9 Ways to Raise Your Credit Score Immediately

Allison Kade
Posted

You’ve checked your credit score (with LearnVest’s step-by-step instructions), and now you want to make sure it’s good. We want your score to be above 760–the golden standard of “excellent” credit–so we bring you ways to raise your credit score right now! Whether you’re trying to raise your score or maintain your top-notch report, here are 9 tips to help you see an immediate change in that magic number:

Watch for Mistakes

Examine your credit report for mistakes. If your report is wrong in any way, contact the credit reporting bureaus to fix the error. Read this synopsis for detailed instructions on disputing charges with each bureau.

Attack That Debt

Tackle credit card debt first. Paying off student loans or mortgages can help raise your score, but getting rid of credit card debt will have the biggest effect.

RELATED: 7 Best Ways to Raise Your Credit Score by Using Your Credit Card

Know Your Limits

Check the credit limit on each card, and then figure out what percent of that limit you’re currently using. Aim to use less than 30% of the limit on each card, because using a high percentage weighs down your score. Maxing out your card is a cardinal sin!

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Keep an Eye on Credit Checks

Every time someone checks your credit, your credit score drops. If you’re shopping around for a loan, submit applications in a condensed time frame (like a couple weeks, if possible). If all the inquiries come as a cluster within a short time frame, they will be treated more favorably. To minimize the credit checks, ask one of the people who checked your score for a copy of the report for your own records. For other inquiries around the same time frame, see if you can send that copy instead of undergoing another credit check.

Don’t Throw Out or Cancel Your Oldest Card

The further back your credit history goes, the better your score. So, if you still have your oldest credit card and it’s not currently your main card, keep it active by buying something small on it every so often and paying that off immediately, in full.

RELATED: Monitor and Report: Ways to Raise Your Credit Score

Negotiate With Your Creditors

Believe it or not, creditors don’t exist for the sole purpose of making your life miserable. Many will negotiate if you show a good faith effort to pay your bills back as soon as possible. The worst thing to do is to avoid the topic and keep missing payments.

Blot Out Late Payments

If your last late payment was more than six months ago and you’ve been paying on time since then, Credit Karma suggests that you “try to convince your creditor to remove this late payment. If the lender agrees, this tends to boost your credit score quickly.” For example, if you missed a bill from a company like AT&T but have been paying on time since then, literally pick up the phone and call. A customer service representative should be able to direct you to the right department.

RELATED: New Ways to Raise Your Credit Score Right Away

Watch Out for Balance Chasing

Many times, when consumers pay down a big chunk of credit card debt, card companies then lower those people’s credit limits. This means that the card company has taken on less risk, but it also means that the consumers’ credit scores suffer because they’re using a greater percentage of a lower credit limit. If this happens to you, Credit Karma recommends applying for a new credit card in order to raise that total credit limit. (See point 3.)

Be Strategic About Which Cards You Pay Off

If you have debt on multiple credit cards and one of them is for a card that you’ve already canceled, read this. The credit limit of each open card raises your total limit for your credit score. But, the limits of closed cards will continue to count toward your score as long as there’s a balance on them. So, unless that closed card’s APR is your highest, consider paying off the other cards first so that your score can benefit from the higher credit limit.

Of course, it’s impossible to predict exactly how much these tips will raise your score, since every credit history is different. That said, we expect that you’ll see some positive changes soon after springing to action!

  • danscott1

    Beware of generic credit advice. The calculation of credit scores is VERY complex, and the impact of any single action (open a credit account, pay off a card, cancel a card) will differ based on your specific credit “DNA”. Everyone has different credit profiles, and just because one person's score may increase by doing 'x', another person's score could plummet for the same action.

    There are some tools out there which can give you actionable information about what can help or hurt your score and by how much. I searched high and low, and found one I liked.

    (Full disclosure: I am a customer. For $40 something, I used their service for three months, and learned a lot about what things would help my score, and what would not. And I was able to significantly increase in my score as a result)

    Anyway, the company is ManageMyScore.com. For what it's worth, I found it to be much more useful than some of the others out there (and some mentioned in this article)…albeit a bit less flashy.

    MY $.02. Happy credit scores!

  • danscott1

    Beware of generic credit advice. The calculation of credit scores is VERY complex, and the impact of any single action (open a credit account, pay off a card, cancel a card) will differ based on your specific credit “DNA”. Everyone has different credit profiles, and just because one person's score may increase by doing 'x', another person's score could plummet for the same action.

    There are some tools out there which can give you actionable information about what can help or hurt your score and by how much. I searched high and low, and found one I liked.

    (Full disclosure: I am a customer. For $40 something, I used their service for three months, and learned a lot about what things would help my score, and what would not. And I was able to significantly increase in my score as a result)

    Anyway, the company is ManageMyScore.com. For what it's worth, I found it to be much more useful than some of the others out there (and some mentioned in this article)…albeit a bit less flashy.

    MY $.02. Happy credit scores!

  • kodemonki

    I have about 8 credits cards, only three of which I actively use, and my balance is well under 30%. It's probably around 10, or 20% on a particularly harsh month. I have no credit card debt, I paid off my car in 1.5 years (instead of the 5 year loan terms), so the only debt I have now is a few hundred (interest free), school loans (also interest free and deferred, not due for many years), and my mortgage. In the past 10 years, I've only been late on one payment, yet my credit score hovers around 712 (though this was before I paid off my car). 760 seems impossible. Are there other options?

    Danscott1, I will definitely look into that service. I will also call the one creditor with the “late” mark on my card (many, many years ago) and see if it can be removed. Thanks!

  • Lsnyder8

    None of this really helps someone who ruined their credit in college — where creditor's are completely predatory — and hasn't been able to get a credit card for eight years.

  • Dmacdoesit

    Ten years ago in order to borrow 10 dollars I would have to give the lender 100 dollars cash, that is how bad my credit was. I started building my credit with very high interest loans, I borrowed the money put it in saveings acount, paid back the loan as agreed with the money in savings. I aquired every credit card I could get my hands on, and did the same thing, after 2 years of doing that I was able to get low interest credit cards. I always make all payments 2 weeks before they are due. Every 6 months I would get my credit report,and gradually it went up. Within 4 years every body was sending me credit offers,my score was around 620. I bought a house 7/28/10 my credit score was 796. It really is not hard to do NEVER BE LATE ON PAYMENT,wether it is loan or utility bills. It is not going to happen over night, takes time, but well worth it. Any business that says they can fix your credit isa LIAR, all you are goig to do is pay them money that you will need to start your good credit. So think about it, 7 years from now you eather going to be where you are now, or you will have credit.
    Bad credit stays with you for 7 years. I also want to mention that before I decided to work on my credit I had a lot of out standing bills, and 2 repoes I did not pay any of those, I waited 7 years for all those to go off my record, then I started from scrach. Now every now and then I will get a letter from a collection agency offering to cancell a debt for payment of 10 percent of what I owed. DO NOT fall for this those bills are no longer a part of my credit history, but if I was to send them even 1 dollar it would open that case back up on my current credit report, and my score of 796 would be destroyed. Hope this helps somebody. Thank you for reading

  • http://www.facebook.com/AshleyVictoriaBurton Ashley Burton

    I am 30 points away I could taste it and I’m only 22 I love it! Okay, so I am confused is the credit scores out of 830 or 900? Since Credit Karma is showing me one thing but my Experian (FreeCreditReport.com) is saying something else…thanks!

    • Wendy

      FICO scores have a range of 300-850, but each bureau also has their own credit scores with different ranges, plus all 3 bureaus came together and created a new score called the VantageScore. You need to know which credit scoring model your score came from. Also, hopefully you got your Experian report from http://www.annualcreditreport.com, not the other site.

  • Julie Perry

    I need my credit score to be 9pts higher, with everything completley paid off I am not sure what the next step to take is. Any suggestions would be amazing? My boyfriend and I are trying to get approved for a home loan!