Do you have a low credit score? Do you wish to give it a boost so that you can start getting approved for loans again? If so, there are steps you can take to raise your credit score by 200 points over a reasonable period of time.
There’s no way to avoid it: this will take longer than a week or a month. However, it could happen in a little as 3 to 6 months. You just have to know the right way to go about doing it.
Let’s go over the specific steps of how you can raise your credit score by up to 200 points.
1) Request Free Credit Reports
You are entitled to a free copy of your credit report each year. You can receive a separate free copy of your credit report from each of the three primary credit reporting bureaus: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. You can do this at the official government website AnnualCreditReport.com. You can also pay a small fee at one the three credit bureau websites to find out your exact numerical credit score.
After you receive copies of your credit report, double check to make sure the reporting information on them is correct. This includes the list of open and closed accounts, payment history, legal judgements, and collections.
If there are any outstanding balances on your report, then you must work to eliminate that debt first.
2) Fix Errors on Your Credit Reports
Sometimes you might pay off an outstanding loan or debt, but the creditor won’t report it to the credit bureaus. This means you have to file a dispute with the credit bureaus and provide them with documentation which proves you paid off that debt. Your case will be reviewed internally to determine the validity of your claim. If it is found to be valid, then your credit report will be updated with the corrections.
Always dispute any errors on your credit report. It will have a tremendously positive effect on your credit score.
3) Consolidate Your Debts
The worst thing you can have are several outstanding debts at high interest rates. If you cannot pay them all off yourself right away, then consider applying for a consolidation loan which pays off all your creditors for you. Then you will only owe money to one creditor instead of several creditors. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has some great debt consolidation tips if you are looking into this option.
Owning money to one creditor looks much better on your credit report. Be sure to make your monthly payments on time and don’t get yourself into more debt that is outside of your affordability.
4) Get a Secured Credit Card
Secured credit cards are a powerful way for someone with bad credit to increase their credit score. When you apply for a secured credit card, you must put your own money toward the credit limit. For example, if you want a $1,000 credit limit on your secured credit card, then you must make a cash deposit of $1,000. This ensures the lender that they won’t lose any money by issuing the card to you.
As you spend money on the card, you will make monthly payments toward the balance. These monthly payments will be reported to the three credit bureaus, which means it’ll have a positive effect on your credit report. After 3 to 6 months, you may get approved for a regular credit card if your credit score has gone up enough.
5) Avoid Any New Credit
All those new offers of credit you get in the mail or see online? Ignore them for now. Applying for new lines of credit, excluding the above mentioned secured credit cards, may have a negative effect on your score.
Furthermore, some creditors will initiate an inquiry on your credit report when you submit an application. This can also hurt your credit score.
6) Use a Co-Signer
If you’re in desperate need to purchase a car or are faced with an unexpected emergency expense and you need a loan quickly, then you might run into problems with a bad credit score.
In these cases, try to find a family member or close friend who might consider becoming a co-signer on your loan. A lender will approve the loan if someone with a better credit score has co-signed the loan with you. The good news is if you make your payments on time, it’ll improve your own credit score. But if you are late with your payments, then it will ruin both of your credit scores.
7) Sign Up for Credit Monitoring
The final step to increasing your credit score by 200 points is to simply keep track of your score each month. You can sign up for a monthly credit monitoring service by visiting an authorized credit reporting company. You can also sign up directly on the websites of the credit bureaus too.
It is important to receive regular updates of your credit score because you’ll want to see if it is increasing or decreasing. Not only that, but you’ll be able to detect whether you’re the victim of identity theft. If you recognize credit accounts on your report that don’t belong to you, then you can freeze your credit right away before the identity thief does any more damage to your score.
Nothing is guaranteed, but If you follow these steps carefully and never miss another payment to a creditor, then your credit score will increase by 200 points faster than you think.