Fast Five! Quick ways to improve your credit score

  1. Clean up your credit report
    Request a free credit report from each of the big three credit reporting companies: TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax. Print and save them on your computer, and look through them. If any information is inaccurate, dispute it!

  2. Pay down your balance
    Pay down however much you owe, and begin to utilize your cards the right way. You should only be using 30%-50% of your credit limit to avoid over spending. High utilization of your credit card negatively affects your credit score. Higher balances indicate to prospective lenders that there's an increased risk that you will fall behind on your payments because you may be overextended. As soon as you reduce your credit card balances, your credit utilization will decrease and your credit score will increase.

  3. Pay twice a month
    If you run up a big balance once a month, it may look like you are not paying it down in time or over using your credit, since creditors only report your balances to the bureau once a month. If you pay it off at least twice a month, it will keep your running balance lower.

  4. Increase your limits
    If you’re not in a position to pay down your balances, it may be time to increase your credit limits, so that your utilization becomes lower. You’ll need to call your credit card company to do this, but ask for an increase. When your utilization becomes lower your credit score can improve.

  5. Negotiate Outstanding balances
    Call your debtors and try to make a deal. The most important step in this is to get the agreement in writing from the debtor. If you have a small chunk of change to offer as a settlement to debtors they may take it. You can’t wipe this off of your credit report, but you can help lessen the blow they’ve done to your score by settling them.