Credit has become the staple of our country since the first credit card was introduced in 1950 by Diner’s Club, Inc. Upon graduating college, I knew I needed to establish credit if I was going to be able to get ahead in life. I found out very early that maintaining a good credit score meant lower interest rates and opened doors to getting an apartment and a new car. Hence, I had to get up to speed quickly to begin establishing credit and achieve a good credit score. I read everything I could find and listened to anyone who knew anything about credit. What I learned along the way; I can now share how to raise your credit score 100 points in 45 days.
How to Establish Credit
To begin to establish credit, you actually need credit. To achieve a good credit score you can begin with credit cards. I started with store cards, then gas cards, and finally major credit cards. Like everyone else, I began to charge away. Jumped right into the minimum payment game. Therefore, if I could afford the minimum payment, I was good. It never occurred to me to pay off the balances each month. I was young and dumb and thought I knew everything. As long as I was paying my cards each month my credit score would rise. And it did. However, I was sinking into more debt. Not knowing that my credit score was made up of more than just using and paying the minimum balance each month. There were other components to obtaining a good credit score and it also includes utilization.
Payment History and Utilization
Payment history based on making monthly payments makes up 35% of my credit score. Currently, my credit card history spans more than 20 years. For the most part, it has been pretty good once I learned to be more responsible. Making an effort to pay down debt by developing a budget that allowed me to get out of debt. I also began to spend less and altered my savings and investments for a short time to get out of debt quicker. I had to learn, grow, and become creative to reach debt freedom.
The 2nd most important factor which I did not know to consider was my debt to credit ratio. Also known as utilization and it makes up 30% of your credit score. How much debt I was accumulating versus how much credit I was given. So, if I had $5,000 available credit and I am using $2,500. My debt to credit utilization is 50% or $2500 divided by $5,000. This is way too high. The credit bureaus want the utilization to be 10% or under, this makes up 30% of your score. Therefore, I worked on getting my utilization to 1%.
Consequently, I have 3 active credit cards which I use sparingly, and pay each balance off each month keeping my utilization under the required 10%. It took a while to become disciplined in this area. Only use my credit cards to purchase things I can afford to pay off each month. Read more about credit utilization. Let’s now move on to Credit History.
Credit History, New Credit, and Type of Credit
Length of credit accounts for 15% of your credit score. This is how long you had the credit card in your possession. To achieve excellent credit, you will need at least 10 years of credit history. Adding new credit cards to the mix over time will cost you but in the long run. However, it will help your utilization if you use them sparingly and add new credit lines slowly over time. New credit inquiries are considered hard inquiries and can negatively impact your credit score for three years and account for 10% of your credit score. Keep in mind that the average American has 4 credit cards, according to the 2019 Experian Consumer Credit Review.
Finally, the type of credit you have counts for 10% of your credit score. You should strive to have a mix of different types of credit. Your credit portfolio should include major credit cards, retail accounts, installment loans, auto loans, or a mortgage.
Key Factors on How to Raise Your Credit Score by 100 Points
- Payment history (35% of your score)
- Utilization (30% of your score)
- Length of credit history (15% of your score)
- New credit (10% of your score)
- Credit mix (10% of your score)
If You Get Into Trouble
Over time and navigating the pitfalls of establishing credit I have learned that if you get into trouble attack it head-on. Call your creditors, explain your situation, and negotiate with them. More likely than not they want to help you. They are not in the business to lose money so they are willing to help find solutions. Just be honest and stick to the new terms. Make sure that you also get in writing on their letterhead that they will remove any derogatory remarks on your credit report.
You are allowed one free report from each of the credit bureaus each year. Transunion, Experian, and Equifax will each send a full credit report upon request. You want to review all three because different industries use one or more of these reports. Request all three every year.
Check each of your credit reports and review them for accuracy. Dispute anything that is incorrect or inaccurate. Remember you can show the proof that the debt has been settled and should no longer appear on your report.
You can also use free apps like Credit Karma, Credit Sesame to keep track of your scores. This will not hurt your credit score as this is not considered an inquiry from a new credit source. Also, most banking apps provide credit scores as well. This makes it super easy to stay on top of your credit scores. After all this time I still check my score from time to time. Depending on my credit card use my FICO score fluctuates from 836 to 850.
Inquiries That Do Not hurt Your Score:
- Insurance and utilities
- Account reviews
- Personal reviews
- Promotions (i.e., preapproved credit cards)
Inquiries That Do Hurt Your Score:
- New Credit Cards
- Auto loans
Each inquiry adds on average 5 points and it will sit on your reports for 3 years
How to Raise Your Credit Score 100 Points in 45 Days
In the long run, the ability to establish and maintain good credit can affect whether you can obtain loans for cars at a favorable interest rate. Obtain a loan for a home, rent an apartment, get hired for a job, and even purchase auto insurance. Therefore, once you obtain good credit guard it with your life unless you can afford to pay cash for everything you wish to buy. Today, 59% of Americans have a FICO® Score of 700 or higher—the biggest percentage ever seen at that level. Thus, 700 or higher is considered the marker of good credit by most lenders per Experian.
300 -579 – Very Poor – 16% of Americans
580-669 – Fair – 18% of Americans
670-739 – Good -21% of Americans
740-799 – Very Good – 25% of Americans
800-850 – Exceptional – 20% of Americans
Final Steps to Raise Your Credit Score 100 Points in 45 Days
The final step to improving credit will require some work on your part. For any derogatory items still remaining on your report, you should dispute directly with the creditor providing the information and/or the credit bureaus. Use these sample letters as your template to dispute various issues on your credit reports, such as billing errors, charges, etc. This may require some effort and follow-up by you but it is worth it to achieve this goal. You can also visit the websites of Experian, Equifax, and Transunion and submit your dispute online.
Once this is all cleared up, consistently pay your debt each month on time. Create a budget to get you on target to pay off your debt within a set time period. Stop using credit cards so your balance remains low as you pay the credit off. You should begin to see your credit score begin to go up within 30 days with this strategy.
Additional, options to increase your credit score and re-establish credit are by applying for secured credit cards, alternative credit cards, and credit-builder loans. All three are great options to explore.
Finally, ask a friend or a relative if they would be interested in making you an authorized user of one of their credit cards. This option does not come without risk to you or them. You will assume all benefits of their credit score so it is important to request them from someone with at least a very good credit score and who has a history of paying their bills on time. Hence, should they agree, they may opt to not allow you to actually use the credit card because they will be liable for any and all purchases you make on the credit card.
Credit Card Score Breakdown
Applicants with very poor scores will likely not be approved for credit. Those with scores of 580-669 are considered subprime borrowers and will not be awarded favorable interest rates when borrowing. Borrowers in the 670-739 are low-risk borrowers with only 85% expected to default on a loan. The 740-799 group is likely to be awarded better than average rates. Finally, the 800-850 group is the crème de la crème and will always receive the best rates.
Here are My Final Credit Tips on How to Raise Your Credit Score by 100 Points in 45 Days:
- Pay your credit cards on time – 35% of credit score
- Keep your credit utilization under 10% – 30% of your credit score
- Establish credit for over 10 years – 15% of credit score
- Apply for New credit sparingly – dings score for a time but helps with utilization – 10% of credit score
- Diversify credit – have different types of credit – 10% of score
- Do not close old accounts
- Request line of credit increases
- Create a budget to pay off debt
- Contact creditors to establish new terms for paying off
- Use credit cards occasionally but pay off balances monthly
- Request free copies of your credit report
- Dispute derogatory claims on your credit report in writing
- Use alternate methods to improve credit such as secure cards, alternate credit, credit-loan, and builders
- Become an authorized user on a relative or friend’s credit card
- Never co-sign on a loan
All of these action points should help you raise your credit score by 100 points in 45 days. You can 100% do this!
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