Having a low FICO score can make it difficult to qualify for a mortgage, loan or credit card, and people with low FICO scores typically receive high interest rates and fees. You can improve your credit score quickly and be on your way to getting more approvals and lower rates.
What Goes Into a FICO Score?
The credit bureaus compile the information from your credit report into five categories: payment history, available credit limit, length of your credit history, types of credit you have and applications for new credit. They use these categories to create your FICO score. Each category has a different impact on your credit score. Paying your bills on time each month accounts for 35 percent of your score. How much debt you owe accounts for 30 percent. The length of your credit history accounts for 15 percent. Having different types of credit accounts for 10 percent, and applying for new credit accounts for 10 percent, according to Bankrate.
Factors That Improve a FICO Score
Paying all of your bills by the due date each month and keeping the balances on your credit cards low will have the largest impact on your credit score. Paying down a high balance on a credit card will give your FICO score a quick boost. Other factors, like opening a small personal loan, may increase your credit score as it will show you have a mix of credit types on your credit report. As your credit accounts age, your score will also improve. How much of an effect something has on your FICO score will depend on your credit history. For example, if a consumer with a history of missed payments starts making all of his payments on time, his credit score will likely increase more than someone who has no missed payments.
Length of Time Needed to Improve a FICO Score
Your FICO score will increase as soon as the creditor reports the new positive information to the credit bureaus. However, this can take up to 30 days in some instances, and some creditors do not report to the credit bureaus at all. For example, utility companies, wireless providers and some gas cards do not often report payment history to the credit bureaus. However, consumers will see small but consistent results on their FICO score if they keep adding positive information to the credit report.
Your credit report may contain inaccurate information or accounts that do not belong to you. Removing or correcting inaccurate information on your credit report will raise your FICO score. You can receive a free copy of your credit report from each bureau once a year through Annual Credit Report. Once you order your credit reports, examine each one carefully and dispute any errors with the credit bureaus directly. You can dispute errors with the bureaus by mail or online.