17 Ways How You Can Increase Your Credit Score

If you're like most Americans today, you could probably use an improvement on your credit score. You've probably heard about people improving their credit scores online using simple tips, but of course they didn't share what the tips were, right?

Today we're unlocking the secrets of credit repair here on Credit Cage. No more wondering what your friends did to fix their credit and no more sifting through useless information online trying to find so called "tips" that don't work. We're about to show you the best credit repair tips to use to safely increase your credit score as soon as TODAY.

Tips For How To Increase Your Credit Score

1.) Learn about "Report Dates", and focus on them.

This might low-key be the best tip we picked up along the way. All creditors have what we call report dates, which is the time of the month that they send information about you to the credit bureaus. A lot of times this date is actually BEFORE the end of the billing cycle (and due date) on your account. This results in creditors reporting that you have much higher debt and account balances than you would had they reported it after your payment. This could lead to you having a lower credit score for no reason.

The easiest way to find out your report date is to pick up the ole telephone and dial your credit card companies. Simply asking them for the reporting date will allow you to write down and keep track of all of the dates you should be paying your various credit cards before.​ As long as your payment gets posted before those dates, that's what will be sent to the bureaus. Nice!

2.) Make Multiple Payments Each Month

This tip applies to people who spend a lot of their available credit each month. If you have something like a $2,500 credit limit but all of your typical monthly expenses add up to $2,000-$2,300 then a quick glance at your credit balance can give the appearance that you're struggling to stay afloat. It doesn't matter if you were planning on paying the whole balance off at the end of the month.

This is why we recommend paying your card at least twice a month​. You don't want the creditor to hit it's reporting date and you be holding 90%+ of your credit line tied up. Never give the appearance of struggling, especially if you are not. There are 3 main benefits of paying multiple times per month:

  • Lower balance reported to FICO/credit bureaus
  • Paying off your balance faster
  • Avoiding any late fees or interest

This simple strategy can work wonders for helping your credit score. You can even schedule multiple auto-payments each month for a "set it and forget it" lifestyle.

3.) Watch Your Credit, Dispute Any Errors or Discrepencies

One of the best things you can do for yourself is to make sure you are keeping a close watch over your finances. That includes tracking your credit score. It's worth it to mention that each year you are entitled to a free credit report from each of the three main bureaus (Experian, Equifax, TransUnion). You can easily request this without hassle from AnnualCreditReport.com.

​After receiving your credit reports, you'll want to go through them with a fine tooth comb looking for any of the common mistakes or discrepancies. Make sure everything is accurate, and don't forget to check for easy to miss errors like:

  • Incorrect address, contact details, name, or other personal information
  • The amount of credit cards or credit lines you currently have open
  • Open collections cases​

If you do happen to discover inaccuracies on your credit report, you can have them fixed by writing to the credit bureaus. What you need to do is write them a letter of dispute. We will be covering this more in depth in another guide coming soon.

Fixing mistakes on your credit report is one of the fastest ways to boost your credit.

4.) Use Less Credit

While this might sound counter intuitive at first glance, keep reading and you'll understand what we mean. As a consumer, you want to keep your ratio of credit used to credit available as low as possible. Your rate of credit utilization has a large effect on your credit score.

This is due to how well of a factor it is at predicting risk for lending. If you are always using most of your credit line and not paying it off fast enough, you're going to be a high risk loan recipient.​

Marco Carbajo, an expert at sba.gov​ recommends that you should always keep your credit use rate at 30% or less of your total credit line limit. If you want to achieve a score in the upper 700s you'll probably want to go much lower, at around 19% or less.

5.) Always Pay On Time

This one should be obvious but sadly a lot of Americans don't keep up with paying their bills on time. Not paying on time is a great way to tank your credit score. While you might not see a problem with getting a late notice and paying the bill then, your credit score reflects it. 

Payment history is 30% of what is factored in for calculating your credit score. One missed payment can effect you for months and even years to come. Not to mention the late fees and interest incurred by not paying on time. The best thing you can do for yourself is to pay on time. If you're a forgetful person, then setup auto-pay to pay the minimum payment each month. That way if you forget to pay your bill you don't get a late fee and a negative mark. You only have to worry about incurring extra interest.

If you're really good with your personal finance and can afford it, you should also always pay your entire balance off each month. This shows that your are a low risk borrower, since you can afford to pay off 100% of what you borrow, consistently. It also will result in creditors bumping up your credit limits and trusting you with more borrowing power.

6.) Play "Let's make a deal" With Your Lender

Little known fact... You can actually work out deals with creditors to improve your credit conditions. At some point in most American's lives, they get behind on a debt and or even have a debt end up going to collections. The cool thing is that often times you can negotiate to pay to have it deleted from your creditor's record.

The first thing you need to do before beginning the negotiations is to ensure that you have paid the debt off in full. After this you can craft a letter to your creditors with evidence that the account is no longer in collections and request to start negotiating. In just a few weeks you could have that record completely wiped clean.

You're going to want to make sure you document and retain all files in regards to the negotiation process for your records.​

7.) Ask For A Credit Limit Increase

Above we mentioned how it is a good idea to keep a low credit use ratio. An easy way to help yourself get this done is to have more credit available to you in general.

If you have had a credit line open for more than half a year and you have always paid on time, have a low balance to medium balance, and don't have any negative remarks then you should qualify for a credit limit increase. You may find yourself getting one automatically. However, if it does not occur automatically, then you can simply give your credit card company a call and ask. Oftentimes you can even do it through online messaging.

​Obtaining a higher limit shouldn't be rocket science. You'll want to mention the positive standing of your account and note that you have been a model consumer for x amount of time. If your financial situation has recently changed for the better (raise), then let them know that too. They may ask why you are asking for an increase. The best thing to do is to be honest and let them know you are trying to achieve a lower credit use ratio.

If you are denied a credit increase, it isn't the end of the world. Use the opportunity to ask why you were denied. You may find out that there are lingering issues with your credit report you didn't previously know about. It's always good to find out about any possible things that you could be working on a remedy for.

Asking for a credit limit increase should take no longer than 10 minutes and can make a huge bump to your credit score. Try it today!

8.) Become An Authorized User For Someone

A little known fact to Americans who are new to credit ratings is that you can actually build credit by becoming an authorized user on someone else's card. By having a parent, sibling, or etc add you to their account, you can actually have increases to your own FICO score through purchases made by them. This is a great way to build up credit when you have none.

An important thing to remember is that you can very easily effect someone else's life by being an authorized user on their account. The person who is nice enough to allow you to become an authorized user of their card is taking full responsibility for any financial mistakes you may make using the card they have authorized you on. So be extra responsible!

9.) Don't Close Unused Credit Accounts

Let's say you had a credit card that had a big balance full of student debt and you finally got the balance paid off. Your first instinct might be to close the account since you no longer plan to keep using the card. However, the better thing to do for your credit score would be to keep the account open. This is because the credit line goes into the calculation for your credit use ratio.

When you cancel a card, you are not only downsizing your debt-to-credit ratio, you are also putting an end to an established credit history where you may have proved yourself as a financially responsible consumer. This is why we recommend leaving credit lines open, especially if the cards do not have a yearly fee for the account being open.

10.) Start With A Secured Credit Card

For new consumers with no credit history a secured credit card can be a lifesaver. These are the perfect tool for someone with no credit history to build up their score and qualify for better rewards cards.

Secured credit cards are very simple to understand. When you get one, you prepay an amount on the card which is your "secure" deposit. Your "credit limit" is exactly the amount that you have deposited. This takes all of the risk away from the bank, as they are "loaning" you your own money.

You'll want to treat secure cards exactly as you would a real credit card. You're going to want to pay off the balance completely each month, and keep your usage of it to less than 60% of the total deposit each month. A few months down the road you should have a high enough credit score to qualify for a better credit card.​

11.) Get A Store Credit Card

There are many stores out there that offer "Store" credit cards which give you a line of credit at their store. You can use these credit cards as a way of increasing your credit while shopping at your favorite stores. Here are some examples:

12.) Request A "Goodwill" Adjustment

Credit card companies understand that we are all humans, and that all humans make mistakes. This is why you can request a "goodwill" adjustment once in a while. If you are the kind of person who is normally very consistent with bill payments, but for some reason missed some due to hard times, you have a decent chance of getting negative marks redacted from your credit report.

If you sit down and take the time to write a goodwill adjustment letter​ you can get this done. You'll want to state your case in the letter. Mention the kind of person you normally are, why you messed up, and how you plan to improve in the future.

You can also seek the help of a credit repair company to write this letter for you. These agencies have much more experience with what works in writing these letters and what can produce results for you. After looking through and reviewing several companies, we highly recommend Lexington Law at this time.

12.) Request A "Goodwill" Adjustment

Credit card companies understand that we are all humans, and that all humans make mistakes. This is why you can request a "goodwill" adjustment once in a while. If you are the kind of person who is normally very consistent with bill payments, but for some reason missed some due to hard times, you have a decent chance of getting negative marks redacted from your credit report.

If you sit down and take the time to write a goodwill adjustment letter​ you can get this done. You'll want to state your case in the letter. Mention the kind of person you normally are, why you messed up, and how you plan to improve in the future.

You can also seek the help of a credit repair company to write this letter for you. These agencies have much more experience with what works in writing these letters and what can produce results for you. After looking through and reviewing several companies, we highly recommend Lexington Law at this time.

13.) Limit Hard Inquiries As Much As Possible

Hard inquiries are when banks or other creditors  do a deep dive into your credit history in an effort to examine whether or not you are ready to take on a larger sized loan. Usually hard inquiries occur when you are trying to buy a car, or a home, etc. Every time you do a hard inquiry your credit score gets dinged a few points.

If you have an impeccable credit score, this might not be something you worry about. But for someone who is already teetering on the south end of average, you want to be extra careful. The following are examples of things that could result in an hard inquiry:

  • Applying to rent a home
  • Applying for a home loan, or auto loan
  • Getting a new cable account

It's important to know that pulling your own credit report is considered a "soft" inquiry and does not count against your credit score.

14.) Group Hard Inquiries Together

Sometimes you can't afford avoiding hard inquiries altogether. You might really need to apply for a mortgage or auto loan and can't wait til a later date. If you're smart, you're going to want to shop around for the best rate on your loan. Each time you apply for a quote the lender is going to be pulling hard inquiries on you.

Credit bureaus understand that most of us want to get the best rate possible and we will be shopping around. This is why they tend to group hard inquiries made on or around the same date and only count them as one. Because of this, it would behoove you to get all of your quotes and inquiries done within the shortest period of time as possible.​

If you can group all of your inquiries into a period of less than two weeks, you should be in good shape for them to only count as one hard inquiry against you.​

15.) Use A Credit Builder Loan To Build Credit

Credit unions often offer what's called "credit builder loans". They are exactly what they sound like. These are loans that last from 1/2 a year to 1.5 years long. You use them to build up your credit score and the results are reported to all 3 big bureaus.

The cool thing is that you do not actually have to borrow any money. What you are actually doing is making a monthly payment on nothing. ​The catch is that the credit union will hold on to the money until the end of the "loan" term. At that point they will release all funds paid to the account back to you for your use.

You don't have to use these for crazy high amounts either. You can start for less than $1000, and on terms favorable to you.​

16.) Request Missing Accounts To Be Added

Sometimes items that should be reported to the credit bureaus end up getting not reported. Sometimes this in your favor, but a lot of the times it could benefit you for these items to be reported on. Bills like cell phones, medical bills, and utilities for example. These often get omitted from credit reporting but could have a positive effect on your score.

A simple request to have these accounts added to your reporting could result in a nice boost of your credit score. Take the time to research this one and see if it is worth pursuing for you.​

17.) Reply To Negative Remarks

When you have accounts get sent to collections, it often results in negative items on your credit report. But did you know that you can actually provide written responses to negative items? These responses get added to your report for anyone who pulls it to see.

Adding a statement can allow you to provide an explanation for why you believe the negative mark was caused. You can write up to 100 words. While this might sound like a lot, sometimes you have to pick and choose what you say to fit within this margin.

Not only does providing a response allow you to explain yourself to creditors and future lenders, but it also shows that you care about your finances. It shows that you were smart enough to pull the report, notice the issue, and craft up a response to it.​

The most important piece of tip we can give is to get started NOW! No one else cares about your financial situation as much as you do. Take your life by the horns and get to work. Don't forget to check our other guides.