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Can You Raise Your Credit Score 100 Points In a Month?

Having a bad credit score might seem like a tough burden to overcome. It doesn’t have to be, however. There are practical steps you can take today to see a significant improvement in just a matter of weeks. Here are a few simple changes you can make today to raise your credit score by up to 100 points in just a month.

Can You Raise Your Credit Score By 100 Points In a Month?

If you have a bad credit score, you might think it’s impossible to raise your score by 100 points in 30 days. The fact is, however, that the lower your credit score, the easier it is to see a massive jump in a short period. So yes, you can raise your credit score by up to 100 points in a month. Here’s how:

How to Raise Your Credit Score – Fast

Quickly raising your credit score requires a few critical habits: paying your bills on time, reducing your debt, and increasing your overall credit limits.

What Do Lenders Look for?

Before we dive into the process of quickly raising your credit score, it’s important to understand what exactly goes into a credit score. There are two major credit scoring models: FICO and VantageScore. These two models account for over 99% of the credit scoring used by lenders for things like loans, credit cards, mortgages, and more.  So, what do these two models look at?

FICO Scoring Model

  • Payment History (35%) – Paying accounts on time is a good indicator to a lender that you will continue this behavior. 
  • Amounts Owed (30%) –  Owing money to multiple accounts won’t disqualify you from approval for a new loan or credit card. However, using too much of your available credit may indicate you are over-extended. Banks may interpret what they see as over-extension as a higher risk of default.
  • Length of Credit History (15%) – A long credit history will often increase your FICO score.  A long credit history that features several defaulted accounts will not work in your favor, however. The opposite is also true. 
  • New Credit (10%) – FICO evaluates how you shop for credit, in addition to the number of credit accounts you’ve opened. Each time you apply for credit, the lender makes an inquiry – a request for your credit report or score. Too many inquiries and opening several accounts in a short time can be a red flag for lenders.
  • Credit Mix (10%) – This refers to the diversity of your credit file – your credit cards, retail accounts, installment and mortgage loans, and finance company accounts. The more accounts you have with good credit history, the better your FICO score will be. 

VantageScore Scoring Model

  • Payment History (40%) – VantageScore gives the most weight to whether a consumer has made on-time payments regularly in the past.
  • Depth of Credit (21%) – This refers to a combination of factors like credit age and credit mix. Essentially, it is an evaluation of a consumer’s length of credit, as well as the types of credit they use.
  • Credit Utilization (20%) – Lenders look at the amount of available credit a consumer uses at any given time.  Credit experts recommend that consumers use 30% or less of their available credit at any time.
  • Balances (11%, or Moderately Influential) – This factor considers the total of each recently reported balance. It includes both current and delinquent credit accounts.
  • Recent Credit (5%) – VantageScore also looks at the number of new accounts you’ve opened. Whether you’ve taken out a loan or opened a new credit card, lenders want to know. This information can be an indicator of future financial performance.
  • Available Credit (3%) – Lenders want to see that you’re not taking out more credit than you actually need. According to VantageScore, the average amount of unused credit for prime consumers ranges from $20,000 to $22,000.

Now that you understand what makes up your credit score, how can you quickly raise your credit score?

Five Steps to Raise Your Credit Score By Up to 100 Points In a Month

Pay Your Bills On Time

Paying your bills on time is the most important thing you can do to raise your credit score quickly. This is because payment history makes the biggest impact in your credit score. Both FICO and VantageScore – the most-used scoring models – prioritize payment history. All told, your payment history accounts for approximately 35% of your entire credit score’s calculation. Always make sure you make at least the minimum payment on all your credit accounts every month. Even one derogatory mark on your credit report can stain your credit for a long time. Late payments will remain visible on your credit report for up to seven years – so pay your bills on time.

Reduce Your Debt

Nearly as crucial to payment history is overall debt. If you want to boost your credit score quickly, you need to start paying down your existing balances. For people with good credit scores, that may be as simple as applying for a balance transfer credit card – like the Upgrade Card. Using a balance transfer or debt consolidation credit card allows you to combine balances and pay them off at a lower interest rate. Often, these cards come with a lengthy 0% intro APR period – making them ideal for reducing debt fast. Paying down debt is trickier for people with bad credit – or even fair credit scores. Paying down balances might be tricky, but it can help you reduce your credit use and free up your finances. Plus, reducing your debt is a great habit to get into anyway.

Increase Your Available Credit

You should also increase your available credit limits. When you combine lower debt and higher credit lines, you instantly become a much more attractive borrower. Lenders like individuals who aren’t financially stretched – and having a significant amount of available credit is one of the best ways to gauge this. Credit bureaus also recognize this reality and will raise the credit score of people who have low debt and high credit lines. Asking your current credit card issuer for a limit increase is straightforward. Call the customer service phone number and request an increase. You might even be able to request a credit limit increase online or through the card issuer’s mobile banking app.

Get an “Instant Approval” Unsecured Credit Card

Opening a new line of credit is also a pretty easy task – even if you have bad credit. There are several quality options for people with subprime credit that want to add an additional line of credit. Cards like the Milestone Gold Mastercard and Indigo Platinum Mastercard are two of the better “instant approval” credit cards for bad credit scores. Both cards offer quick pre-approval, meaning you’ll know your approval odds before you apply. The application process is also straightforward, with a decision given in moments.

Or Consider Getting a Secured Credit Card Instead

A secured credit card is another good option to consider. Secured cards offer an easier route to guaranteed approval since they have a security deposit requirement. A card, like the OpenSky Visa Credit Card, features no credit check, for instance. If you want to increase your available credit significantly, open an OpenSky account and place a large deposit. You won’t have to worry about the negative impact of a hard inquiry on your credit score while enjoying a significant drop in overall credit use – instantly.

Conclusion

Repairing your credit is a long-term project that requires changing how you view – and use – credit at a fundamental level. That said, it is possible to raise your credit score by 25, 50, 75, or even 100 points in just a month.

A new credit card might play a key role in this equation, but it isn’t the most critical part. That role goes to the reduction in overall credit use – or credit utilization.

Reducing your credit utilization will have a dramatic effect on your credit score almost overnight. Paying off your existing balances is key, with applying for a new credit card also playing an important part.

If you are considering opening a new line of credit, always ensure you do so only if you plan to use it properly. Irresponsible credit card use can destroy your credit repair goals and sink you further into financial despair.

Related Article: How Long Does It Take to Repair Your Credit Score?

About: Cory
Cory Santos

Cory is BestCards.com's "Jack of all trades" and resident rewards expert, covering all facets of the points game – especially travel, hotels, and airlines. In addition to credit cards, Cory finds that jogging, cats, and memes are essential parts of a balanced day.