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:

  1. Paying your bills on time
  2. Lowering your limits on any credit cards
  3. Stop applying for new credit

Rest assured, we'll guide you through these actions in this article.

Credit score in the Finder app

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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

Date and 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

Money bag

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

Credit report

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

Credit application

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

Credit cards

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

Lower interest

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

Check

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

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150 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    GEOFFREYOctober 4, 2019

    How long does a credit card application stay on you report?

      Default Gravatar
      AshOctober 4, 2019

      Hi Geoffrey,

      Thanks for contacting Finder.

      Credit inquiries which are applications for a credit card, loan, or any credit assistance will stay on your report for up to 5 years. You may read our credit file guide to know more about the listings on your credit report and for how long with they stay there.

      I hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      Ash

    Default Gravatar
    GeorgeSeptember 5, 2019

    Hi, I have checked my credit history and it’s too bad. I got one negative off Vodafone bills of $800 approximately. I paid that amount before 6 months ago. And it also shows many credit cards and personal loans applied. I don’t have any deft to pay but still my credit history is too bad. Could you please suggest me how do I follow and the procedures to make my credit history excellent.

      Default Gravatar
      NikkiSeptember 6, 2019

      Hi there,

      Thanks for getting in touch!

      Sorry to hear about your credit score. It’s helpful to know that all credit accounts even if paid off, closed or not, stays on your file for a certain amount of time until it’s erased. You may refer to our credit file guide to see how long listings stays on your credit report. Generally, repairing or improving your credit score isn’t a quick and easy process. It may take a significant amount of time and require a long period of financial responsibility on your part.

      You may find useful tips to improve your credit score.

      Hope this helps and feel free to reach out to us again for further assistance.

      Best,
      Nikki

    Default Gravatar
    AaronApril 29, 2019

    Hi! I’m wondering how badly would voluntary surrendering a vehicle on a loan affect my credit score rating. Can you repair the credit score rating once it’s been damaged by surrendering on the loan?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JoshuaMay 1, 2019Staff

      Hi Aaron,

      Thanks for getting in touch with Finder. I hope all is well with you. 😃

      Regarding your question, there’s no doubt that defaulting on your car loan or stopping payment would cause a dip in your credit score. How bad it is, I can’t tell for sure. However, the fact that you have a car loan default on your credit report would mean that you will have a hard time applying for any type of loan in the future.

      Defaults may stay on your credit file for up to five years. If it is a legitimate record, then you won’t be able to remove that from your file directly. You need to wait for it to be removed.

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

      Have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Joshua

    Default Gravatar
    StevenApril 4, 2019

    Hey. I’ve been trying for a few years now to improve my credit. I have no defaults but credit inquiries dating back 5 years and I keep making the mistake of applying for low interest cards that pop up and would save me money. However denied instantly. My credit was around 690 now dropped back to around 650.
    I’m never late for my repayments and have a $30k personal loan active and a $7500 CC. Both have around 27k and $500 owing.
    Can you give any tips on how I could improve either my finances or credit score.

      Default Gravatar
      NikkiApril 5, 2019

      Hi Steven,

      Thanks for reaching out!

      I understand it’s quite challenging to have a lower credit score. Your credit score is not the only factor that banks review when applying. There are other things that go through an application and though we don’t have any idea how the bank assessed your application, you may want to check our guide on why credit card application could be rejected. Oftentimes, they look at your payables on a monthly basis and if you can make payments timely so if you have a loan and another credit card with a high limit – that influences their decision to approve you or not. Hope this helps!

      Best,
      Nikki

    Default Gravatar
    JoanneMarch 29, 2019

    Who do I call to request something removed or added to my credit score please

      Default Gravatar
      NikkiMarch 30, 2019

      Hi Joanne,

      Thanks for getting in touch!

      There are ways to improve your credit position through credit repair. You can do this yourself or through a credit repair company. You can read your options from our credit repair guide.

      Hope this was helpful. Don’t hesitate to message us back if you have more questions.

      Best,
      Nikki

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