4 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score in a 30-Day Period

  • Credit scores can impact your interest rates, insurance premiums, and even utility bills.
  • While you can’t improve your score overnight, there are steps you can take to raise it in 30 days.
  • You can dispute mistakes, avoid applying for new lines of credit, make large payments, and more.
  • Read more from Personal Finance Insider.

It can be hard to believe that a three-digit number can have such a major impact on your financial health, but credit scores are something to take seriously.

The lower your credit score, the more “risky” you appear to lenders, and the higher your loan interest rates may be. Low credit scores can also affect things like insurance premiums, utilities, and cell phone plans.

Credit scores range from 300 to 850, though anything below a 669 is considered a poor credit score, according to FICO and VantageScore scoring modules. Things like missed payments, high credit utilization, and credit pulls can all negatively affect your score.

If you have a less-than-ideal score, you’ll want to do everything you can to build it back up, as quickly as possible. While getting to a perfect credit score won’t happen overnight, there are a few ways to boost your credit score in 30 days or less.

1. Dispute mistakes on your credit report

The first step to raising that three-digit number is to check your report to figure out what’s holding you back. If there’s an error that’s hurting your score, you can dispute them and get them removed from your report. Errors are also much more common than you think.

You can check your credit report for free at AnnualCreditReport.com. You’re entitled to a free weekly credit report from the three national reporting agencies — Equifax, Experian, and Transunion — through April 2022, as part of government’s COVID-19 relief.

2. Make consistent and larger payments

One of the best ways to improve your score is by paying your bills on time. While you can’t erase missed payments, you can give your score a boost by paying off as much of your balances as possible.

Also, ignore the whole myth that carrying a credit card balance builds credit — it doesn’t. In fact, paying off all your purchases every month can avoid interest and help your credit score rise.

Creditors report your outstanding balance to the credit bureaus at the end of every month — so paying off your balance before the closing date can possibly boost your score. Just make sure you’re not continuing to overspend on your card once you pay it off.

3. Reduce your utilization ratio

Your credit utilization ratio is the percentage of your credit limit you’re spending each month. Keeping your utilization ratio under 30% can help boost your score, as it’s a sign that you’re doing a good job managing your money and you’re avoiding overspending.

You also may want to consider requesting a credit limit increase from your credit card issuer. This can reduce your overall ratio and improve your credit score over time.

Keep in mind that a credit limit increase requires a hard credit pull, which can cause your score to drop a few points in the short term.

4. Avoid applying for new lines of credit

Now may not be the best time to apply for a new credit card or buy a house. These actions require a hard credit pull, and too many hard inquiries can lower your overall score.

What’s more, getting a second credit card if you’re already dealing with debt and overspending may not be the smartest move. Instead, focus on shoring up your current accounts and improving your score as much as possible before applying for a new card.

If you still plan to apply for a new card, don’t make the mistake of applying for a bunch at once. You might think applying for a bunch of cards increases your chances of at least one of the companies approving your request. But it can hurt you.

Every credit card application you make triggers a hard credit inquiry, which may cause your credit score to take a slight hit, typically less than five points. If you apply for multiple cards, those hits add up.

While these actions can’t guarantee a certain score 30 days from now, they are all great steps in the direction of that 850 score.

The key to improving your credit score is to be as consistent as possible — and patient! While it may take some time, you’ll definitely be in a better place than you were a month ago.

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