- Credit scores can impact your interest rates, insurance premiums, and even your utility bills.
- Although you can’t improve your score overnight, you can take steps to increase it in 30 days.
- You can dispute errors, avoid applying for new lines of credit, make large payments, etc.
- Learn more about Personal Finance Insider.
It may be hard to believe that a three-digit number can have such a big impact on your financial health, but credit scores are something to take seriously.
The lower your credit score, the more “risky” you appear to lenders and the higher the interest rates on your loan can be. Low credit scores can also affect things like insurance premiums, utilities, and cell phone plans.
Credit scores range from 300 to 850, although anything below 669 is considered bad credit, according to the FICO and VantageScore scoring modules. Things like missed payments, high credit usage, and credit draws can all negatively affect your score.
If you have a less than ideal score, you’ll want to do all you can to rebuild it as quickly as possible. While getting a perfect credit score doesn’t happen overnight, there are several ways to boost your credit score in 30 days or less.
1. Dispute errors on your credit report
The first step to increasing that number to three digits is to check your report to determine what is holding you back. If there is an error that is hurting your score, you can dispute it and have it removed from your report. Errors are also much more common than you might think.
You can check your credit report for free at AnnualCreditReport.com. You are entitled to a free weekly credit report from the three national credit rating agencies – Equifax, Experian and Transunion – until April 2022, as part of government assistance against COVID-19.
2. Make regular, larger payments
One of the best ways to improve your score is to pay your bills on time. While you can’t clear missed payments, you can increase your score by paying off as many of your balances as possible.
Also, ignore the whole myth that carrying a credit card balance boosts credit – it doesn’t. In fact, by paying off all of your purchases each month, you can avoid interest and boost your credit score.
Creditors report your outstanding balance to the credit bureaus at the end of each month. So, paying off your balance before the closing date can potentially increase your score. Just make sure you don’t continue to overspend on your card once you’ve paid it off.
3. Reduce your utilization rate
Your credit utilization rate is the percentage of your credit limit that you spend each month. Keeping your utilization rate below 30% can help boost your score, as it’s a sign that you’re doing a good job managing your money and avoiding overspending.
You may also consider requesting a credit limit increase from your credit card issuer. This can lower your overall ratio and improve your credit score over time.
Keep in mind that a credit limit increase requires high credit demand, which can drop your score a few points in the short term.
4. Avoid asking for new lines of credit
Now may not be the best time to apply for a new credit card or buy a house. These actions require a high demand for credit, and too many hard demands can lower your overall score.
Plus, getting a second credit card if you’re already in debt and overspending might not be the smartest move. Instead, focus on consolidating your current accounts and improving your score as much as possible before applying for a new card.
If you’re still considering applying for a new card, don’t make the mistake of applying for more than one at a time. You might think that asking for a bunch of cards increases your chances of at least one of the companies approving your request. But it can hurt you.
Every credit card application you make triggers a hard credit application, which can cause your credit score to drop slightly, usually less than five points. If you apply for multiple cards, these results add up.
While these actions cannot guarantee a certain score in 30 days, they are all big steps towards that 850 score.
The key to improving your credit score is to be as consistent as possible – and patient! Although it may take some time, you will definitely be in a better place than a month ago.