Most of the time, improving your credit score is a long and laborious process that does not yield immediate results. However, there are a few things you can do to raise your credit score immediately if you have the capital and the financial freedom to do so. Particularly if your credit report contains errors like incorrect credit limits or past-due payments that don’t exist, you can raise your credit score significantly just by making a few calls and avoiding actions that drop your score.
Credit Reports Containing Mistakes
Access your credit report at annualcreditreport.com, which is the only government-approved site where you can get your credit report online. You will need personal information, including your Social Security number, so make sure that you do not access your credit report on a public or wireless connection.
Read carefully through your report and make sure it contains no errors. According to a study by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, 79 percent of credit reports contain some type of mistake. You can significantly and quickly raise your credit score by finding and correcting errors on your credit report.
Send copies of any documents that prove there is a mistake on your credit report to the credit bureau that sent you the report. Credit reporting agencies must investigate these claims and, if necessary, correct the information in your file and send you a free corrected credit report.
Other Ways to Raise Credit
Pay down your debt aggressively if you get an unexpected bonus. The Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO), which calculates credit scores, reports that 30 percent of your score comes from the amount that you owe, including the proportion of available credit that you use. Paying down your debt decreases the amount of available credit that you use, increasing your score.
Do not open several new credit accounts or buy something with a financing plan. Every time you apply for a new card, a lender makes a credit inquiry, which can lower your score. Fair Isaac Corporation claims that one inquiry will not lower your score much, but that several inquiries can drop your score, because it tells lenders that you desperately need money.
Do not apply for store credit cards, even if the initial savings seem tempting. FICO considers people who have store credit cards more of a risk, and their credit score calculation algorithm takes this into account, according to former FICO executive Andy Jolls.
Pay any past due amounts immediately. The longer it takes you to pay a bill, the more it hurts your credit score. Paying off a past-due bill can have a positive effect on your credit score, especially if you get a “goodwill” gesture from a lender. If you usually pay bills on time, a lender may agree to take that late payment off your credit report, which can significantly boost your credit score immediately.
- Federal Trade Commission: How to Dispute Credit Report Errors
- myFICO:What’s in your FICO® score
- myFICO: Credit Inquiries
- Bankrate.com: Store credit card: good deal?
- Fair Isaac Corporation. "What is a Credit Score?" Accessed Oct. 31, 2020.
- TransUnion. "How Long Does It Take for a Credit Report to Update?" Accessed Oct. 31, 2020.
- Fair Isaac Corporation. "How Credit Actions Impact FICO Scores." Accessed Oct. 31, 2020.
- Credit Sesame. "Free Credit Score." Accessed Oct. 31, 2020.
- Credit Karma. "How Credit Karma Works." Accessed Oct. 31, 2020.
- Credit Karma. "Credit Score Simulator." Accessed Oct. 31, 2020.
- Fair Isaac Corporation. "FICO Score—How It Works." Accessed Oct. 31, 2020.
- Experian. "What Is a Rapid Rescore? Is It Something I Should Consider?" Accessed Oct. 31, 2020.
- Fair Isaac Corporation. "Introducing UltraFICO Score." Accessed Oct. 31, 2020.
Ethan Schwartz has been a scientific and freelance writer for a year, writing scientific literature for "Gene Therapy" and articles on education, health and personal finance for eHow. Schwartz graduated in 2009 with a Bachelor of Science in biological sciences and will begin medical school in July 2010.