Credit Score Improving Your Score

8 Fastest Fixes to Repair a Bad Credit Score

Having $0 in outstanding balances is the fastest way to increase your credit score that you have total control over. Carrying a small balance to boost your score is a myth. Completely paying off your open balances on any credit cards or lines of credit will put you on the fast track to a better score.

You should always try to keep your debt utilization under 20%, or as close to zero as possible, to get the best credit score possible.

4. Increase Available Credit Card Balances

There are two ways to improve your debt utilization ratio. The easiest, and typically best, method is to pay off your credit card debt. You can also increase your credit card balances for a smaller improvement.

For example, let’s say you have 3 open credit cards. Your total balance owed across all three cards is $5,000, and the total limit on all three cards combined is $10,000. Right now, you have a 50% credit utilization ratio.

If you pay off $2,500, your utilization will drop to 25%, which will almost certainly increase your credit score the next time your credit card companies report your balance to the credit bureaus.

However, if you also ask for a credit limit increase on all three cards and can increase your open, available balances to $15,000 from $10,000, your new credit card utilization is about 17%, which puts you below the key 20% threshold.

Learn more about getting higher credit card limits here.

5. Avoid Opening and Closing Any Cards

The length of your credit history makes up 15% of your credit score. It takes many years to improve the length of your credit history, but only a few minutes to make it worse.

Your credit score measures this portion of your credit report by looking at the average age of open accounts. If you have two credit cards on your report and they are four years old and six years old, your average age of open credit is five years.

Opening a new card will give you three cards that are zero, four, and six years old. Now your average age of open accounts is four years. In an instant, you lost a year! Open three cards at once, and now your average is two years, which could lead to a noticeable drop in your credit score.

About the author

Eric Rosenberg

Eric Rosenberg

Eric Rosenberg is a finance, travel, and technology writer originally from Denver, Colorado living in Ventura, California. When away from the keyboard, Eric he enjoys exploring the world, flying small airplanes, discovering new craft beers, and spending time with his wife and baby girl. You can connect with him at his own finance blog Personal Profitability.

19 Comments

  • Lexington law is the most useless company I have ever had the displeasure of working with, i couldn’t recommend them to my worst enemy ,, yes they send letters to creditors but at least for me,, they were not truthful letters. I had them 8 months and have accomplished far more in 2 months by myself then they ever have

  • I had a score of 500 Within 1 year I have a score of 750 But there keeps popping up a medical bill which gets disputed and they change there name and pop up again and down goes my score I don’t know how to hande this

  • Unfortunately I’m pretty sure if people with bad credit had been doing all these things in the first place, they wouldn’t be dealing with bad credit now. But I suppose it’s never too late to change your ways.

    • Some people didn’t have the tools or knowledge to know they were getting themselves in trouble. Not for you to judge. This is a crap comment.

      • We agree, Tracey! Not everyone is born with the tools to take care of their credit, and not everyone has someone who will teach them. That’s why we came up with The Credit Solution Program in the first place 🙂

    • Jimmy, your comment proves your youth and ignorance! Cancer, job loss, critical illness (heart, Parkinsons, etc. . . ), car accidents, businesses closing, lawsuits, death, bad banks that the government bails out and not the people they affected and things you don’t even see coming can affect your credit scores. You can have all the tools in the world, but when life throws you a complete curveball with something completely out of your control, family, not money, comes first. You can rebuild credit, you can’t rebuild corruption and death.

  • I am a California Resident who sign up with the Credit Pros in October of 2016, I am having problem with them, When i was first contacted by Elizabeth a company sales Person for the consultation i was told that they will work on the three Credit Reporting Bureaus,

    I never receive in any of the 4 Months that i am with them three report, The only Report that i am somewhat pleased with is Transunion,
    Experian and Equirfax in the last four Months i received two reports from each and nothing has been done on the reports,
    how every my credit card was charge $99.99 each month plus when i had the consultation on what to expect from the company i was charge $99.99 and was told that they will work on all three credit reporting Bureaus each month,

    When i complain last month i was told that they can not grantee the credit reporting bureaus action mainly Experian.

    • Hi Nellie,
      Have you considered our Credit Solution Program? You can improve your credit score on your own by using the process discussed in our program (which you can access here), or by calling a company like CreditPros (at 855-980-4898) and getting their help to bring your score up. Best of luck!

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