Monitor And Dispute: 7 New Ways To Improve Your Credit Score Fast

Allison Kade

Sure, we’d feel like dynamite if we managed to have a perfect credit score, but actually getting a perfect 850 is pretty much unattainable. 760 is the golden standard of “excellent” credit, but sometimes even that seems like just a dream.

Don’t tell anyone off just yet.

Raising your credit score isn’t about waiting around idly for the credit bureaus to think you’ve got a longer and more impressive credit history. Last year, we brought you 9 ways to raise your credit score immediately. This year, we caught up with Credit Karma for an update on the newest advice to fit current trends.

If you want to find out your credit score, you can also do it for free at Credit Karma.

Whether you’re trying to raise your score or maintain your top-notch report, here are the newest ways to see an immediate change in that magic number:

1. Bulk Up Your Thin File.

Luckily for consumers with little to no credit history, VantageScore has recently been leading the way by placing the most emphasis on the last 24 months of a consumer’s credit history. So, even if you haven’t been using credit for ages, your credit-building actions will now have a deeper impact on your score. Some other things that will help to bulk up a thin credit history are secured credit cards, personal loans, auto loans, or a mortgage.

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2. Before You Do Anything More Like Adding A New Card, Do This.

This is the ultimate tried-and-true credit score booster. Unloading debt increases y our score by reducing your overall debt and lowering your credit utilization rate (for credit cards, at least). Before you do anything like adding a new credit card, increasing your credit limit, or juggling balance transfers, focus on paying off your debt. Your credit score will thank you immediately.

3. Find A Diamond In The Rough Credit.

Right now, a lot of credit card issuers are increasing the number of preapproved offers they mail out. One of the ways that your score is calculated is by how much credit you use compared to the total credit line you could use (called “credit utilization rate”). Opening a new card will often have a positive impact on your credit score because it increases your total available credit. Sift through cards to find one with favorable terms, a low interest rate, and no annual fee. Also remember that each credit card application results in a hard inquiry that temporarily lowers your credit score for four to eight weeks, so be selective about applying to cards with high approval rates for your credit score range. Check out Credit Karma’s recommendations based on credit score range and card type.

RELATED: Ways to Raise Your Credit Score–During a Natural Disaster

4. Extend Your Credit Limit.

If the idea of juggling another credit card gives you a headache, ask your current credit card issuer for a credit line increase on your existing card. Like getting a new card, this will lower the percentage of credit you’re using compared to how much you could use (just don’t increase your spending to match). Issuers are more likely to grant increases to good customers, so choose the card with which you’ve had the cleanest and longest history. Then just call up and ask, reminding the rep that you’ve been a dedicated customer for a long time. Note that requesting a credit line increase also requires a hard credit inquiry, so steel yourself for a temporary hit to your score.

5. Make It Automatic.

Credit Karma told us: “Just one late payment can damage your credit score 20 points or more, so take preemptive measures.” Set up automatic payments on installment loans that charge the same amount each time, and create calendar reminders for your credit card bills.

RELATED: Credit Scores 101 — What They Are, Plus Ways to Raise Your Credit Score

6. Actually Use Your Credit Card.

As long as you never spend more than you have and pay your bills in full every month, LearnVest actually recommends paying with a credit card. In addition to providing perks like insurance, rewards, and the ability to dispute charges, they are also a powerful tool to build credit. The key is moderation: Using too much credit or maxing out your card hurts your score, but regular, responsible use actually helps it.

7. Clean Up Your Credit Report.

Some stats claim that as many as 80% of consumer credit reports have an error or inaccuracy that can cost 5 to 50 credit points. Check your credit report for errors. Once the mistakes are wiped from your history, your credit score will feel the effect within a month.

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 soon be raising your glass to a much higher score.

Bottoms up.

  • Kodemonki

    This might not suit everyone’s tastes, but I check my bank accounts and credit card statements about once every other day, all through If you’d like to keep better tabs on your money, but forget to, set your bank’s homepage as one of your homepages (most modern browsers will let you have multiple homepages).

  • Susan Bee

    I would also recommend to use the credit you do have to keep your accounts OPEN, even if the terms are not the most favorable. We just had Citibank revoke a credit line of 11k due to inactivity (and we DID use the card, just not enough according to them). Why? We stopped using it because they arbitrarily increased the rate to 29% during the credit reform craziness when there was no justification other than they could. Unfortunately, that credit line constitutes a big chunk of my overall available credit. Now my credit score will be hit undoubtedly because my credit utilization score will be worse. And that is HOPING they do not identify the account closure in such a way to the credit bureaus that it reflects poorly on me. So….use your credit to your advantage, don’t let it slip away in chunks.

    • Allison Kade

      Hi Susan Bee,nnGreat point! An important takeaway in all of this is to always aim to pay off credit card bills in full, on time. So, for example, even if you kept using your crazy-high 29% card, that doesn’t REALLY matter in the end if you pay 100% of it off fully on time. But, it gives you a higher total credit limit, which should help your score as long as you don’t use that extra credit bump (because then you’ll have a better “credit utilization ratio”). nnSo, thanks, and agreed. Big bumps in APR suck, admittedly, but the most important thing to always remember is that the APR matters a whole lot less if you’re not paying it–and you won’t have to pay anything in interest as long as you pay everything off immediately in full.nnThanks again!nnAllisonnEditor @ LV

    • Jamieturn

      I started using my credit card to only purchase gas twice a month. My interest rate is high as well, but I pay if off every month and I only charge up to 30% of my credit limit. This helps raise my credit score showing on time payments, use of the credit but doesn’t increase my debt to available credit which can have a negative impact on your score. Using too much credit can be just as bad as not using enough credit. My rule of thumb, decrease all debts to 30% of the credit limit. I also pay only $30 over my minimum car payments which lowers my car payment as well. I also just subscribed to a credit monitoring program and everything little change on my credit sends me an email alert so I can keep up on how my credit changes. 

  • Fast Credit Card

    Bravo, Bros! keep going like this, more good info again.

  • Fast Credit Card

    Bravo, Bros! keep going like this, more good info again.

  • Fast Credit Card

    Bravo, Bros! keep going like this, more good info again.

  • Fast Credit Card

    Bravo, Bros! keep going like this, more good info again.

  • Darius rickard

    nice blog. all the information needed by a debtor are all found in this great article. the ways to improve credit score mentioned above can really help debtors like me.

  • lurlineme

    Fabulous! Succinct and remarkably useful. These great tips would be very useful to people with bad credits. Keep posting. Kudos!

  • credit suisse

    You ought to conjointly shut the accounts of cards that you
    simply don’t would like. you’ll even have to deprive yourself of some purchases
    and build necessary life-style changes. you ought to strive the maximum amount
    as potential to shop for solely things that square measure necessary.
    Discretionary purchases ought to be omitted till you have got extra cash to

  • Kasten

    Repairing your credit on your own, like the gas company spelling your name wrong or DOB, it’s been 10 years, I have 17 names for me on my account & 13 versions or made up addresses, I’ve only lived in 3 places since I was 16.

  • Lori J Gray