Whether you’re looking for a new car, a home, or are simply looking to move into a new apartment, your credit score matters. Lenders use your credit score to set interest rates and decide if you’ll need a deposit, so having a poor credit score or no credit history can cost you a ton of cash.
But what do you do if you’re in a pinch? How could you improve your credit score in 30 days? While you won’t quickly turn bad credit into good, there are a few things you can do to boost your score in a short period.
Check Your FICO Credit Report for Mistakes
This is the easiest and quickest way to improve your credit score. You can get a free credit report from all three credit reporting bureaus, Transunion, Experian, and Equifax. Getting your score from all three agencies is critical because they all use different credit scoring models.
Once you have your free credit report, you can start checking for discrepancies. Look for things like the following. If you’ve identified any incorrect information, reach out immediately to ensure they correct the mistakes ASAP.
- Late payments
- Missed payments
- Any other negative information.
Not only is it good to go over your credit score regularly to ensure that there aren’t any mistakes, but it’s also advisable to keep an eye out for identity theft. If you notice new accounts — which you haven’t opened — or activity you don’t recognize, it’s time to alert the authorities.
Limiting Credit Utilization
Just because you have credit doesn’t mean that you need to use it. While it’s essential to have some credit history, that doesn’t mean you need to use every account you have. It’s perfectly fine to have a credit card for emergencies, as long as you remember to use it every once in a while to keep it active.
As long as you’re making the payments on time, there’s not too much of a negative impact to using your credit. But if you keep adding to your credit balance month after month, it’s going to look like you don’t know how to manage your finances, and your credit will take a hit.
If you’re looking to improve your score and already have established credit lines, the best thing you can do is stop using them and decrease your overall credit utilization.
Consolidate Your Credit Card Balances
Whether you have multiple credit cards or several credit lines, one of the best ways to improve your credit score is to consolidate your lines of credit.
Whether you’re looking at student loans, auto loans, or multiple credit cards, you should try to consolidate your balances to a single location through a personal loan or a secured credit card. This will make it easier to make all your payments on time and improve your overall FICO credit score.
Raising Your Credit Limit
It seems counter-intuitive initially, but if you raise your credit limit, you’ll improve your credit score. That’s because when the major credit bureaus look at your credit, they take your credit utilization rate into account.
If it looks like you’ve maxed out all of your credit cards, then it seems like you’re struggling with your finances, even if you lowered the limits on purpose.
But, if you get a credit limit increase on each card, it will raise your total credit limit. This makes it look like you can afford more credit, and you’re choosing not to use it. This improves your overall credit score.
Even better, raising your overall credit limit on cards is relatively easy. As long as you have an established track record with the credit card company and are making your payments on time, all you need to do is call and ask for them to raise your limit, and they’ll often work with you.
Become an Authorized User on Another Account
While becoming an authorized user on someone else’s account won’t necessarily improve your credit score overnight, it helps build your credit over an extended period. As an authorized user, you can use someone else’s credit card, and get a credit boost for on-time payments without applying for the card yourself.
Remove Missed Payment Info
We’ve mentioned it before, but it’s so vital that you make your payments on time. It doesn’t matter if you’ve made 100 payments on time in a row, just a single missed or late payment can have significant ramifications for your credit.
If you do have a missed payment on your record, reach out to the lender and see if they’ll remove the hit if you make the payment. Often payments are missed by mistake, and the lenders will sometimes work with you if you’ve established yourself as a reliable customer and are providing a way for them to get their money.
Building Your Credit History
A robust credit history is an essential factor when looking at your overall credit score. Ideally, you would establish a good credit history from the beginning, as trying to repair a poor record could take months or years.
You build a good credit history by making on-time payments on loans and credit cards and avoiding anything that might have a negative impact on your credit. This could include too many revolving credit lines or cards with high, long-standing balances.
Whether you’re setting up a new credit card or paying your utility bills, one of the easiest ways to ensure that you never miss a due date is automatic payments. Late payments can wreck your credit-worthiness and your FICO score. It’s essential to establish a consistent payment history.
The Final Push
Raising your credit score by 100 points could be quite challenging, especially if you want to do it in only 30 days. But just because something is difficult doesn’t mean it’s impossible.
If you put in the work and prove to lenders that you’re willing to make on-time payments, they’ll be far more willing to work with you in the future. Lower interest rates, fewer deposits, and new loan opportunities are just a few of the rewards you have to look forward to with your higher score!