simple tricks on what can be done to improve your credit score fast.
As my readers already know, credit utilization (how much of your credit line you spend) is a biggy when it comes to credit. If you have high balances your credit score will be low! High utilization will be anything above 15% of your credit line. (Example: If your credit line is $10,000 make sure your balance is below $1,500.)
So the number one step you should take to improve your score should be to review your credit report. (You can order a free copy once a year by annualcreditreport.com or, I would recommend setting up a account by creditkarma.com, to receive updates every 7 days.) Check through your accounts and balances and make sure they are all below the 15% mark. If they are, then good. If not, then you found your problem. Pay it off and wait till it gets reported as paid. (Usually it gets reported by the closing date of your credit card.) At that time, your credit should shoot up. (I saw it happening by more than 100 points!!)
What to Do if You Don’t Have the Funds
If you can’t afford to pay off the balance, then I’m going to give you another trick. If you have a business credit card, then you might want to consider transferring your balances to your business credit card. This will help you because most business credit cards don’t report the balances to the credit bureau (see a complete list here). So, by transferring your balances to a business credit card, you are actually removing the balance from your credit report.
If you don’t have a business credit card you may want to try to get approved for one. The Chase Ink Cash or the Amex Blue Cash Business are both good options because they have an introduction of a 0% Apr period on balance transfers, so you will be saving money on interest too.
Asking for a Credit Increase
Try to ask your bank for a credit increase. This may help you with your credit utilization and also with building better credit faster.
There are banks that will give you a credit increase without making a credit pull. Check out a list here.
A very important factor of how to have excellent credit is having a long credit history. Therefore, if your first credit card is less than a year old don’t expect your credit to be too high. Moreover, if you have an old credit card but did not use it in the past few months, FICO will look at it as an inactive account and not count it as a positive account. If that is your case, then just start using the credit card again and once it gets reported as used, your score will go back up. If you have old accounts that you closed, then you might want to call the bank to ask if they can reopen the closed accounts.
Piggybacking Credit (Authorized User)
A common and quick way to boost your credit score fast, is by adding yourself as an authorized user to someone else’s account. Obviously, make sure that account is an old account and has a good payment history. Once that account reports, you should see your score go up a lot.
For more on piggybacking, see the post on Getting Approved For A First Credit Card.
Checking your Credit Report
Of course, you also want to check your credit report to make sure there are no negative errors found on your credit report. If you do find any, you may want to have a professional lawyer dispute it for you, since it can be very difficult, tedious, and time consuming to do it on your own. I am warning you that it may be expensive, but your credit is worth more!
Did any of these tricks help you improve your credit? Please comment below and let our other readers know.