First things first: there is no magic solution to raising your credit score overnight.
If you have a low score due to, say, bankruptcy (which can affect your credit for up to seven years), boosting it requires a long-term plan of consistent on-time payments, and other responsible credit practices.
However, a low score due to a lack of credit can jump much more quickly. Check it out:
1. Fix errors on your credit report
According to the Federal Trade Commission, one in four credit reports contains small errors, which can affect your score. Errors might include false information attributed to you because of identity theft or just a simple mix up, accounts that don’t belong to you, and more.
If the mistake negatively affected your score, you can expect it to improve in approximately 60 days after correction, reportedly.
2. Pay off credit cards every month
If you pay off your debts, you’ll see your score go up. That doesn’t mean you should run out and buy things you don’t need, however. Instead, charge expenses like bills and gas (things you already pay for in cash) on your credit cards, and pay them off every month.
If you’re struggling to cover your existing debt, create a debt management plan to free up extra cash.
3. Stay away from your credit limits
Paying down the debt will improve your creditworthiness, and help your “credit utilization” (the amount of debt you have relative to your credit card limits). When you get closer to your limits, you reduce your available credit, which is bad for your score.
So bring down your debt to an acceptable amount as defined by the credit bureaus, and your score will improve.
4. Set up automatic payments
Your credit score takes a hit with every late payment. That’s because payment history comprises 35% of your score. If you struggle to remember when money is due, set up automatic payments with your credit cards. It’s an easy way to stay punctual and—barring other major marks against your credit—turn your score around in a relatively short amount of time.