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Raising Credit Score Fast: Strategies for Quick Improvement

Jessica Cotzin Updated: December 3, 2023 • 6 min read
building blocks of credit

In today's financial landscape, a good credit score is more than just a number - it's a passport to financial opportunities. From securing loans at favorable rates to renting an apartment, your credit score plays a pivotal role.

Understanding and improving this score is crucial, especially if you want to make significant changes fast. This article delves into credit scores, outlining strategies to boost them quickly. It also highlights the importance of credit reports, payment history, and FICO scores.

Why Does a Good Credit Score Matter?

You can save a lot of money over time by having a good credit score. It increases your chances of getting approved for loans and credit cards. Better credit card offers may include rewards and higher limits. Landlords prefer tenants with good credit, so renting is easier. Utility providers might require a smaller deposit. Insurers often offer lower premiums to those with high scores. A high score can boost your job prospects. It gives you negotiating power with lenders and banks.

Additionally, a high score gives you financial confidence. In summary, it impacts borrowing, saving, housing, and even employment. It demonstrates responsible financial management.

Key Strategies to Improve Your Credit Score Quickly

1. Review Credit Reports for Errors

The first step in boosting your credit score is ensuring the accuracy of your credit reports from the three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Errors, such as misreported late payments or incorrect loan balances, can unfairly drag your score down. Regularly reviewing and disputing inaccuracies is crucial for maintaining a healthy score.

Impact: Correcting errors can lead to significant improvements, as accurate data is crucial for a fair score.

Timeframe: Dispute resolution can take up to 30 days, with potential score improvement soon after.

2. Payment History: On-time Payments

Your payment history significantly impacts your credit score, accounting for 35% of your FICO score. Late payments can leave a lasting negative imprint. Setting up automatic payments and maintaining timely payments are essential to building and maintaining a strong credit score.

Impact: Consistently paying on time can boost your score, as your payment history is a major component.

Timeframe: Positive effects can be observed within a few billing cycles, often within 1-2 months.

3. Credit Utilization Strategies

Credit utilization – the ratio of your credit card balance to your credit limit – should be kept below 30%. High utilization can negatively impact your score. Paying down balances and maintaining lower credit card balances are effective ways to manage credit utilization.

Impact: Lowering utilization can quickly enhance your score, especially if it significantly reduces your overall debt.

Timeframe: Changes in utilization are generally reflected in the next billing cycle, potentially impacting the score within a month.

4. Diversifying the Credit Mix

Having a mix of credit types, including installment (like a mortgage) and revolving credit (like credit cards), can positively impact your score. This diversification shows lenders your ability to manage different types of credit responsibly.

Impact: A diverse credit mix can moderately improve your score by demonstrating responsible management of different credit types.

Timeframe: The impact can be seen as new accounts age, typically within 6-12 months.

5. Becoming an Authorized User

Becoming an authorized user on someone else's credit card can be a fast track to better credit. This method allows you to benefit from the primary user's positive credit habits, such as low credit utilization and consistent on-time payments.

Impact: This can have a substantial effect, especially if the primary user has a strong credit history.

Timeframe: Improvements can be observed within 1-2 billing cycles after being added to the account.

6. Using Secured Credit Cards

Secured credit cards are a viable option for those with little to no credit history or recovering from bad credit. They require a security deposit and typically have lower limits, helping to build credit through controlled spending and regular payments.

Impact: Builds credit steadily, particularly beneficial for those with limited or damaged credit history.

Timeframe: Score improvements can be noticed within 3-6 months of responsible use.

6. Increasing Credit Limits

Higher credit limit = better ratio if spending doesn't increase. But beware, some lenders make hard credit inquiries that can temporarily lower your score.

Impact: Higher limits can improve utilization ratios, positively affecting the score.

Timeframe: Credit score can improve within a month post-approval of the limit increase.

7. Maintaining Older Credit Accounts

The age of your credit accounts contributes to your credit score. Keeping older accounts open, even with minimal use, can positively affect your credit age, thereby boosting your score.

Impact: Preserves credit history length, contributing positively but modestly to the score.

Timeframe: Continuous, as long as the accounts remain open and active.

8. Avoiding Frequent New Account Applications

Frequent applications for new credit can lead to multiple hard inquiries, negatively impacting your score. Being strategic about when and how often you apply for new credit is crucial.

Impact: Reduces the number of hard inquiries, which can marginally improve the score.

Timeframe: Impact can be immediate, with further gradual improvement over several months.

9. Handling Past-due Accounts

Addressing past-due accounts is essential. Bringing these accounts current can stop further negative marks on your credit report. Sometimes, negotiating with creditors or engaging in debt consolidation strategies might be necessary.

Impact: New accounts can improve a credit score, especially if there have been recent delinquencies.

Timeframe: Improvement can be seen within a few months after accounts are brought current.

10. Dealing with High Credit Card Balances

Managing high credit card balances is crucial. Consolidate debt or transfer balances to lower interest rate cards to manage debt.

Impact: Lowering balances can substantially impact, particularly if initial utilization is high.

Timeframe: Score can improve within 1-2 billing cycles following a balance decrease.


How to check your credit score

To check your real credit score for free, you can use online services like Credit Karma or Exprian, which offer free access to your scores and credit reports. Additionally, many credit card companies and banks provide their customers with free credit score updates as part of their services, which can be accessed through your online account or monthly statements. Remember, these methods provide a 'soft' inquiry on your credit, meaning they won't affect your score. It's a convenient and cost-free way to stay informed about your credit status.

Good habits to follow to maintain good credit

Building good credit doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a never-ending process that can take time. Here are some essential habits you should establish and maintain to keep your score solid for years.

  • Pay your bills on time. Payment history is one of the most influential aspects of your credit score.
  • Keep a vigilant eye on your utilization ratio. Experts recommend using no more than 30% of the credit available on an account to show your responsibility in managing your credit.
  • Keep your balances low. Even if you’re making payments on time, it’s generally good to show control over your spending by keeping your debts as low as possible.
  • Be moderate in applying for credit cards. Applying for too many in a short time will add multiple “inquiries” to your credit report, making you look like a risky borrower.
  • Keep a mix of credit accounts. Having several revolving credit lines can help maintain your credit score.
  • Monitor your credit report and be alert to any potential errors or mistakes that can arise. If you find an inaccuracy, report it immediately to get it rectified.


It’s never too late to build up your credit and implement good habits to help your credit score grow. The key is to always stay on top of your credit. Even if you don’t need to take out a loan anytime soon, you want to be prepared for when you do by taking the necessary steps today that will strengthen your financial profile for the future.

Written by Jessica Cotzin

Jessica Cotzin is a writer and the Lendstart authority on small businesses and personal loans. She has been writing about personal finance and the loans industry for a number of years, and holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Florida Atlantic University.