Building a good credit score and maintaining it is, in essence, a long-term process. The best ways to raise credit score expect that you stay financially organized and learn to manage your debts wisely. No doubt, that developing good financial habits consequently helps to raise credit score. But if you’re planning to buy a house in the near future and you discover that you need only a few extra points to get better interest rates, you want to raise credit score ASAP.
You should keep in mind that in the world of credit scores, nothing happens overnight. Even when using the quickest methods to raise credit score, it takes some time for the changes to appear on your credit report. But the sooner you take action, the sooner your score will start to grow. So, here’s what you can do raise your credit score quickly.
1. Get your credit report and credit score.
You have the right to obtain a free copy of your credit report once a year from each of the major consumer reporting agencies (i.e. credit bureaus): Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.
You should get all three reports, because they may differ a bit. Your credit score is a calculation based on the information on your credit report. Different companies have different formulas for calculating the score, but the credit score most commonly used is FICO score. On their website, you can make a request to get your current score.
This is the first step on your journey to raise credit score. Your next step is to…
2. Examine your credit reports carefully and search for inaccurate information.
The first time you see your credit report, you may be amazed how much information about you it actually contains. Unfortunately, not all of this information is correct. Research has actually shown that 25-50% of credit reports contain errors.
One reason why these errors occur is that you may be mistaken for someone with the same name as you, and this other person’s data ends up in your report. Another, and a much more serious cause of erroneous data is identity theft. So, if you spot outdated, incomplete or totally strange information, the next thing to do is to…
3. Determine the cause of inaccuracies on your credit report.
If you think the credit bureau has you mixed up with someone else, first make sure they have your full name spelled correctly. Also check if your social security number on the credit report is correct. Look at the address, too – if your current address differs from the one on your report, it may cause confusion.
If you do find errors like this, contact the credit bureaus to sort it out immediately. In case you notice strange accounts or payments on your report and you suspect you may be a victim of identity fraud, contact the police, as well as your creditors and credit bureaus.
4. Contact credit bureaus to dispute errors on your report.
Besides the errors in your personal data, your credit report may show late payments that actually were paid on time, closed accounts still listed as open, outstanding debts that you have paid off, and so on. If such mistakes occur, the credit bureaus are obliged to investigate and correct them.
First you have to send them a dispute letter, where you point out the errors you believe your credit report contains. Free samples of dispute letters are available on the Internet. Add copies of relevant documents to support your claim.
Credit bureaus have to investigate the inaccurate information in 30 business days and delete the errors. If the credit bureau can’t verify the negative information within this time, it has to be deleted, too. If your report gets corrected, you have the right to get a free copy of it.
You can also ask the credit bureau to send your corrected report to anyone who has inquired your records in past 6 months. Be sure to make copies of the letters you send to credit bureaus and the ones you receive!
5. Start paying your bills on time and pay off outstanding debt without closing old accounts.
In addition to disputing errors in your report, these two methods can raise credit score most quickly. Late payments that were made years ago don’t affect your credit score as much as the recent ones. Automate your bank payments and get organized, and may raise credit score within a few months.
You also may gain this delightful result if you pay off your outstanding debt. If you decide to pay off your loan, don’t close the account. Here’s the reason behind this advice. Using a lower percentage of total credit available to you raises your score, but if you close a credit account, your total available credit decreases. Hence, if you shut down the account, you may still be close to maxing out your credit – which decreases your score.
If just a few missing credit points hinder you from getting better interest rates, following the tips above may solve your problem relatively quickly. If two or three months still is too long for you to wait, there are other legal options to raise credit score quickly.