The average American has a credit score of around 710. If you’re not happy with your own credit score and are looking to increase it, there are a lot of ways to do so. You can implement them all at once or you could prioritize spending your time on the most effective methods and work your way down to the least effective methods.
No matter your preference, we’ve compiled a list of all the ways to increase your credit score along with their effectiveness. What you decide to do is up to you, depending on how urgently you need your credit improved.
Before we start, we should probably answer a question that gets asked a lot regarding credit scores: “Can you raise your credit score 100 points overnight?”
That really depends, but for most people, the answer is no. Let’s elaborate on that.
Can you raise your credit score 100 points overnight?
Unfortunately, raising your credit score 100 points overnight just isn’t feasibly possible for the majority of people.
“So… it’s possible?!”
Yes, technically it’s possible. You have a good chance of raising your credit score if you’ve had your identity stolen and ruined as a result. Remember, if identity theft occurs, always report the crime to the police to have it on record, and report the crime to Experian, Transunion, and Equifax so that they can sort it out and fix your credit score for you.
Boost Your Credit Score [Almost] Overnight
If you aren’t a victim of identity theft, there isn’t really any way to boost your credit score overnight. The next best thing is to boost your credit score within a month.
1. Gather your credit information
There are a few things you should do, but before you start, you need to get all your information. You can do so by downloading Credit Karma and getting a full credit report. This will give you a great overview of all the accounts in your credit profile as well as potential targets for improvement.
2. Educate yourself on credit factors
Now let’s look at the factors that go into your credit score and whether they can be improved in a fairly timely manner:
- Payment History (35%) – this can be improved over the span of several months, as payment history patterns take a while to form.
- Credit Utilization (30%) – this can be improved quite quickly, as banks usually report your credit utilization around the time of your payment due date.
- Credit History (15%) – this includes the average age of your accounts, and although your average age is what it is, there is a way to age it further, which we’ll get to down below.
- Credit Mix (10%) – this is the variety of credit products you use. More diverse is better. However, it’s not easy to target this to get a quick increase in credit score.
- New Credit (10%) – too many new credit applications in a short amount of time will hurt your score. A moderate pace can improve it. You’ve got to take hard pull effects into account though.
3. Choose some or all factors to target
Now that you know the factors that contribute to your credit score, you can probably make a general guess as to what is affecting your credit score by comparing it to your credit report and taking note of your paying habits. Is it a paying problem? Are there negative accounts on your report due to unpaid debt? Are you using more than 30% of your overall credit?
To help you further plan out how you’ll tackle your credit score problem, we’ve created a chart for you that outlines the best methods to boost your credit score within a month and what they affect in your credit profile.
For a detailed guide, check out our DIY credit repair guide.
Best Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Quickly (within a month)
Now that you’ve taken note of where you might be lacking in terms of your credit profile, use the chart below to prioritize your actions to start improving your credit score.
|Action:||What it helps:|
|Call and dispute old collections accounts to get them removed||Payment History|
|Call debtors to negotiate for lower payment, then pay it||Payment History|
|Get a secured credit builder credit card||Payment History, Credit Utilization, and Credit Mix|
|Pay off your credit card to get utilization <30%||Credit Utilization|
|Ask for a credit increase without a hard pull||Credit Utilization|
|Get added as an authorized user to the oldest credit card possible*||Credit History (average account age)|
*When you’re looking to get added as an authorized user, whether with a family member or a friend, ask if you can get added to their oldest credit card. This will help the most. For example, if your family member’s oldest credit card is 20 years old, get added to that one. If you have one other credit card that has an age of 4 years, for example, being added as an authorized user to the 20-year-old card will increase your credit age from 4 years to 12 years ((4 + 20)/2 = 12). That’s a massive difference and potentially a huge help to your credit profile. If your family member starts to default on payments, simply call the credit bureaus to get the account removed from your report. It’s a no-lose proposition that you should be taking advantage of.
As you can see, you’ve got quite a few options, and if your credit score is lower than you’d like, there’s a really good chance you can take action on one or more of the above. Each of the methods mentioned all have different ways of helping you improve your credit profile, and some may work faster than others. Your results will vary.
Many of these can be done to improve your credit score inside of a month but will continue to benefit you afterwards. For example, getting a secured credit card will help you at around a month when you’ve paid off your first statement and have kept your utilization under 30%. But you’ll still keep seeing benefits for as long as you stick with it and utilize it properly.
Improving your credit score within a month is certainly possible. However, it’s a marathon and you’ve got to keep it up over the long run. First, work on improving the factors that are within your control and see what you can do in a month. Then continue to build good habits. Before you know it, you’ll get to your goal score in no time.