There are no words to describe the absolute panic someone has when they realize their credit has taken a turn for the worse. Credit scores can keep you from buying a car, renting certain apartments, buying a home, getting a security clearance, and even getting a job.
If you’ve run into a problem with your credit score you’re probably looking for an immediate fix. However with many things, credit can’t be fixed ovenight. MyFico.com suggests that you should think of your credit like your weight. Losing weight isn’t easy. It takes time, just like repairing your credit will take time.
For those of you looking to increase your score, here are some ideas on how to relatively quickly raise your credit score by 200 points:
How to Raise Credit Score By 200 Points
There are a few things you can do right away to help your credit score. Although you won’t see immediate progress, you can start with these steps:
- Check your credit score and report. If you want to know how to raise your credit score by 200 points you’ll need to know what your score is now (and what it means). You’ll also need to see a full credit report to know what steps you need to take to improve it. Also don’t pay to check your credit. Get the information for free at annualcreditreport.com. See the range of credit scores in the chart below.
- Set up payment reminders. Payment reminders are a great way to help increase your credit score. The majority of credit problems are due to nonpayment or late payments. By setting up payment reminders (on your phone, computer or even through your bank) you can stay on top of your bills, which will help your credit over time. Check out the graph below and see how important paying your bills on time is to your credit score:
- Reduce your debts. The most obvious piece of advice on how to raise your credit score by 200 points is to reduce your debt. If you have a lot of debt your credit score will remain low.
- Research secured credit cards. According to Good Financial Cents, a secured credit card is a great way to raise your credit score. A secured credit card is a credit card that you provide cash down payment for. You then use and pay off that credit card over time. Eventually, the credit card company you opened the card with will give you a higher credit line.
- Put down a cash payment you can afford and use the card sparingly. Make sure that the cash you put down for the secured card is money you can afford not to have in your pocket. Think of it as an emergency savings account that you’ll only use if you can put the money right back.
- Make payments in full. Once you have a secured credit card (or any line of credit) pay it off in full when you can. This will help you increase your credit score as well.
Keeping Your New and Improved Score
Knowing how to raise your credit score by 200 points is only a small portion of mending your credit. If you are going to spend the time and energy it takes to raise your score you will want to maintain the score you earned. Here are a few credit tips that will help you keep your score high:
- Pay your bills on time. As mentioned above paying your bills on time is important for raising your credit score. It is also important for maintaining a credit score.
- If you are behind on bills, get up-to-date and stay there. Being behind on your bills will hurt your credit score greatly. Get caught up and make sure you stay there.
- Keep balances low on credit cards. Any lines of credit you have should have no balance or a low balance. Your credit score stays high when your available line of credit remains open.
- Don’t close unused accounts. If you have any line of credit you don’t use very often, don’t close it! Closing accounts can actually hurt your credit in the long run.
- Establish new credit history. Once you’ve been able to raise your credit score you’ll want to begin to establish a new credit history. Open new credit card accounts or get a department store charge card. Having more available lines of credit will help your credit score.
- Don’t open unnecessary accounts. Even though you should open a new account to establish new credit history you shouldn’t open any account you find. Opening too many new accounts, however, can hurt your score.
Even though there’s no sure-fire “how to” to raising your credit score these are all great starting points. The bottom line is that raising your credit score will require work fixing your credit history and being able to maintain the work you’ve done. If you’re looking for more tips check out this video on lesser-known ways to improve your credit score:
Have you raised your credit score a significant amount? We’d love to hear your story. Contact us here.