Have you been hearing about how this thing called your “credit score” can impact your life but have been too scared to even look into what it is?
What is a credit score and what do you do when it is “bad“?
Is it even possible to raise your credit score?
Many people have a fear of checking their credit score.
Like many things, this fear comes from lack of knowledge and understanding.
With that, let's dive into what exactly your credit score is.
Your credit score is a three-digit number showing lenders your creditworthiness and is often used as an indicator of how risky you are.
There are three main credit bureaus, which is why you may occasionally see different numbers.
The main three are TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. They calculate credit scores depending on the information they have about you.
So, this means that your credit history and credit score may vary a little between the three main credit bureaus.
Your credit score can impact the interest rate you receive on a car loan, buying a home and the mortgage rate you receive, attaining a rental home, getting a new job, your car insurance rate, and more.
Even though your credit score can change your life in a significant way, that doesn't mean it's hard to raise your credit score.
Yes, it can be easy to hurt your credit score, but it can be easy to improve your credit score too!
The very first thing you need to do is find out where you and your credit score stands.
Order a copy of all three credit reports from the major credit companies – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.
You can order one free copy per year from each credit bureau through AnnualCreditReport.com. So now you will have three different but similar reports.
Print a copy of each, grab a highlighter, and pour a cup of coffee.
7 Covert Ways To Raise Your Credit Score
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1. Dispute errors… even tiny ones
So you have your credit reports in front of you, grab your highlighter and start going through looking for any big errors.
Big things would be things like accounts that don't belong to you, any paid balances that are still showing us unpaid, and any incorrect credit limits.
Highlight each one of these errors so that you can dispute them with the credit bureau. You can file disputes easily online through each of the credit bureaus websites:
- Equifax: Online Dispute
- Experian: Dispute Your Credit Report Online
- TransUnion: Initiate a Dispute on Your Credit Profile
Now once you have filed disputes on all of the big problems that you have found, go back with a fine-tooth comb and mark all of the little errors.
Every Point Matters on your Credit Score.
If you have found that a creditor pulled your credit without permission, dispute it.
if your credit card company reported a higher balance than what you actually had, dispute that as well.
By going back and disputing even the littlest things you can gain yourself 25 to 50 to a 100 points easily on your credit score.
By federal law, all credit bureaus must go back and investigate valid claims and disputes and they will remove any inaccurate information.
If you were to run into any problems when you are filing a dispute you can complain to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
2. Pay down your highest balances
If you have multiple credit cards it can be tempting to pay off the smaller balances first.
But this can be a bad idea if you are just looking for a quick boost to your credit score.
You need to look at each of your credit cards limits and consider the ratio of the credit being used.
So consider this, you have one credit card with a limit of $15,000 and the balance of $1,000, and you have another credit card with a limit of $500 and a balance of $450. When trying to choose which card to pay down first you want to consider the ratio of credit to the limit of the card.
So in this example, the second card is doing more damage to your credit score because of the high credit utilization ratio.
So pay off those maxed out cards first.
3. Add any missing accounts
Once you have disputed any errors on your credit report and started paying down balances you want to look for ways that you can start building more credit.
You should start this by looking at credit lines that could have been included in your file but we're not.
Probably the first place that you should look for these type of accounts would be your cell phone.
You diligently make your cell phone payment every month and that should show up on your credit report as well.
Think about every company that you pay on a monthly basis. You can contact them and ask about reporting your payment history to the credit bureaus.
Some of the types of companies that are most commonly willing to report on your behalf are
- Wireless provider
- Utility company
- Telephone company
- Cable and internet provider
One thing you should remember when contacting these companies is that they are not required by law to report payments to the credit bureaus.
So just be nice to them when you ask and consider that they are doing you a favor by sending over your payment history.
4. Blend your credit
Lenders like to see that you have a good mix of credit types. this can be a mortgage, and auto loan, credit cards, or other installment loans.
By having a mix of different loan types lenders can see that you're able to manage multiple accounts at once.
In some situations, it can be a good idea to take out a small installment personal loan and repay it over the next 12 months.
You can just let the money sit in the bank and set up automatic payments every month for one year.
This is a great trick for boosting your credit score by increasing your credit types.
5. Ask for a credit increase
In tip number two I talked a little bit about your credit utilization ratio.
This ratio is what lenders use to see if you are good at managing your available credit.
If you remember that credit card that had a $500 limit, with a balance of $450 we appear super risky two lenders.
If you were to call and ask that credit card company to raise your limit to say $2,000, now that credit utilization ratio is much much lower.
This simple trick can raise your credit score by 15 to 25 points without costing you a dime.
6. Keep using your credit cards
If you have been searching around for tips about rebuilding your credit, you may have come across the ideas to tear up your credit cards or to freeze them in a block of ice.
If you are looking to try to raise your credit score doing these things can cause more harm than good.
Lenders want to see that you are using and managing your credit that you have.
Make sure that you're using every single credit card that you have.
Use them with caution and don't get carried away pay them off every month and you can see a jump of 50 points on your credit report within months.
7. Protect It
Once you have achieved stellar credit, you need to do everything that you can to protect it.
You have gone through years of regular monthly payments, dispute resolution, and diligently paying off credit cards.
You don't want one mistake to derail all your efforts.
Make sure that you continue to pay all your bills on time, never cosign for someone else's debt, and do not come close to maxing out your credit cards.
If trying to rebuild your credit score yourself seems too overwhelming then I suggest looking to CreditRepair.com for professional help.
Customers see an average of a 40 point gain during the first 4 months.
What is CreditRepair.com?
With CreditRepair.com, you will be helped with repairing your credit score.
If you're looking for a way to repair your credit score but need help, then CreditRepair.com has the credit repair service that you may want to look into.
Their members see an average 40 point TransUnion credit score gain during just 4 months of membership with their service.
Plus, on average, past CreditRepair.com members have seen 7% of their negative in marks removed from their report.
They will help you:
1) Repair credit your past – They work with the credit bureaus and your creditors to challenge the unfair or inaccurate negative report items that affect your credit score. They'll ensure your credit history is up-to-date, accurate, and reflects you honestly
2) Monitor what's going on – With Credit Repair, you also receive 24/7 Credit Monitoring & Alerts powered by TransUnion keep you aware of the changes and updates on your report, and provide customized information and advice about how those reported items affect your credit score.
Rebuilding your credit is a lot of work but it is absolutely worth it when you consider the high cost that you pay when you have bad credit.
Do you know what your credit score is? Why or why not?
Do you have experience trying to raise your credit score?
Know a great way to gain some credit points? Let me know in the comments below and thanks for reading.