How to improve your credit score fast
Take these actions right now.
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Improving your credit score quickly: Take these actions right now
Improving your credit score doesn't happen overnight, but there are a bunch of actions you can take right now to give your score a bit of a boost in the future. Start with:
- Paying your bills on time
- Lowering your limits on any credit cards
- Stop applying for new credit
Rest assured, we'll guide you through these actions in this article.
Want a better way to track your credit score?
You're putting effort into improving it - so make sure you've got the tech to help you. The Finder app updates your score automatically each month and lets you know if it changes. Pop in your phone number below to get your download link.
How does credit work?
Simply put, credit is when you owe money. In order to improve your credit score, understand what create impacts your credit score.
Types of credit you might already have include:
- Loans: personal and home
- Credit cards
- Buy now, pay later services (like Afterpay)
- Rent to buy (for example, for a laptop, television or fridge)
- Interest-free deals
- Payday loans
- Mobile phone plans
- Internet, electricity, gas, water services
Credit history and your score
Credit history refers to the credit you've taken out and how you've handled credit in the past. For example, regularly paying credit back on time will affect your score positively. Examples of credit history affecting your score include:
- Size of your credit - the larger the more riskier you are.
- How old is your credit history - the longer the more reliable.
- Do you make payments on time?
- How old are you? - the younger you are the more riskier you are.
- How often do you apply for credit? - the more you apply for credit, the riskier you are considered.
How can I improve my credit score?
If your credit score is low, there are plenty of steps to follow to improve it and get your credit history back in shape:
1. Pay your bills on time
Making sure you pay all your bills on time each and every time will contribute to a record of punctual payments. This can boost your credit score, particularly with "positive" credit reporting. You could set up direct debits on your payday to ensure you never forget.
- How it helps you improve: While you can't undo past mistakes, it will show you're on the right track. Just make sure the bills you're paying are under your own name, so it shows up on your own report.
2. Make frequent payments to existing loans
Consider paying small and more frequent payments throughout the month to reduce the debt quicker. You could also pay a little bit more with your monthly payment to have the same effect.
- How it helps you improve: It shows you can plan, take control of finances and be responsible, plus your outstanding balance will be reduced.
3. Fix credit report mistakes
If you've found any incorrect listings in your report, contact your creditor or the credit reporting bureau that you ordered your report through to have them removed. If it is a mistake, they'll then change it with the credit reporting body, who will adjust it on your report. By carefully checking each entry against your own records you can ensure your report accurately reflects your history.
Occasionally mistakes can happen if your repayments weren't accurately recorded by a bank or lender, when you are mistakenly credited for a family member's history, or potentially in a case of identity theft.
- How it helps you improve: Some mistakes could have an adverse affect on your score.
4. Apply for new credit only when necessary
Try not to apply for new credit more than once every three months. Whenever you apply for new credit it will show up on your credit report, and it's known as a "hard enquiry". One hard enquiry isn't concerning, but if many are made in a short period then this could reduce your credit score. A lender might perceive too many applications as a sign you're desperate for credit, or careless with money.
- How it helps you improve: In comparison to taking out new credit, which may impact your score negatively, a pattern of not applying for any new credit may show an effort to reduce your credit.
5. Keep credit cards if you're paying them down
If you have a credit card that you consistently and reliably can repay, there's nothing wrong with keeping it to build on your good credit and show lenders you can be trusted.
- How it helps you improve: Paying it off each month shows you are responsible and gives banks and lenders a clear history to draw on.
6. Lower the limits on your credit cards
If you have a card with a high limit that you never get close to hitting, consider lowering the limit. It's a good idea to keep a good gap between your credit limit and how much you actually use.
- How it helps you improve:This will lessen your risk of racking up debt and will be a positive action on your credit report to impress lenders. By ensuring your debts stay down, your credit score will gradually improve, too.
7. Demonstrate stability
Where possible, try not to move house or job too much as lenders want evidence that you're a stable person.
- How it helps you improve: Creditors want to know you can be relied upon and sticking to your current residence and workplace is one way this can be displayed.
What is the quickest way to improve my credit score?
In short, there's no super-quick fix for your credit score – repairing a low credit takes time. But it's not impossible.
Don't rely on any credit repair companies that promise to have black marks removed from your report as quick-fix efforts are most likely to backfire. Advice that claims to instantly fix your credit history should not be trusted.
The best thing to do is follow the steps above and be consistent over time. You could be surprised at how quickly your score improves after a few tweaks to your financial behaviour. Be patient, disciplined, and keep checking your score to stay on track. The Finder app can help you stay on track: we'll update your score regularly each month and let you know if anything changes.
Long term actions that could improve your credit score
I also spoke to members at Finder with a good credit score, it's clear that in some cases, they haven't tried to improve their credit scores specifically, but their strong scores may have also come down to a few longer term approaches to finances:
- Ordered their credit file and educated themselves. You can order your credit report and get your score for free through finder. Once you get your credit report, read up on what it means and what you can do with a good credit score.
- Focused on managing and improving their finances. In general, good credit scorers take responsible steps to manage their finances. For example one user was paying too high a rate on his personal loan, and refinanced it to cut his rate in half.
- Make sure their bills get paid. In addition to setting up automated payments, our respondents take proactive steps to ensure all their bills get paid. I've you have lived in a few rental properties, you could have your bills sent to a consistent address like your parent's house so they don't accidentally go unpaid.
What can you do with an improved credit score?
Some of the perks that come with a good credit score include:
- Getting a low rate on a peer-to-peer loan. A good credit score can help you to get a better rate on a peer-to-peer loan.
- Getting a home loan. A good credit score can help you to get a home loan and is arguably the primary reason credit scores are important.
- Future potential to access credit. Whether or not you need credit now, a good credit score will likely be important down the line. For example, you might have credit on a couple of credit cards for travel, but keeping a high score will be important when you need to take out a home loan.
What to avoid if you're working on your credit score
When you're actively working on your credit rating, make sure you don't fall into some of the common booby traps that would have contributed to your poor score in the first place.
Here are a few things to avoid when you're trying to boost your credit score.
- Don't apply often for a lot of new loans or credit cards. These show up in your credit report and you risk being rejected, which reflects badly in your score.
- Avoid making late payments on your credit card or mortgage. A missed payment is if it's more than 14 days late. It could be recorded on your report for up to two years.
- Avoid paying bills late. Payments of $150 or more that are overdue by 60 days or more remain on your report as a default for two years.
- Don't cancel your credit card. It's tempting to cancel a card as soon as you pay it off but keeping a card without building on debt can reflect well.
- Steer clear of payday loans. Credit reporting bodies usually look at the type of providers you've applied for credit with and payday lenders have a different level of risk than a bank. These loans also come with large fees and could make it trickier to pay back.
- Don't forget to change your personal details. When you move house or change phone numbers, let any accounts you have know so they can re-direct bills. You want to avoid missing a payment and having it appear as a credit infringement or overdue debt.
- Don't forget to keep on top of your score. Don't be in the dark about your finances. Keep up to date with where you're at and check your score regularly – the Finder app is a great help, sending you notifications when something changes!
If you feel you need a little more help to get on top of your score, consider speaking with a professional financial counsellor. Some financial advice could help you get back on the right track financially and your credit score could be improved as a result.
And if you don't yet have your credit score, you can receive it through the free Finder app – and you can keep up to date with your score as it changes. By seeing this monthly, you'll stay committed to a new financial you.
Dig in deeper with our credit score guides
Find out what a credit score is and what it can do for you.Read more…
This guide explains credit score ranges from weak through to an excellent score. We cover the differences from Equifax, Experian and Illion.Read more…
Credit reporting bureaus issue credit reports and scores to consumers and lenders. Discover how they work in this guide.Read more…
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