Drive-through meals, overnight service, and quick fixes; in our culture of impatience, we like things to happen quickly. The same mentality is common when it comes to increasing our credit scores. We know it is important to have as high a score as possible and that when practiced over a long enough time period, a dedication to using credit responsibly will cause your credit score to rise. But what if you need results sooner than that? If you're looking for an easy way you may be able to increase your credit score by a few points, here are three tricks of the trade:
1) Make your credit card payments just before the reporting date so your reports show lower balances. Your credit report should show what day of the month your creditors are submitting account updates to the credit bureaus. When you find out this date, make a note to yourself every month to pay your credit cards about 3 to 5 days prior to when the accounts get reported. Your reports will then reflect the lower outstanding balance,instead of the balance after your last payment plus new charges added since the payment, giving your credit score a little boost.
2) Use old credit cards now and then. Most of us have a few older cards that were used only once or twice when buying that new electronics equipment, or a department store account you opened to get 30 percent off your purchase. Pull those cards out and use them for small purchases you can easily pay off the next month. These old accounts will then show activity again (positive activity because you paid them off), and that will reflect well on your credit rating.
3) Untapped credit is a good thing, so keep your utilization ratios at about 30 or less across all of your cards. For example, if your credit limit is $10,000, keep the balance at or below $3,300. Furthermore, 3 cards with a $1,000 balance on each is better than one card with a $3,000 balance; same total outstanding balance, but spreading it out helps out your score. Although common sense tells you it shouldn't matter, you will need to learn to play the game to achieve the best score.
So a few quick fixes are great, but they're not going to be enough to restore a low credit score. If you are looking to improve a low credit score by more than a few points, in less time than it would take for a credit score to improve on its own, you'll need to look beyond simple fixes. Depending on your unique credit situation, increasing your credit score may require disputing questionable negative items on your credit reports, paying down high account balances, diversifying your credit portfolio, reorganizing your account balances, or a combination of tactics.
Solving your credit score problems takes more than quick fixes. It takes time, knowledge, and perseverance to clean up your credit reports. It will be worth it in the end, and in a society where instant results are expected, credit repair proves that sometimes there are things worth working for.
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Since 1991, Lexington Law, the trusted leader in credit repair, has been helping clients take action on their credit. For more information about Lexington Law or about your credit score, visit LexingtonLaw.com
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