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What’s the Fastest Way to Repair Bad Credit?

Last updated on August 5th, 2020

Your credit score is one of the most important pieces of information you have. Your credit score determines your eligibility for mortgages, personal loans, and credit cards. If you have a bad credit score, however, don’t worry. There are steps you can take to rebuild bad or poor credit. So, what’s the fastest way to repair your bad credit? And can you boost your it in a month or less?

Can You Improve Your Credit Score in 30 Days?

While most experts believe it can take months to significantly repair your credit, you may see results in as little as one month. Boosting your credit score in 30 days is tough, however – but not impossible. Here’s how to do it:

Remove Late Payments

Payment history is the single most crucial factor in determining your credit score. It also plays a big role in how your credit report looks to anyone who inspects it. Late payments can lower your credit score by 100 points or more. The scary thing about late payments is that they remain on your credit report for years. This means it takes time – and a long string of on-time payments – to remove the smudge.

The good news is that late payments are removable from credit reports – but it takes persistence and some luck. Calling your creditors and asking for a “goodwill adjustment” is your best bet. If they refuse this adjustment, try negotiating an automatic payment plan for late payment remark removal.

Reduce Your Credit Utilization

Credit usage – also known as credit utilization – is another critical factor that makes up your credit score. Keeping your credit utilization under 30% is essential for maintaining a good credit score. The lower you go, however, the better the results.

Try to reduce your credit card spending under 30% of your limit – or less than 10% if possible, as this is the optimal percentage. This action can lead to a quick jump in your credit score as early as the next reporting cycle.

Increase Your Overall Credit

The more credit available to you, the better. When you have more available credit, and your credit utilization is low, lenders see you as financially stable. This reflects well on you and makes you an attractive, low-risk borrower in their eyes. It also plays a key role in repairing your bad credit score.

Increasing your overall credit lines can be difficult if you have bad credit, however. Fortunately, secured credit cards offer an easy way into higher credit lines. This type of card requires a security deposit to open, but often the application does not include a hard inquiry into your report. This makes them the easiest credit cards to get. And, since the deposit equals the credit limit, you can add as much as you want – giving you the power to set your own spending threshold.

Related Article: What Are the Easiest Credit Cards to Get for Bad Credit?

Two of the best secured cards to consider are the OpenSky Visa and the First Progress Platinum Prestige. The OpenSky is a perennial favorite in the secured card space due to its modest $35 annual fee, credit-building knowledge base, and no required credit check.

The First Progress Platinum Prestige has a higher annual fee than the OpenSky Visa ($49), but it more than makes up for this with its excellent regular APR. The card has a variable APR of just 9.99% – almost half that of the OpenSky. For those planning on potentially carrying a balance from time to time, the First Progress is a top choice.

More Information:

OpenSky® Secured Visa®

No Credit Check to Apply

OpenSky® Secured Visa®
  • Regular Purchase APR 17.39% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance APR 17.39% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Annual Fee $35
  • Credit Needed Poor , No Credit Required
  • Processing Network Visa
Best Benefits
  • Build credit with on-time payments
  • Reports to the three leading credit bureaus
  • Credit limist between $200 and $3,000
  • Visa benefits and protections
Rates & Fees
  • Regular Purchase APR: 17.39% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance APR: 17.39% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance Transaction Fee: Either $6 or 5% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater.
  • Annual Fee: $35
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars
  • Late Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $38
  • Return Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $25
  • Minimum Deposit Required: $200
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First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard® Secured Credit Card

No Credit History or Minimum Credit Score Required

First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard® Secured Credit Card
  • Regular Purchase APR 9.99% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance APR 18.99% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Annual Fee $49
  • Credit Needed Poor , No Credit Required
  • Processing Network Mastercard
Best Benefits
  • No Credit History or Minimum Credit Score Required for Approval
  • Quick and Complete Online Application
  • Full-Feature Platinum Mastercard® Secured Credit Card
  • Monthly Reporting to all 3 Major Credit Bureaus to Establish Credit History
  • 24/7 Online Access to Your Account
Rates & Fees
  • Regular Purchase APR: 9.99% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance APR: 18.99% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance Transaction Fee: Either $10 or 3% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater
  • Annual Fee: $49
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 3% of the transaction amount
  • Late Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $40
  • Return Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $29
  • Minimum Deposit Required: $200
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Raise Your Credit Limits

Closely linked with applying for additional credit to repair imperfect credit is raising your limits with existing cards. This may initially be difficult, depending on your current credit score, payment history, and existing stable of credit cards. You should first call your issuer to discuss a credit limit increase – and don’t be afraid to negotiate.

How to Repair Bad Credit: Conclusion

The fastest – and most consistent – way to repair bad credit is through sound financial practices. These include making on-time payments every month, using as little of your available credit as possible, and increasing your overall credit limits.

The last step is best accomplished using secured cards, as they are easily accessible and don’t always require a credit check. Raising your credit limits, in combination with lowering your spending, can raise your score by 20, 30, or even 50 points within a month.

Despite this, however, you’ll need to maintain these good habits to see further gains to your score.

Related Article: What are the best secured cards of 2020?

About: Cory
Cory Santos

Cory is BestCards.com's "Jack of all trades" and resident credit expert, covering all facets of the credit card space. In addition to credit cards, Cory finds that jogging, cats, and memes are essential parts of a balanced day.