5 Ways to Raise Your Credit Score Quickly

By Angela Monroe - September 30, 2019

If you’re planning to apply for any types of financing, it is wise to first raise your credit score before making inquiries or getting pre-approvals. The sooner you do this, the earlier you can see significant changes in your credit standing. 

A good credit score helps you get loans fast and enjoy favourable terms. On the other hand, a terrible credit score not only slims down your chances of approval but also makes it more difficult to repay the loan because of less friendly terms like high interest rates and a repayment timeline that doesn’t work well with your finances circumstance.

Your Credit Score and Your Credit Report

The first step to raise your credit score is knowing what information your credit report holds.   

A credit report is a detailed breakdown of your previous credit transactions that were submitted by your previous lender to the credit reporting bureaus. Whenever you apply for a new loan, the potential lender pays the credit bureaus to access your credit report before deciding to grant you the loan or not

The information in your credit report is then evaluated and analysed to determine your creditworthinessyour perceived capability to pay any financial obligations in time as. The numerical representation of your creditworthiness is called a credit score. This score is generally a three-digit number that ranges from the lowest 300 to the highest 850. The higher your credit score, the higher your creditworthiness and your chance of getting a loan with good terms.

Your credit report contains your credit score. If you want to know your credit score and the information in your credit report that influences it, you can request a free copy from the credit reporting bureau. 

In Australia, the three major credit reporting bureaus are Experian, illion and Equifax.  Each of these agencies may assign a different credit score for you based on the information they’ve collected from your previous lenders. Some lenders do not submit your records to all credit reporting bureaus, which result in the discrepancy of the collected data. Thus, it is wise to get a separate copy of your credit report from each credit reporting bureau.

5 Ways to Raise Your Credit Score

A credit score that falls around 569 and below is generally bad although credit score classifications differ depending on the credit scoring model used.

If your poor credit score is simply a result of bad credit habits in the past, there are ways you can do to repair your credit records and turn your life around.

1. Dispute Your Credit Report

Request a copy of your credit report from the credit reporting agencies. The lenders pay to access this information but borrowers like you can get a free copy every year.

Once you have access to your credit report, you’ll be aware of your credit standing, which helps you negotiate for loans with better rates and terms. You can also dispute any fallacious information that negatively affects your credit score.

  1. Carefully review each of the items in your credit report. Do you see any error or false information? If you see any wrong information that may have negatively affected your credit rating, make a dispute letter and send it to the credit reporting bureau that created the report. Attach any supporting documents you may have. 
  2. The concerned agency has 30 days to investigate the dispute and ask the lender regarding the issue before getting back to you with the decision. Sometimes, however, the investigation period extends depending on the response of the lender.
  3. If your dispute is successful, the erroneous information is removed from your credit report, significantly improving your credit score. If not, it won’t leave any negative effect on your credit score.

2. Pay Your Debts Timely and Settle Any Past-Due Loan Accounts

Your debt repayment history is the most important factor in assessing your creditworthiness. It makes up 35% of your total credit score. If you have a history of loan default or have paid loan late on several occasions, your credit score is most likely poor or below average. Worst, history of missed payments stay on your credit report for seven years, damaging your credit score and hurting your chances of loan approval for a long time.

Old Debts

It is best to pay off any past-due debts before taking on a new one. Try to raise the money for the full repayment of old debts or at least bring them current as soon as possible. Those debts that are already in the collection, meanwhile, can be negotiated with the collection agency. Offer to pay it off in one lump sum or, if it’s not possible for your financial circumstance, propose a payment plan allows you to make the periodic repayment with an amount that works for your budget.

You can also negotiate a single payment settlement that’s less than you originally owed. However, be cautious with whom you are dealing with. Shrewd collectors may tell you that they agree to take a partial payment as a settlement but sell the remainder of your balance to another debt collecting company.

Current Debts and Bills

Do not also forget to make on-time payments on your current credit card balances, loans and bills such as your rent and utilities. While old debts can negatively affect your credit rating, they have less impact on your credit report than recent ones.

To ensure timely periodic repayments, use apps, automatic payments or calendar reminders.

3. Use a Credit Card but Stay Within Your Credit Limit

Two other factors that raise your credit score are good credit mix and low credit utilisation. 

A good credit mix means that you have types of debts, which include car loans, mortgages and credit cards. Paying these accounts on time reflect good financial and credit management. It means that you can handle different your finances effectively. You’re a responsible borrower who pays your debt obligations on time for the amount required.

Thus, it’s good to maintain a credit line even when you’re taking out a new loan. Aside from helping build your credit history, it also boosts your credit score with responsible use. This means paying your monthly balance on time and staying within the recommended 30% of your credit limit. 

Credit utilisation is the amount of total credit you are using in relation to your credit limit. The lower your credit utilisation, the more positive impact it creates to your credit score. Abusing your credit utilisation ration by constantly maxing out your credit card, meanwhile, causes a drop in your credit score. It implies poor money management and that you’re prone to defaulting on your minimum payments.

Tips

  1. Got unused credit cards? Keep them open instead of closing the accounts altogether to avoid the increase in your credit utilisation ratio. This is as long as the old credit cards are not costing you money on annual fees. 
  2. If your credit card balances are overwhelming, you can get a debt consolidation loan. This consolidates all your debts into one single account, lowering your credit utilisation and helping you save money in interest.
  3. Your credit card issuer typically reports your transactions to the credit bureaus every month. Once your creditor reports your lowe credit utilisation ratio, your credit score significantly improves.

Authorised Credit Card User

You can also become an authorised user on someone else’s credit card to boost your credit score. Just make sure that that “someone” has an established credit line and solid good credit habits and that the card issuer reports your authorized-user status to the credit bureaus.

4. Apply for a New Loan Only When Needed

Getting pre-approvals and taking out several loans at a time can drag your credit score down. The new loan brings additional financial responsibility that you may have difficulty paying off. Also, simply inquiring for a new loan from several lenders create the impression that you’re financially struggling. 

While your loan inquiries do not get reported to the credit bureaus, each lender that you’ve talked to may pull out your credit files from the credit reporting bureaus. This activity gets recorded by the credit bureau as a “hard inquiry”, which hurts your credit score. Too many hard inquiries suggest desperation to open new credit and financial troubles.

However, there is also a window for loan inquiries. You usually have 14 to 45 days to do your loan shopping. All inquiries made within this period are counted as one.

Credit card issuers typically report to the bureaus every month. As soon as your creditor reports your lower balance, the better utilization will be reflected in your scores.

5. Pay Your Utility Bills on Time

You can raise your credit score by making utility and cell phone payments on time through Experian Boost, a free, opt-in product from Experian.

With Experian Boost, information about your utility and phone payments appear on your credit profile and factored in in the calculation of your credit score. This tool connects to your online bank accounts and scans your transactions. Once Boost identifies your utility and phone payments, you will be asked to verify the data and confirm if you want it to be added to their Experian credit file. If you agree, they will deliver an updated FICO score to you.

While on-time utility and phone payments are counted, missed payments are ignored, helping you avoid any negative effect on your credit score.

The UltraFICO is another platform that factors in your bank transactions in calculating your credit score. Instead of utility and phone payment history, it weighs in your savings and any incurred overdrafts in your checking account.

These are just five of the many ways you can do to raise your credit score fast. The earlier you start doing these steps, the sooner your creditworthiness improves.

 

Loans For People With Bad Credit provides financing for people across Australia who hardly qualifies for a loan. Request a Free Credit Check or apply for a Loan Pre-Approval. You can also talk to one of our loan specialists at 1300 769 384.

 

See also:

How to Refinance Bad Credit Loans

What You Need to Know About No Credit Check Loan

A Borrower’s Guide to Unsecured Bad Credit Personal Loans

Angela Monroe
Angela Monroe is the Community Manager at The Positive Group, specialising in giving people the information that they need when they need it, and putting you on the path to a fair financial future. She has 8 years of experience in helping Australians find the right finance solutions, and regularly contributes articles to empower Australians with the knowledge they need to become financially healthy.

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