You can increase your credit score by 100 points in just 30 days.
How do I know?
Because I did it myself.
In this article, I explain exactly what I did to raise my score by 100 points and show you how to do the same.
8 things you can do now to improve your credit score in 30 days
Now obviously, not everyone will see their score increase by 100 points, but just by paying off some credit card debt, I’ve seen FICO scores increase by 30-50 points in a few days after a rapid rescore.
1. Get a copy of your credit report
The first thing you need to do is get a copy of your credit report from all three major credit bureaus. You can get your free report once a year on the Government website www.annualcreditreport.com.
2. Identify the negative accounts
Now that you have your credit report go through it and highlight accounts with a negative status. Highlight any late payments, collection accounts, or any other negative information. Make sure your personal information is correct, including your address, employer, and phone number.
Items to focus on
- Collection accounts
- Late payments
- Credit inquiries
3. Dispute the negative items with the credit bureaus
You can dispute anything on your credit report you believe is inaccurate. The credit bureau will launch an investigation and contact the creditor to verify the account, the creditor has 30 days to send sufficient documentation to the credit bureau or they are required by law, to remove it.
I have seen people get 10 accounts removed in 30 days just by disputing them. Of course, they had a ton of negative items on their reports, so several accounts being deleted is not unusual.
You can always file a dispute online or by mail, but I always preferred to call in and dispute them with a live person. There was a rumor in the credit industry that the Credit Bureaus had a system to identify disputes being filed by credit repair companies and flag them. Disputing over the phone has always yielded the best results for me.
There are three ways to dispute accounts on your credit report:
- Online – Create an account with each credit bureau’s website to get started. Once you have an account, you will view your report and dispute any negative items online.
- By phone – You can call each credit bureau and speak to a live person. Make sure you have your highlighted credit report with you. Just go through each negative item and let them know you would like to dispute it.
- By mail, you can send a letter to each credit bureau disputing the items on your report. The downside to this method is the mail time it takes to send and receive your investigation results by mail. Here are some sample dispute letters you can send to the credit bureaus.
Credit Bureau Dispute Information
Consumer Dispute Center
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19016
Dispute online | Phone: 800-916-8800
P.O. Box 4500
Allen, TX 75013
Dispute online | Phone: (714) 830-7000
Equifax Information Services LLC
P.O. Box 740256
Atlanta, GA 30374
Dispute online| Phone: (800) 846-5279
Get late payments removed
Before disputing late payments you should contact your creditors and tell them you have a late payment on your credit report on your account and you believe it’s inaccurate. They may remove it as an act of goodwill for customers who have been with them for awhile.
I had a creditor remove a late payment from my credit report by calling and coming up with an excuse for why it was late. They removed it as an act of goodwill because I had been a customer for several years. If that doesn’t work, you can start disputing it with the three major credit reporting companies.
I had four late payments with two different creditors at one point. I contacted the creditors and got one removed and disputed the other 3 with the Credit Bureaus. I was able to get another one removed, and my credit score jumped up by 84 points.
4. Dispute Credit Inquiries
Credit inquiries will affect your credit score for 12 months. But, you can dispute hard inquiries on your credit profile and have them removed, I wouldn’t try this until you have disputed more important account information first.
Call the credit bureaus to dispute inquiries. The creditor has to verify you authorized them to pull your credit. Inquires aren’t removed often, but I have seen some removed from credit reports before, so it’s worth a shot.
5. Pay down credit card balances
Your credit utilization ratio is the amount of available credit you’re using and it accounts for 30% of your overall fico score. The lower your balances are, the higher your score will be. Only your payment history has a bigger impact (35%). If you’re carrying a lot of credit card debt then your credit rating is suffering. Try to pay your card balances down to less than 25% of their credit limits.
Get a secured credit card if you don’t have one
If you don’t have a credit card, you will need to get one or two to help improve your score. A secured credit card works similarly to an unsecured credit card only they require a deposit equal to the credit limit.
Wait to get a secured card until after you have followed these steps and have waited 30 days. Your credit scores could improve enough for you to be approved for an unsecured credit card.
6. Do not pay your accounts in collections
If a collection agency will not remove the account from your credit report, don’t pay it! Dispute it! A collection is a collection. It doesn’t help your score AT ALL to have a bunch of collections on your report with a zero balance. The only way your credit score will improve is by getting the collection accounts removed from your report entirely.
Don’t pay collection accounts without a pay-for-delete letter. A “pay for delete” is an agreement that you will pay the outstanding debt if the collection company deletes the account from your report. You may be able to settle the balance for less than you owe, but many will want you to pay in full if they are deleting it from your report.
7. Have someone add you as an authorized user
When someone adds you as an authorized user on their credit card account the credit history of that account from day one will be reported on your credit report.
Authorized users can have their own card with their name on it to make purchases, but they don’t have to even get a card. Make sure the account you are being added onto is in good standing. No late payments, low balance, and the longer it has been open, the better. Make sure you ask financially responsible people you know well to add you on as an authorized user cause if they become delinquent it will also hurt your score.
How your credit score is calculated
Your FICO credit score is calculated using an algorithm created by FICO.
- Payment History – 35% – Payment history includes on-time payments, late payments, account status, and collection accounts. Late payments negatively affect your score for 36 months.
- Credit Utilization Ratio – 30% – The total amount of debt you have includes car loans, mortgages, credit card balances, and any other loan. Collection accounts that have been charged off aren’t included.
- Length of credit history – 15% – This includes the average age of your current open accounts. If you have a bunch of accounts you recently opened, it will shorten your average account age and lower your score. Keep revolving accounts such as credit cards and lines of credit open for as long as possible.
- New Accounts – 10% – This is made of credit inquiries and recently opened credit accounts. The more credit inquiries you have in the last 24 months; the lower your score will be. The good news is that after 24 months, the inquiry drops off your report and no longer affects your FICO credit score.
- Credit mix – 10% – The different types of credit accounts you have impacted your score. It is not good to have five credit cards open and nothing else. If you have credit cards, student loans, a mortgage, a personal loan, or an auto loan, it shows credit mix diversity.
What is Considered Good Credit?
A good credit score is generally anything above 720. A bad credit score is usually anything below 620. Your score will get there over time as long as you have multiple credit lines open and you stay on top of your payments.
- 720+ = Excellent
- 680-719 = Good
- 620-679 = Fair
- 580-619 = Poor
- 579 and lower = Terrible
When you are looking to buy a car or get a mortgage, multiple credit inquiries will count as a single inquiry. This is known as “Rate Shopping,” a grace period for consumers to apply with multiple lenders to get the best rate.
If you are looking to buy a car and go to a hundred dealerships and have your credit pulled, it will only count as a single inquiry as long as it is done over 14 days. The rate shopping period for Mortgage credit pulls is 30 days.