1. Pay down revolving balances to less than 30%
Your aggregate debt and the amounts owed on all credit cards and all installment accounts make up about 30% of your credit score. The most common revolving balances are amounts owed on your credit cards. However, there is a big difference between the revolving balances of someone with a 780 credit score and a 680 credit score.
- Credit score of 680 → revolving balances of 40%-50% of their credit card limits.
- Credit score of 780 → revolving balances of 15%-25% of their credit card limits.
Essentially, don’t worry too much about paying installment accounts. They have a low impact on your score. Instead, pay your revolving balances off as soon as possible. At the very least, aim to pay those balances down to less than 30%. This will help to improve your credit score in 30 days or less.
2. Remove recent late payments
A single late payment can drop your credit score by 60 to 110 points. Yikes!
- A 680 credit score → a 30-day late payment can drop your score by 60 to 80 points. On the other hand, a 90-day late payment can drop your score 70 to 90.
- A 780 credit score → a 30-day late payment can drop your score by 90 to 110 points. In contrast, it can drop 105 to 135 points if you have a 90-day late payment.
The difference between a person with a 780 score and a 680 score is that the 780 score has no late payments, while a person with the 680 may have a 30 day late payment within the last year or a 90 day late payment 2 years ago.
Removing a late payment will take persistence. There are a couple of ways to request removal. The most common and effective way is to call the original creditor and ask for a goodwill adjustment. If they resist, you can even negotiate the removal of the late payment by agreeing to sign up for automatic payments. For other late payments, you can file a dispute against the late payment for inaccuracy.
3. Remove a collection account
People with a 780 credit score do not have any collections or other major derogatory items on their credit report. If you do have a collection account reporting on your credit report, you should try to get the collection deleted.
Do NOT just pay a collection. A paid collection usually doesn’t help improve your credit score! Instead, negotiate a “pay for delete” IN WRITING with the collector. Only when you have a written agreement should you pay a collection account, and then work on getting the account deleted.
4. Raise your credit limits
Call your credit card companies and request a raise to your credit limits. Ask if they can raise your credit limit with a soft pull of your credit since a hard inquiry will appear under the “New Credit” category of your FICO score. If you can negotiate an increase of your credit limit with a soft inquiry, then you will instantly decrease your revolving balance ratio (revolving balance divided by your credit card limits).
If you have low balances and good payment history, then your chances of successfully executing this tactic will increase.
5. Charge small amounts to inactive credit card
It’s easy to neglect older credit cards when you have a primary credit card that you use every day. If your credit cards haven’t had activity in the last six months, charge a small amount to the credit card. Creditors want to see that you are using the credit available to you as well as paying the balances off responsibly. Charging a small amount and paying off the balance shows that you have a different mix of credit in use, which makes up a portion of your FICO score.
6. Get credit
No credit equals bad credit. You need credit accounts to be reporting to your credit report in order to improve your credit score. You must have at least 1 open revolving account, even if you have no negative accounts. In addition, this revolving credit account must have been used in the last 6 months.
There are a couple of ways to get credit to improve your credit score in 30 days. One way is opening a secured credit card, with preference being given to a card that reports as an unsecured card with your credit limit to all three bureaus.
The other way is to add yourself to a seasoned tradeline. Someone with good credit history can add you as a co-signer, where you are equally responsible for all debt. Or, they can add you as an authorized user, where you are not responsible for any of the debt – and Mortgage FICO 5 will count the history as yours.