Money Smarts Blog


How To Improve Your Credit Score By 100 Points With These 5 Steps

Jan 15, 2020 || Christie Rangel, Member Experience Manager

Girl sitting on her couch, on her computer

 

Let’s hit the ground running to get your credit in tip top shape by the end of the year. The higher your credit score, the lower the interest rate a lender will give you. Which means more money in your pocket. Why not dive in with a 100-point increase? Check out the 5 steps below to boost your score.

But, first, is boosting your score by 100 points doable?

According to Rod Griffin, director of public education for Experian, increasing your score by 100 points is definitely doable! However, how much your score increases is dependent on what your score currently is. For example, someone starting with a lower score is more likely to see a bigger impact than someone who has a higher score to start. Regardless of where you start, everyone can enjoy a great credit score by following the steps below.

1. Know what you’re working with

Before you make any decisions to improve your credit, check to see what your current score is. The steps you’ll take will be different depending on if you have low, medium or high credit.

Luckily, you can find all your credit information in one place, your “credit report”. This report will break your score down into the following areas:

  • Payment history: 35%
  • Total amounts owed: 30%
  • Length of credit history: 15%
  • New credit: 10%
  • Type of credit in use: 10%

Everything you need to know about your credit will be in this report and some even give suggestions on steps to improve your credit.

The best tools we’ve found to get your score are the Mint app or CreditKarma.com. These options are free and give you background knowledge on how your score was created. Of course, if you need additional assistance, the IHMVCU Financial Center is there to help!

2. Pay off past due balances/keep up with payments

Payment history makes up a whopping 35 percent of your overall credit score. 35 percent! That’s a huge number just for making your payments on time.

And it’s more than just credit card payments. It also includes retail accounts, installment loans, finance company accounts and mortgage loans. So every time you’re paying your home loan on time, you’re actually improving your credit score! Make this a habit with every line of credit/loan you have, and your score will improve in no time.

3. Don’t open or close too many accounts

The length of your credit history is only 15 percent of your overall score but can do a lot of damage. Opening or closing too many accounts in a short amount of time can seriously hurt your score.

However, it also has the potential to greatly benefit you. Try to wait at least six months between applying for credit cards or loans (including refinancing) and you’ll see an improvement. This shows creditors that you don’t need credit/loans and are more likely to be financially stable.

If you apply for a Walmart credit card on Monday and then a Target credit card on Wednesday (of the same week), creditors might see you as unreliable or unstable. In order to keep that score high and make the bank trust you, give it some time between applications.

4. Keep your debt low

Just because your credit limit is $2,000, it doesn’t mean you need to spend the entire $2,000 in one trip (oops). Even using half of your $2,000 limit isn’t a good idea.

 You can thank credit utilization ratio for limiting your shopping spree. According to this ratio, you should only use about 30 percent for each line of credit. So, of that $2,000, it’s best to only have $600 on the card at one time. If you go over that you may see a dip in your score, BUT your on-time payments will help give it a boost. 

Credit cards are an important part of building and maintaining credit but you need to make sure you use them responsibly. That means paying them on time every month and now using more than 30% of your line of credit.

5. Utilize tools like Experian Boost

Typically, your credit report will be made up of items like credit cards and loans. That’s why using a resource like Experian Boost is such a game changer. With this tool you can add re-occurring payments like utility bills, cell phone bills, etc. to your credit history and start earning credit on these transactions.

What’s even more exciting, is that you don’t have to start over with your payment history. Once the bill is uploaded into the program, it automatically syncs your payment history with that company.

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