A poor credit score can prevent you from getting a job, buying a house or renting an apartment. However all hope is not lost, if you have a poor or fair credit score, the following ten steps will make a considerable improvement to your credit score.
You can quickly raise credit scores in the following ways:
1. By removing information that is wrong and affecting you negatively
2. By changing your behavior so you pay bills on time and do not carry a lot of debt
3. By "rapid re-scoring", a method of quickly re-computing score after debt is reduced (usually paying off balances)
Each step can be completed in less than 31 days.
Step # 1: Remove negative accounts
You will need to obtain all three copies of your credit reports from each of the three credit bureaus – Experian, Equifax & Transunion. Do not use the free annualcreditreport.com website to obtain your credit reports, because free credit reports DO NOT show you what your credit score is. You will only be able to obtain your credit score by paying for it. The best place to obtain all your credit reports along with all three of your credit scores will be from myfico.com. Ignore all the other optional stuff they try to make you sign up for.
Once you have your credit reports, you will need to review each of them carefully and categorize ALL reported accounts as positive or negative. Narrow in on negative accounts and carefully look for inaccurate information, such as wrong addresses, nicknames, wrong initials, accounts you do not recognize (especially if you have a common surname like Brown, Smith, Jones etc).
Request to have negative accounts deleted from your file if they do not belong to you. Your credit report must be 100% free of errors.
Step # 2: Pay down the balances on all unsecured debt
You should pay down the balances on all your unsecured debt (ie credit cards), so that these unsecured debts are low in comparison to your lines of existing credit. Pay more than the minimum payment every month, better yet pay it off entirely if you can. Try moving your larger credit card debts to lower interest rate cards if you can.
Step # 3: Add accounts with years of perfect payment history to your credit file.
If you can find someone – a relationship, friend or otherwise with a "seasoned account" ie an account with at least 5 years of perfect payment history – you can add up to 80 points or more to your credit score.
Step # 4: Make sure your credit cards are reporting your credit limits or report to all three credit bureaus.
Review your credit card reports to ensure your credit limits are being reported to the credit bureaus. If not, it might seem that you are maxing out your debt ratio. This could cost you as much as 60 – 80 points per incorrectly reported credit report. Not all credit card merchants report your balances to the credit bureaus. You should be able to determine this from your credit report.
Step # 5: Reduce Debt to Income Ratios on your credit cards
As a general rule, try not to use more than 70% of your available credit balance. If your credit limit is $ 10,000, do not ever use more than $ 3,000! That may seem silly to some, but stop for a moment and think about this from the side of a credit merchant. Who would you rather extend credit to; someone who spends less than $ 3,000 with a $ 10,000 credit limit or someone who spends $ 9,500 with a $ 10,000 credit limit?
Credit scores are extremely important. Low scores can cost you money – especially in terms of higher insurance rates and lost job opportunities.