Perhaps you want to apply for a loan or credit card, but you want to get the best rates or terms possible. Maybe you feel like you're on the border of getting approved or denied, and you want to quickly boost your credit score to improve your approval chances... Well, here are some tips to boost or improve your credit score fast!
Lower Your Credit Card BalanceHaving high credit card balances will lower score and can significantly lower your score once you get over 50% of your credit limit. As a side note, in some cases carrying a zero balance can have a small negative impact on your score. Ideally, if you're looking to squeeze out every credit score point that you can, you should carry a balance of 1-9% of your credit limit. This isn't always the case, but more often then not, you may just gain a few extra points by carrying a small balance. In all cases, don't go over 50% of your credit limit, as this has a large negative impact on your score. There is good news if you are carrying a high balance... Once you pay them down your score will bounce back up (once the creditor updates this info in your credit report), so it's a great way to quickly boost your credit score.
Hold Off from Applying if PossibleCheck your credit reports and see if there's any inquiries getting near 12 months old... Inquiries remain on your credit file for 2 years, but it only impacts your score for 1 year. If you have 1 or even a few inquiries 9+ months old, it may be worth waiting those extra months. Depending on your credit file, any 1 inquiry could be worth 1-5 points, and by waiting it out, you may just gain a handful of points. Moreover, if you wait a few months, you're likely to gain a point or two by extending your length of credit history (provided you make on time payments), which may also give you time to pay down your balances.
Dispute and Remove Negative InformationIf you have any inaccurate information in your credit report(s), you'll definitely want to deal with them before applying for credit. It never pays to ignore inaccurate information, so if it's there, work on getting it removed! If you have negative accounts that are accurate, try working out a "Pay for Delete" deal, where you offer to pay (either in full or a settled amount) and in return, they'll delete the negative account from your credit reports. Getting negative accounts removed from your credit report(s) can give you a big score boost, depending on the age of the account.
Now you could try disputing accurate negative information, even post a comment on the negative account (you're entitled to do so), and you may see a score boost from this. The credit reporting agencies deny that this will improve your score, but there are numerous reports, from both consumers and credit repair specialists, that disputing and commenting negative accounts boost credit scores. This, to me, gets into ethical practices, so I won't recommend doing it, but I will put it out there for you to know. You make that call and see if it works. I'll just state that it's something that may work, though I wouldn't bet the farm on it. Even if it does work, it's temporary, as the credit bureaus remove dispustes and/or comments after some time has passed (usually 30-90 days). Your best bet is offering a pay for delete, since this is the permanent option.
For those who need more than a few pointers, you may want to read our 5 Steps to Fix Your Credit