How to Increase Your Credit Score By As Many As 40 Points

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Paying off credit card debt can boost your credit score.

While the Fair Isaac Corporation, or FICO, will not reveal exactly how it calculates credit scores, particular factors in your credit history contribute to your score. Taking certain actions can raise your score 40 points or more and help qualify you for prime interest rates. The actual number of points your credit score will rise with each strategy varies. Some approaches may give your score an immediate boost, whereas others will raise your score by 40 points over time.

Instructions

    • 1

      Work on repairing your credit. Order a free copy of your credit reports (see Resources) and then scrutinize each report line by line. Find out why you have a low credit score. Check for misspellings and any information that is incorrect or outdated. By law, a credit bureau must remove negative items listed on your credit report after seven years. Look for any unexplained items or accounts you don't recognize. Since not reporting errors can hurt your credit score, dispute any errors you find in writing so that you can have them removed. This will help raise your score and get you closer to that 40 point increase.

    • 2

      Raise your credit score quickly through rapid rescoring. You can gain up to 40 points by requesting a rescore after having negative items removed from your credit report. Consider rapid rescoring after paying down a huge balance.

    • 3

      Manage your credit sensibly. Give your credit score an even higher boost by paying your bills on time and limiting the amount of debt you incur. The positive actions you take today to improve your credit can have a greater impact on your credit score than the negative items noted on your credit report in the past. Increase your credit score by at least 40 points over a four- to six-month period by charging small purchases and then paying the entire balance each month. The points may tally up faster if you make it a habit to pay the bills early.

    • 4

      Pay more than the minimum payments each month on credit card accounts. If you don't, you could be paying only on interest. In that case, the principal balance will actually increase instead of you paying it down. Making credit card payments on time for six straight months can help give your credit score as much as a 40-point hike. Pay as much extra as you can afford. Those 40 points could make a difference when it comes to getting a low interest rate mortgage loan approved.

    • 5

      Decrease the amount of debt you owe. Craig Watts, public relations manager at Fair Isaac, warns that having high credit card or other revolving credit balances will hurt your credit score. It's not an absolute guarantee, but if other factors on your credit report look good, your credit score can potentially increase between 20 and 40 points each time you pay down a high balance credit card.

    • 6

      Apply for a secured credit card from a major bank. Try this strategy if you have no credit history or a bad credit history. Paying the balance in full when the bill comes due could raise your score by as many as 40 points each month.

Tips & Warnings

  • Chip away at your debt by paying off your smallest balances first or the balance with the highest interest rate. It doesn't matter which technique you choose. As you pay off one debt, apply the additional money each month to another outstanding balance. Paying off larger balances may increase your credit score by even more points.

  • You will need to make a deposit in advance in order to get a secured credit card. In most cases, you will be allowed to charge amounts up to the amount you deposit on the card.

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References

Resources

  • Photo Credit Debt concept - cutting a credit card image by Sophia Winters from Fotolia.com

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