Boost Your Credit Score By 100 Points In 6 Months With These Aggressive Tactics
NEW YORK (Main Street) – You might be surprised at how much progress you can make to improve your credit in six months or a year.
In fact, with a few nifty tips, you can increase your credit score from 50 to 100 points in no time.
Especially if you plan to buy a home somewhere in the near future, you’ll want to actively pursue increasing your credit score to get the best possible rates, says John Heath, lawyer in charge of LexingtonLaw.
Here’s how to do it.
First things first: pull up your credit report
To find out what you can do for beginners, you are going to need to pull out your credit report and review it. This is where any path to a higher credit rating, aggressive or not, will begin. What you are looking for is all that is questionable, anything you don’t recognize. “If there is an identity theft issue, contact the appropriate law enforcement agency,” says Heath. But if you see something you don’t recognize, don’t assume you’ve been a victim. This could be – and probably is – something much less insidious, like a mistake.
You’ll also want to look at how much of your credit you use on each of your accounts. This is called your “debt utilization” ratio, and it is the most effective way to improve your credit in the shortest possible time. “This factor is assessed on an individual and aggregate level,” says Gerri Detweiler, director of consumer education at Credit.com. This means you want your credit usage on individual cards and all cards to be less than one-third. For example, if you have a $ 1,000 credit limit on a particular credit card, spend no more than $ 300 without paying the balance.
Paying off debt works
The best thing you can do is aggressively attack your balances to lower your debt utilization rate. “Paying off your balances makes a big difference and can be paid off as quickly as possible,” says Detweiler. You might want to send big checks, but there’s another option: a consolidation loan. Detweiler points out that when you get a consolidation loan, you not only receive one payment per month, but you also reduce your utilization rate to zero.
“You have the same amount of debt, but it’s an installment loan, rather than a revolving account,” she says. Don’t be surprised if you see a significant increase in your credit score after getting a consolidation loan. From there, you just track your monthly payments so you don’t have another black mark on your credit.
Detweiler notes that consolidation loans might not be available for people with credit scores below 620. For those people, she says a 401 (k) loan is an option. “It’s not ideal,” she says. “But there is no credit check, and it is not doing your credit at all.” You have to be careful, because a 401 (k) loan, not repaid properly, can dramatically increase your taxes and carry a 10% penalty. But if you think you can do it, and it’s your only option, at least think about it.
Resolving errors and other black marks
If you are going to start attacking the black marks on your credit report, there are two main ways to do it. Either you owe the money or you don’t. If you don’t think you are doing it, you should send a letter asking the company to prove that you are doing it. After all, if someone walked up to you on the street and told you you owed them $ 100, you wouldn’t just charge a C-note. “You don’t have to cite a federal law,” says Detweiler. “You just have to ask them to investigate.”
Heath recommends that you call collection agencies and try to negotiate a settlement regarding the collection. “You can let them know that you will reimburse them if they can remove the collection from your credit report,” says Heath. He says it’s also not a bad idea to go back and find overdue payment notices from your original creditors and see if you can get them withdrawn. “It’s always a good idea to call them up and ask if they can do it just because you’ve been a good customer,” he says.
There are no shortcuts. But you can seriously change your credit score in a year or less. Start devoting your time, energy and money to it and monitor your credit score constantly.