You have applied for credit and you were denied. You were confident you were going to buy that car, house or some other item you had your heart set on. The response from the lender is, your credit score was not high enough to move forward with the loan.
We have some simple steps to help you raise your score yourself.
- Dispute Inaccuracies on Your Credit Report
- Pay Your Bills on Time
- Do Not Close Inactive Credit Cards
- Do Not Apply For New Credit Frequently
- Keep Balances Low and Pay Off Your Debt
- Have a good mix of different types of credit
- Utilize Your Utility and Cell Phone Payment History
With these consistent behaviors, you will see a gradual increase with your scores. Raising your credit score takes a range of healthy financial habits. These are good habits to establish along with best practices to keep your credit score where you need it to borrow money.
Dispute Inaccuracies On Your Credit Report
This is an important first step because it can take time. So it should be the first thing you work on.
You have two choices in repairing your credit. You can do it yourself or you can hire an attorney or credit repair service to do it for you. We always recommend that you start the process yourself if money is an issue. You have certain rights under the law and the three credit bureaus make it fairly easy to get started.
You can also request your credit report from all three bureaus through the Annual Credit Report website. We give you exact instructions on how to use this site to obtain your annual free credit report. You can also use this site if you have been denied credit in the last 60 days or if you are unemployed and you will be applying for jobs.
You will start by notifying the credit bureau what information you believe is not accurate. Credit bureaus, under the law, must investigate your claims in question within 30 days, unless they consider your dispute frivolous. In order to expedite the process, you will want to include copies os your documents that support your position.
I actually had a mortgage reporting on my credit that was not mine. It had a couple of 30 day late payments and there was no way I could obtain new credit with that on there. I disputed it with the credit reporting bureaus who would not remove it.
In the end, I finally had to call the bank who was reporting it and work it out with them directly. The reporting bank sent me a letter stating that the mortgage reporting was indeed not my mortgage. It took a few months to get this all worked out while waiting for responses!
Make On-Time Payments
This is one of the biggest scoring factors when it comes to a great credit score. Making on-time payments is something you should do every month. We give you tips on how to ensure that happens every month with a budget and a plan.
Making on-time payments has to be a priority in your quest to achieve a higher credit score. We recommend paying off your card every month so you are not carrying debt and paying interest. You can do this by only putting everyday expenses on your credit card and then deducting them from your checking account.
Keep Revolving Credit Lines Open
Even if you are not using an open revolving credit line anymore, it is important that you keep it open. That credit line has a history and the history is being added to every month on your credit report. The length that you have had a credit line for matters to your score.
Opening and closing revolving credit accounts in favor of perks or cash incentives only lowers your credit score in the long run. Every time you open a new credit account or close an old one, it lowers the average age of your accounts, which can hurt your credit score. The length of your credit history accounts for 15% of your FICO score.
Stop Applying For New Credit
It can be tempting but stop applying for new credit once you have a good mix of credit lines opened.
Too many applications for credit are an indication that you may be in financial distress. In calculating your score there is less of a hit if you are applying for a mortgage or car payment because the bureaus understand the many lenders may look at your credit at once.
This is for the people who want 10 percent off every retail store they venture into. Although the offer is tempting, refrain from applying for these cards more than once. The idea is to have a variety of credit types. It does not affect your score too much but if you want the best score possible initially every little it helps.
Have Different Types of Credit Tradelines
The term “tradelines” is a credit industry term for an account. Usually, this refers to an account appearing on someone’s credit report. A tradeline is an account, which reports your payment history, monthly to the credit reporting bureaus.
There are a few different types of trade lines.
- Mortgage – Secured loan backed by real estate
- Installment – Personal and Auto Loans
- Revolving – Credit Cards, Lines of Credit
You want to have a good mix of different tradelines. Although this does not change your score significantly it does signal responsible use of your credit.
A typical recommendation of a good mix might be three to five revolving credit accounts and a personal loan or a car payment as a good mix. Having too many credit cards can affect this negatively.
Have Your Rent, Utility and Phone Payment History Reporting On Your Credit
I recent years, the system has changed to allow people to share your positive financial habits with credit bureaus. Services like PayYourRent and RentTrack, for example, will report your rental payments to all three of the major credit bureaus. Showing on-time rent payments can be a great way to raise your score. When you sign up for Experian Boost you will be able to add phone and utility bills to your Experian report. This will add a history of on-time payments that can boost your credit score within a few weeks. Not months.
You can also sign up for UltraFICO, a new service that includes your bank account balances in your credit score. This will help a lender see that even though you do not have a lengthy credit history, you do have a history of maintaining positive bank balances and keeping plenty of cash on hand. It is important not to overdraft your account and also to maintain your minimum balances if you choose this option!
If you are interested in raising your credit score quickly you can use these tips plus adding yourself to a family member’s credit account as an Authorized User.