We all want a higher credit score, and being financially responsible in the long term can help us achieve that, but what if you need to raise your credit score quickly, like before you want to rent an apartment or buy a car? There are a few quick ways to raise your credit score on a tight deadline:
Check Your Credit Report
Millions of people have errors in their credit report and don’t even know it. Many of these errors can cause your credit score to be dragged down. The best way to quickly raise your credit score is to fix any major errors you have on your credit report. Look over all three credit reports from each credit bureau (Equifax, TransUnion and Experian) and find any errors that lenders may have made, like reporting late payments when you paid on time, or accounts in collections that you know you paid.
Once you’ve located any errors, you should go to the credit bureaus’ websites, which include instructions on how to request a fix on your report. According to government rules, the credit bureaus have a month to either fix the error or confirm that it is not an error. If you don’t want to fix the error yourself, you can hire a credit repair service to fix your errors for you. Just remember that fixing errors won’t necessarily guarantee a score increase.
Negotiate with Your Lenders
Another way to raise your credit score is to negotiate with your lenders. If you have only been late once or twice with your payments, they may be willing to remove those marks from your credit report, which would in turn raise your score. When dealing with lenders, keep in mind that they don’t have to make any changes, so be polite and don’t demand anything. Again, if you don’t want to negotiate with the lenders yourself, you can hire a credit repair service to negotiate for you.
Pay Off Your Debt
One of the biggest factors in determining your credit score is how you are using your credit. One way the credit bureaus use to determine that is your credit utilization ratio. This ratio compares how much credit you have (your overall credit limit) with how much credit you are currently using. So if you have $10,000 in credit from all your credit cards and currently have a balance of $5,000, you have a 50% credit utilization ratio. Experts advise to keep your ratio below 30%.
The good news is that paying down your credit card debt can lower your credit utilization ratio, which will help raise your credit score. If you have that $10,000 in credit and pay your balance down to $2,000, your credit utilization ratio is now 20%, which is much better than 50%. Lower your credit utilization ratio is a quick way to raise you credit score.
Apply for a Credit Card
Another way to raise your credit utilization ratio is by getting a new credit card. If you have $10,000 in credit and a $5,000 balance, if you get approved for a credit card with a $5,000 credit limit, you now have $15,000 in credit, making your utilization ratio 33%. Just don’t apply for more than 1 or 2 cards. Applying for too much credit at one time can actually lower your credit score. Here are a few good credit cards that can help you raise your score and give you great rewards at the same time.