Your credit score is important because it helps you achieve many major milestones in life such as buying a house or a new car. It tells lenders how responsible you are with credit and is a significant measure of your financial health.
Getting credit when you have a low credit score or none at all can be frustrating because it makes it almost impossible to get approved or get affordable credit. A good credit score gives you more access to credit at lower interest rates.
But high credit scores don't happen overnight, they take time and effort. That's why it's best to begin immediately. Whether you're repairing your score or building your credit from scratch, here are some simple tips to help you improve your credit score fast.
Pay Your Bills on Time
Your payment history is one of the most critical determinants of your credit score. Don't borrow money if you're unsure about making payments on time. It will hurt your credit. Pay your cell phone bill, streaming service bills, and monthly utility bills on time to boost your credit.
Having a long history of on-time payments can increase your credit scores. 90% of top lenders use FICO credit scores which are composed of five factors: payment history, credit usage, age of credit accounts, credit mix, and new credit inquiries. Of these, payment history affects your credit score the most.
Avoiding late payments is a simple way to build your credit score fast. You can create a filing system to keep track of monthly bills, set due-date alerts for your bills, and automate bill payments. Always make payments on time, even if you pay the minimum.
LevelCredit and Rental Kharma are some rent-reporting services you can use to improve your score. They include bills you're already paying in your credit report, building a good history for paying on time. Some credit bureaus like Experian also offer a way to incorporate cell phone and utility bills into your credit report, and this can help you.
Lower Your Credit Utilization
Credit bureaus typically assess how much you’re currently borrowing and compare that to how much you’re allowed to. This is referred to as credit utilization. It's the percentage of your credit limit you’re using at a time. The lower your utilization, the better your score.
In FICO credit score calculations, it’s the second most-important component after payment history. Paying your credit card balances fully every month is one way to guarantee your credit utilization stays within a safe level.
The high balance alert feature on your credit card can help you avoid using the card when your credit utilization ratio rises. Consistently maxing out your credit accounts implies you’re struggling financially, and this can lower your credit scores.
It’s best to use a small percentage of your available credit. Try to maintain your outstanding balance (total) at less than 30% of your total credit limit. Aim to reduce this figure to 10% which is best for building your credit score.
You can also request your credit limit to be increased online or over the phone. You only need to provide your updated annual income. But avoid increasing your expenditure to match the new limit. For example, when you have an emergency, you can try car title loans instead of using your credit card.
It can take weeks, sometimes months, to see a noticeable change in your credit score. However, the sooner you begin, the sooner you will improve your credit.