How to Raise Your Credit Scores Fast | Equifax (2024)


  • Improving your credit scores generally takes time and patience, but there are strategies to consider if you're aiming to increase your credit scores quickly.
  • Check your credit reports for incorrect information that may be dragging you down.
  • The length of time it will take to improve your credit scores depends on your unique financial situation, but you may see a change as soon as 30 to 45 days after you have taken steps to positively impact your credit reports.

A poor credit history can be a big financial roadblock, but there are strategies available to help you improve your situation. In many cases, improving your credit scores takes time and patience. However, there are steps you can take if you're aiming to increase your credit scores quickly.

How are your credit scores calculated?

Your credit scores are based on the information included in your credit reports. Different lenders may use different credit score models for these calculations; however, most scoring models consider the following factors:

  • Payment history, which is a record of how you repay borrowed funds.
  • Credit utilization ratio, which represents the amount of revolving credit you're using divided by the total revolving credit available to you. Lenders typically like to see a credit utilization ratio of 30% or below.
  • Hard inquiries, which help lenders track how often a borrower has requested a new credit account. Too many hard inquiries could suggest that you're attempting to borrow more than you can reasonably pay back.
  • Length of credit history, which is determined by how long your various credit accounts have been open. Generally, the older your accounts are, the better.
  • Credit mix, which refers to the different kinds of credit you have, including revolving credit, such as credit cards, and installment loans, such as mortgages and student loans.

What is a realistic timeline for improving your credit scores?

Changes to your credit scores rarely happen overnight — even if you're taking action to make improvements quickly. Your credit scores typically update once per month, but it's possible they may update more frequently depending on your unique financial situation.

It's up to your individual lenders to decide when (and if) they will report any new information to the three nationwide consumer reporting agencies (CRAs) — Equifax, TransUnion and Experian. Lenders that choose to report information will typically do so monthly, but the time of month can vary from lender to lender.

If you have a particular time frame in which you're hoping to improve your credit scores, such as during a mortgage application, you might also consider what's known as a “rapid rescore.” During the rapid rescore process, individuals work with a lender or broker to recalculate their credit scores and may even run special reports to help strategize which habits might result in a credit score increase.

Rapid rescoring typically takes three to five business days to complete and is generally most helpful when someone is actively evaluating your credit scores, such as when you apply for a loan. Under most other circ*mstances, it's better to wait for your credit scores to update on their own.

What actions you can take to boost your credit scores?

Review your credit reports for errors and dispute any inaccuracies. The first and most important thing you can do is to review your credit reports for incorrect information that may be dragging you down. If you find a mistake — an account that isn't yours, for example — you can dispute it with the relevant CRA. If the error was particularly harmful, you may see a large jump in your scores once the dispute is resolved.

Keep paying your bills on time. In many credit scoring formulas, your payment history has the greatest effect on your overall credit scores. So, it's critical to make payments on time. Even if you can't afford to pay your balance in full every month, try to pay the minimum — your credit scores will thank you. If you're prone to forgetfulness, you might consider setting up an autopay option. Some lenders may even give you a break on your interest rate for enabling autopay on your loan. And if you miss a payment, reach out to your lender immediately to negotiate a repayment plan or ask for late payment forgiveness.

Improve your credit mix. Take a look at what kinds of credit accounts you have and classify each as either installment credit (a fixed amount you borrow and pay back in installments, such as a mortgage) or revolving credit (a credit line you can access at any time and pay back as you use it, such as a credit card).

If you only have auto and student loans, which are both forms of installment credit, your credit mix is lacking in diversity, which can have a negative impact on your credit scores in some credit scoring models. To diversify your credit mix and potentially improve your scores, you might consider opening an affordable credit card with good interest rates. On the other hand, if you only have credit cards, you might seek out a pre-qualification offer for a small personal loan, with the goal of diversifying your credit mix. In either case, you can identify products made especially for borrowers with a poor or limited credit history, such as a credit-builder loan or a secured credit card.

Just remember: New requests for credit are likely to result in a hard inquiry on your credit reports. Too many hard inquiries too close together could negatively impact your credit scores, so be careful about how frequently you open new accounts.

Improve credit utilization. Lowering your credit utilization ratio will often boost your credit scores, especially if your starting point is above the ideal 30% mark. There are several ways to accomplish this. You can:

  • Pay your bills more frequently. Keeping your credit balance as low as possible at all times is an excellent way to reduce credit utilization, which means you'll need to pay your bills more frequently than once a month at the end of the billing cycle. You can strategize the timing of any extra payments by contacting your bank or credit card company to find out when they send your information to the nationwide CRAs — and then paying your bill just before they report.
  • Pay down your debt but keep old credit accounts open. Paying off your full balance is good for your financial profile and your credit scores, but don't close that account just yet. Although eliminating existing debt will decrease the amount of credit you're currently using, closing the account entirely will lower your total available credit, which can increase your credit utilization ratio. To avoid this scenario, keep old accounts open and active with occasional small charges.
  • Request an increase to your credit limit. Raising your credit limit on an existing account increases the amount of credit available to you and can decrease your credit utilization ratio. You can ask a current lender for a credit limit increase, especially if your income has increased since you last applied for a credit card, or you can open an entirely new credit account. If you're approved, your primary concern should still be repayment. Never charge anything you can't afford to pay back on time.

Read more

  • How to Improve Your Credit Score
  • How to Build Credit

How soon can you see improvement?

The length of time it will take to improve your credit scores depends on your unique financial situation.

At the earliest, you may see a change between 30 and 45 days after you have taken steps to positively impact your credit reports. This is how long it generally takes lenders to notify the nationwide CRAs of information relating to your accounts. In other cases, it may take a few months more for any positive measures to make a cumulative impact. And if you are waiting for negative information to fall off your credit reports, it may take up to a year or more to see a major change.

Remember: High credit scores are a result of good financial habits maintained over a long period of time. So, while certain behaviors may help in the short term there's no single, magic solution to build a positive credit history quickly. Aim to establish and maintain good credit habits and have patience with the process so that you can build a positive credit history in the long term as well.

How to Raise Your Credit Scores Fast | Equifax (2024)


How can I raise my credit score in 30 days? ›

Steps you can take to raise your credit score quickly include:
  1. Lower your credit utilization rate.
  2. Ask for late payment forgiveness.
  3. Dispute inaccurate information on your credit reports.
  4. Add utility and phone payments to your credit report.
  5. Check and understand your credit score.
  6. The bottom line about building credit fast.

What is the no 1 way to raise your credit score? ›

1. Make your payments on time. Paying your bills on time is the most important thing you can do to help raise your score.

What brings your credit score up the fastest? ›

4 tips to boost your credit score fast
  • Pay down your revolving credit balances. If you have the funds to pay more than your minimum payment each month, you should do so. ...
  • Increase your credit limit. ...
  • Check your credit report for errors. ...
  • Ask to have negative entries that are paid off removed from your credit report.

How fast can you raise your credit score from 500 to 700? ›

The time it takes to raise your credit score from 500 to 700 can vary widely depending on your individual financial situation. On average, it may take anywhere from 12 to 24 months of responsible credit management, including timely payments and reducing debt, to see a significant improvement in your credit score.

Is 650 a good credit score? ›

As someone with a 650 credit score, you are firmly in the “fair” territory of credit. You can usually qualify for financial products like a mortgage or car loan, but you will likely pay higher interest rates than someone with a better credit score. The "good" credit range starts at 690.

How can I raise my credit score 100 points overnight? ›

10 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score
  1. Review Your Credit Report. ...
  2. Pay Your Bills on Time. ...
  3. Ask for Late Payment Forgiveness. ...
  4. Keep Credit Card Balances Low. ...
  5. Keep Old Credit Cards Active. ...
  6. Become an Authorized User. ...
  7. Consider a Credit Builder Loan. ...
  8. Take Out a Secured Credit Card.

What builds your credit score the most? ›

Paying your bills on time Is one of the most important steps in improving your credit score. Pay down your credit card balances to keep your overall credit use low. You can also phone your credit card company and ask for a credit increase, and this shouldn't take more than an hour.

What can I buy to boost my credit score? ›

Another way to build or rebuild your credit is with a secured credit card. This type of card is backed by a cash deposit. You pay it upfront and the deposit amount is usually the same as your credit limit. Then, you use it like a normal credit card, and your on-time payments help build your credit.

Can I pay someone to fix my credit? ›

You can always try to repair your credit yourself; however, depending on your financial situation, working with a reputable credit repair service may save you time and provide a better outcome in the long run.

Should I pay off my credit card in full or leave a small balance? ›

It's a good idea to pay off your credit card balance in full whenever you're able. Carrying a monthly credit card balance can cost you in interest and increase your credit utilization rate, which is one factor used to calculate your credit scores.

Does paying off a loan help credit? ›

While paying off your debts often helps improve your credit scores, this isn't always the case. It's possible that you could see your credit scores drop after fulfilling your payment obligations on a loan or credit card debt. However, that doesn't mean you should ignore what you owe.

How to fix your credit yourself? ›

Here are 11 steps you can take on your own to steer your credit in the right direction.
  1. Check Your Credit Report. ...
  2. Dispute Credit Report Errors. ...
  3. Bring Past-Due Accounts Current. ...
  4. Set Up Autopay. ...
  5. Maintain a Low Credit Utilization Rate. ...
  6. Pay Off Debt. ...
  7. Avoid Applying for New Credit. ...
  8. Keep Unused Credit Accounts Open.
Apr 22, 2023

What credit score is needed to buy a house? ›

The minimum credit score needed for most mortgages is typically around 620. However, government-backed mortgages like Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans typically have lower credit requirements than conventional fixed-rate loans and adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs).

Why is my credit score going down when I pay on time? ›

Using more of your credit card balance than usual — even if you pay on time — can reduce your score until a new, lower balance is reported the following month. Closed accounts and lower credit limits can also result in lower scores even if your payment behavior has not changed.

How fast does credit score go up after paying off a credit card? ›

How long after paying off credit cards does credit score improve? You should see your score go up within a month (sometimes less). Your credit card issuer typically sends an updated report to credit bureaus once a month when your statement period ends.

Can you build a 700 credit score in 30 days? ›

It's unlikely you'll be able to get your credit score to where you want it in just 30 days, but there are some actions you can take that can improve your score more quickly than others: Pay off credit card debt. Your credit utilization rate changes as your credit card and other revolving credit account balances change.

Can I raise my credit score 100 points in 30 days? ›

Creditors typically report updated information monthly, so it is possible to improve your score by 100 points in 30 days. It will likely take several months for your score to realize its full potential, though. You can use WalletHub's free credit score simulator to learn how different actions can affect your credit.

How to get a 720 credit score in 30 days? ›

Reducing your credit utilization is one of the fastest ways to raise your credit score, and you can do it by paying down debt, spending less, paying your bill more often or asking for a higher spending limit. Disputing negative information on your credit report can help quickly, too.

Can I increase my credit score in 1 month? ›

It all depends on your unique situation and the specific actions you're taking to improve your credit. Realistically, you probably won't see your credit score increase by more than 10 points in a month.

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