In this blog we will let you know how to raise your credit score fast including things you could be doing to improve it faster. The truth is, raising your credit score doesn’t have a set timeline and often times you can raise it faster by being proactive.
One of the most common questions we get at Ortiz & Ortiz, LLP is how bankruptcies affect your credit score and for how long. But first, let’s talk about what your credit score is and how it is calculated.
At Ortiz & Ortiz our New York City bankruptcy lawyers have been serving the community for 50 years. As financial and bankruptcy experts we can help put together a plan for you. Do not hesitate to contact us and let us know your case.
How credit scores are calculated
Different companies calculate credit scores differently. That’s why your credit score changes from one to the other. But most of them use at least five big factors. While they may use other factors, or they may weigh them differently, these five things have the greatest impact.
If you want to raise your credit score fast, you should concentrate on these:
- Pay your bills on time: The first one is obvious. Even just making the minimum payment makes a difference. While missing the dates a few times may not affect your score greatly, if you find yourself consistently missing payment deadlines, your credit score will show it. Timely payments can account for up to a third of your credit score.
- Credit utilization: The only other factor that can come close to mattering as much is how much of your credit line you have used up. This is commonly known as credit utilization- or what your balance is against your credit limit. The closer to your credit limit that you get, the lower your credit score will be.
- How mixed your credit types are: This will also be taken into account. There are two major types of credit, rolling credit and installment credit. Credit score companies like to see a mix. That doesn’t mean that the different types of credit weigh the same. Most credit card companies give more weight to rolling credit.
- Amount of hard inquiries: Hard inquiries are usually done by lenders or companies who issue credit cards. They usually need your authorization to run a hard inquiry. The more hard inquiries your report shows, the more your credit score will be hurt.
- Age: So if you are reading this but don’t have any credit yet, you should consider getting even a small credit line. The longer your credit history, the better. Unfortunately, if you already started your credit history, then there is nothing you can do to use this factor to make your credit score go up faster.
How long does it take to rebuild your credit score?
The truth is that getting a good credit score will take time. There are no big shortcuts. With that said, depending on your current score, you may be able to substantially increase your score in a short period of time. As much as 100 points.
Below we will show you a few ways to automatically increase your credit score, like getting wrongly attributed debt out of your report. We will also give you tips to make yourself look better that don’t require taking on more debt or making higher payments than you are doing right now.
Finally, always remember that how much something affects your credit score decreases over time. Being delinquent today will affect you a lot more now than in 6 months. A big part of your credit will be based on your recent credit history, so making some changes as soon as possible will help you raise your credit score faster.
Even if your credit score is good or very good, making some of these changes could give you the extra boost you need to obtain that loan or to qualify for a lower interest rate.
Most things stay on your credit report for seven to ten years. That includes bankruptcies. But the more time that passes, the less it will matter towards your overall credit score. So do what you can and be patient. Getting an excellent credit score takes people years. But if you follow these tips, you can get there too.
Monitor your credit
- The first step towards a better credit score is knowing and understanding the score you have;
- That means not just looking at your credit score, but getting a report on what is affecting your score.
Think of it as a cheat sheet to a better score. By knowing what is bringing your score down or keeping it low, you’ll be able to raise it more effectively. There are many credit monitoring companies out there, and some even do it for free.
In this blog we will tell you about 18 ways to raise your credit score fast, knowing which ones to employ will save you a lot of time and, potentially, money.
Pay creditors on time
Paying your creditors on time is key to a higher credit score:
- When you fail to pay on time you run the risk of having your account reported as delinquent;
- This will bring your score down;
- If you missed a payment or just couldn’t make it, pay it back as soon as possible;
- A lot of credit card companies report the status of accounts at specific dates in the month, so even if you missed the deadline you may still be able to pay your creditor before it gets reported. This will spare you from a delinquency status on your credit report.
It may not be possible for you to pay off all your creditors. Not even the minimum amount due. In those circumstances, you can look for which ones to prioritize. Not all your creditors report to the credit report companies. It costs money to do so. And depending on the credit line, being delinquent can hurt your score differently.
- You may want to pay off your card with the worst credit utilization ratio;
- Or perhaps you want to pay off the cards with the lowest balances to lower the amount of delinquent accounts;
- You may even choose to pay off your debts based on the interest rate.
While none of these may help raise your credit score faster, it will prevent it from getting lower faster. The more time that passes since you were delinquent, the less it will affect your credit score.
Time your payments
For a lot of your creditors, you’ll be able to find out when they send their reports. Knowing when your creditor sends their reports, you can time your payments to a couple of days before it happens. By staying ahead you can make sure that your creditor is sending the most favorable report by having your balance be as low as possible.
Sometimes people end up with a delinquent account simply because they forgot to pay. To avoid this:
- You can add payment deadlines as recurring events on your calendar;
- You can also set up automatic payments so you can be sure no bill passes its due date without payment. And yes, many creditors allow you to set up automatic payments for the minimum amount due.
Use monthly rent and utility payments as “on-time” payments
Reporting to credit agencies costs money, which means some of your creditors may choose not to do it. But if you pay your rent and utilities in time, you can get some services that will report your rent and utility payments as on time credit payments.
The more payments you are making on time, the better your credit score will be. This is a good way to increase your credit score faster by using something you are already doing.
Become an authorized user
Some creditors report credit card activity to credit report agencies for authorized users, as well as the account holder.
Even if you don’t use the account at all. If you know someone who is responsible with their payments, making them on time every month, you can ask that they make you an authorized user. Then your credit report can benefit from their use of a credit line and their on time payments.
While asking someone to let you be an authorized user can be a tricky and difficult question, if you can do it, it will be one of the easiest ways to raise your credit score. Once you are authorized, you can just sit back and reap the benefits.
Improve your credit utilization ratio
Your credit utilization ratio is the amount of debt you have compared to the amount of credit you have.
So if you have two cards with a credit limit of $5,000, and you have used $3,000 on each, you have used $6,000 out of the available $10,000 you have. That would give you a credit utilization ratio of 60%.
The lower your ratio is, the better your score will be. You should aim to have a credit utilization ratio of less than 30%. There are a lot of things you could do to help your credit utilization ratio.
Make payments frequently
Paying your creditors frequently will help. Not only will it mean you are probably at least making the minimum payment on time, it will keep your credit bill lower.
- A lower bill will mean a lower credit utilization ratio;
- A lower ratio can help raise your score.
So even if you are already paying your full bill every month, doing it earlier can still help you raise your credit score, by keeping the ratio lower. Generally, you want to keep your debt as low as possible. Making frequent payments will help you do just that.
Increase your credit limit
As previously mentioned, your credit utilization ratio makes up a part of your credit score. The lower your ratio is, the better your score.
- If you used up $1,000 out of a $5,000 credit line, your ratio is 1/5.
- Getting a credit limit increase will automatically lower your ratio.
- If you increase your credit limit to $10,000, then your ratio would automatically become 1/10.
Getting higher credit limits on all or most of your cards can help raise your credit score faster.
You should call your credit card company and ask if a request for a higher credit limit will require a hard credit inquiry.
- Those types of inquiries can temporarily lower your credit score. If you look financially unstable;
- They may even lower your credit limit, for fear that you are asking for an increase for hard times ahead. This will make you look like a risk. So be sure your financial situation looks stable before you ask for the increase.
Note: Only do this if you are NOT going to be using the credit. Or at least not much. This way it will have the biggest impact on your credit utilization ratio. The bigger the impact, the faster your credit score will rise.
Apply for a credit card
If you don’t have one already, get a credit card.
- Most credit cards don’t charge any interest if you pay the full amount before the due date each month;
- Even if you don’t need to “go into debt,” you could still get a credit card and simply pay it in full every month;
- That way you can lower your credit utilization ratio while making full, on time payments which will show creditors you are responsible with your credit;
- This will be reflected in your credit history- and your credit score.
Don’t close credit card accounts
Even if you are not using a credit card, adding the credit limit to your credit utilization score can help.
If you have two cards with a $5,000 limit, but you only use one of them, then your credit utilization ratio will be the amount you have in that one card over $10,000 (1/10,000). If you close your unused card, it will be over $5,000 (1/5,000), making the ratio higher and your score lower.
You should also use those cards every so often to make sure creditors don’t close them for you.
You might be interested in reading our blog post “When someone dies and who is responsible for their debt” You will learn what happens to unpaid debts when a person passes away.
Pay twice per month
You may pay off your entire balance before it is due, but depending on when your creditor reports your account to the credit bureaus, it may look like you have a much higher credit utilization score than you really do.
- Try to pay some of it early on and the rest later. That way, no matter when the account is reported, you’ll be seen to have a lower credit utilization ratio;
- If you make any big purchases on your credit card, you should pay off the amount as soon as possible.
Finding the line between increasing your overall credit limit and the negative effects of a hard inquiry can be hard. While it is not always the case, applying for a new line of credit can result in a hard credit inquiry, which will lower your score.
However, as we have mentioned before on this blog, having more credit lines means having a higher credit limit. This will increase your credit utilization ratio, which will raise your credit score faster. But if you get too many hard inquiries at once, they may counteract the impact of your smaller credit utilization ratio.
You may want to ask if requesting a new line of credit will result in a hard credit inquiry. Even if it does, you may want to weigh the temporary negative effects of a hard credit inquiry over the long term benefits of a smaller credit utilization ratio.
Periodically use dormant credit cards
As stated before, you don’t want to close an account without good reason, since it will affect your credit utilization ratio.
Periodically using your cards will ensure not only that credit card companies don’t close them, but also that they won’t lower your credit limit. Lowering your credit limit or closing your account altogether will increase your credit utilization ratio.
So be sure to use those cards every once in a while, even if it is just once on a small purchase.
Note: Most companies allow you to set up automatic payments so you don’t have to worry about missing the payment for your small purchase.
Mix your types of debts
It’s a good idea to have both revolving and installment credit accounts.
- Revolving credit accounts roll your debt from one month to the next;
- Installment credit splits one amount into several payments;
- Credit cards are considered revolving credit, while car loans and mortgages are installment credit.
Showing credit companies that you can handle both responsibly will help your credit score.
Note: Some credit report companies do weigh revolving credit with more importance. It takes more responsibility to handle a card where the monthly debt amount is more in your control, rather than a set payment amount and date already agreed upon.
Use a secured credit card or loan
Having a mix of credit helps, as just discussed. But that’s not always possible. Sometimes, due to a short credit history or a bad credit score, it can be hard to get a credit card or loan.
If that’s the case, you can turn to secured loans or lines of credit. In these instances, you will be asked to back up the credit using an account or by giving the money up front.
So, while it won’t help you if you are already in need of money, But if you currently have a little saved up you can use it to get a secured line of credit. This will help you raise your credit score faster so long as you make your payments on time.
Negotiate outstanding balances
Creditors like when their loans are paid in full, but that doesn’t always happen. As a law firm specializing in bankruptcy, we have helped many debtors get rid of millions in debt. Creditors like that even less. That’s why they are willing to negotiate your debt. You can always call your creditor and try to negotiate your balance.
Sometimes they will take a lower overall amount if you agree to pay within a certain time. This could help lower your bills by thousands. However, these pay off agreements can be added to your credit report. This will lower your score. It may still be better than keeping your account delinquent for a longer period of time.
What may be best for your credit score depends on how much your debt is and how quickly you could pay it off.
Dispute credit report errors
A fast way to get a higher credit score is by getting rid of debt that isn’t yours.
- You are legally entitled to one free credit report per year;
- For a limited time during the pandemic they are available free of charge once per week;
- By getting credit scores from different bureaus you can check to make sure nothing was erroneously reported.
- You are legally entitled to a credit report that is fair and without errors. If you find an error you can challenge it and, if your creditor can’t back them up, they would be removed from your credit report altogether.
Usually a negative mark like a delinquent account or a claim being filed against you will hurt you for a few years. If there are any such erroneous marks on your report, getting rid of them will help your credit score rise immediately.
Nota: If you are not sure if a debt was accurately reported, you can always check our article on how to find out all your debt.
If you want to raise your credit score fast, there are many things you could do that would help.
- Find out what is affecting your credit score the most. Then, you can look over our list and see which options will have the highest impact.
- Doing everything is not always advisable, but even if it was you can’t do everything at once. Prioritizing the things that affect your score the most will give you the biggest boost in the shortest amount of time.
- The most important thing is to try to make your payments on time. If you have fallen behind, that’s okay. It is never too late to start.
- What you have done most recently will affect your credit score the most, so beginning good credit habits sooner rather than later is highly recommended.
- If your debt has begun to snowball into something too large to be paid off, bankruptcy might be the best avenue for you. While bankruptcies will lower your score and stay on your report for as long as 10 years, they will also wipe out all your debt, so no more delinquency notices for your account.
By pairing a bankruptcy with some of the other options we talked about earlier, like becoming an authorized user or getting a secured line, you could have a good credit score before you know it.
If you are considering filing for bankruptcy in New York, you should talk to an attorney. Filing without an attorney often times leads to your case being dismissed.
Here at Ortiz & Ortiz, LLP we have over 50 years of experience helping people protect their assets and get rid of debt. If you think this might be the best option for you, don’t hesitate to give us a call.