Your credit score affects your financial future. Poor financial decisions can quickly drop your score. A bad credit score can stand in your way if you need to borrow money or rent an apartment.
But you can improve your credit, even with a low score. Rebuilding your credit takes effort, but you can learn how to improve your credit score in three months.
Strategies to increase your credit score in 3 months
You might wonder how quickly you can raise your credit score. Below are steps to help improve your credit score in three months.
1. Know your credit score
Your credit report contains a detailed history of you and your financial accounts. Credit reporting agencies use this data to compute your credit score. This three-digit score tells lenders how likely you are to pay off your debt.
Banks and other lenders look at your credit score and report when deciding whether to extend credit and what interest rate to charge. If your credit score is low, you may have difficulty borrowing money. Monitoring and taking steps to improve your credit score can significantly impact your ability to secure a favorable loan with lower interest rates.
PRO TIP! Building your credit is easier than you think. It starts with knowing and understanding your score, creating goals, and then monitoring your credit as you take steps to build it.
2. Pay all bills on time
Payment history makes up a sizable percentage of your credit score. The best way to build credit is by staying current on what you owe. Timely payments can help boost your credit score.
Falling behind in your payments can drive down your score. Your credit score can take a hit when you are weeks or months behind. Past-due payments could push down your score, and you could be hit with costly collection fees and added interest charges.
3. Stay within your credit limit
Your credit utilization ratio is the amount of credit you use compared to your total credit limit. Credit reporting agencies place high importance on this ratio, as utilization ratios make up over 30% of your credit score. The lower your credit utilization ratio, the better your score can be.
When trying to improve your credit score, monitor your credit utilization ratio closely. If you can significantly pay down what you owe on your credit cards, it won’t take long to fix your credit score.
4. Dispute credit report errors
A credit report mistake can be costly. Whether it is a late payment you are sure you made timely or accounts that aren’t yours, errors can quickly pull down your score. Review your credit report regularly for any mistakes. If you find inaccuracies or errors, dispute these in writing to the credit reporting agency.
5. Increase credit history
You might bump up your score with some smart credit moves.
- Use a secured credit card: By making a deposit as collateral, you will be eligible for a secured credit card. If you make purchases and pay off the balance in full each month, that positive payment activity is reported to the credit bureaus to help improve your credit score.
- Get credit for payments you make: Some institutions offer a free service, which links your bank account and then scans for payments to streaming services, phone and utility bills as well as eligible rent payments.
- Get a loan: Too much of the same debt can drag down your score. If you carry most of your debt in credit cards, consider taking out a car or personal loan to improve your mix.
- Raise your credit limit: Increasing your credit limit means that if you don’t increase borrowing, your credit utilization score decreases, which counts for 30% of your credit score. That lower credit utilization score can improve your credit score.
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6. Avoid repeated credit inquiries
Your credit report is a snapshot of your credit history. When deciding whether to extend credit, companies often make a hard inquiry on your credit to check your past behavior. However, too many hard inquiries in a brief period may signal to a lender you are taking on too much debt. With inquiries making up 10% of your credit score, the fewer you have, the better.
A company may run a soft inquiry to determine whether you meet the basic requirements to apply for credit. Soft inquiries do not affect your score.
7. Pay down debt
You realize plenty of benefits when you pay down debt. You will likely be hit with high-interest charges when you carry credit card debt from month to month. The more interest charges added to what you owe, the longer it takes to pay down your debt.
8. Seek professional help
If you struggle to stay on top of your bills or run out of cash before your next paycheck, it may be time for professional help. A financial adviser can help you assemble a household budget and a monthly spending plan. Whether your strategy is to pay off your debt or stay up to date on your bills, a financial adviser can help when your finances seem out of control.
9. Monitor your progress
Put goals in place to help track your progress. When you employ such strategies as staying current with your payments or cutting back on credit card spending, you can move forward in your credit score journey. Or consider paying off a small debt you owe. While it may not drastically change your score, paying off one debt can motivate you enough to go on.
10. Stay consistent
Sticking to your credit improvement strategy is a challenge. Despite staying current with what you owe and shaving off wasteful expenses, your score will not improve overnight. Even if it takes a few months, your time and effort to improve your credit score pays off.
Take active steps to improve your credit score
No one is immune from making poor financial decisions. Missing a credit card payment or taking on more debt than you can afford can drop your credit score. The good news is that by applying simple financial strategies, you could see improvement in your credit score in three months.
What is a good credit score, and why does it matter?
Having a good credit score could make it easier to borrow money. Typically, lenders have more confidence when a person has a higher credit score. Plus, you may get a more favorable interest rate with a higher score.
What are some strategies for improving credit scores?
Some strategies for improving credit scores include paying bills on time, paying down debt, and lowering your credit utilization ratio. Mistakes on your credit report can be costly, so consider filing a dispute with the reporting agency to remove any erroneous information.
How long does it take to see an improvement in credit scores?
You can improve your credit score, just don’t expect to see immediate change. However, it is possible to build credit in three months by taking steps to pay down your debt or cut your spending.