Many young people struggle with building credit. That includes getting their credit score up, too, into a respectable range. Remember that there are different credit scores (FICO is probably the most popular, though), and they’re not calculated exactly the same.
But getting your credit score into the “good” or “great” categories can save you a lot of money over time. Good credit scores usually lead to lower interest rates or friendlier terms when you apply for credit, be it a credit card or a student loan. It shows a lender that you’re trustworthy, that you’re likely to pay them back regularly and on time, and that you’re not going to default or disappear on them.
That’s why we usually refer to your credit score as “your financial reputation.” It precedes you in many ways!
But if you’re looking at ways to improve your credit score — maybe you have a short credit history, no credit history, or simply made some mistakes in the past — what can you do to get those numbers up? The answer is….a lot of things. But there are a few things you can do more or less immediately to get a quick boost, in most cases.
Improving your credit score quickly
Assuming you have at least some credit history, here’s a rundown of perhaps the most impactful things you can do for your credit score. Remember that you won’t see the numbers go up instantaneously — or at all, there are no guarantees — but a few strategic moves should help you out.
Make your payments on time
This one is pretty simple. All you need to do is make sure you’re making your monthly payments, and that they’re at least the minimum amount, and that you’re making those payments on time. Do whatever you need to do to make sure you’re doing it — set an alarm, get it tattooed (don’t do this, we’re kidding). Just make sure it gets done.
Get caught up
If you have debt that you’ve sort of…forgotten about or haven’t been making payments on, do your best to get caught up. Reach out to the lender, explain your situation, and start making your payments again. If possible, you may want to try and make extra payments to get everything current.
Increase your credit
The more credit you have, the better — generally, for your credit score. Reach out to your lenders and see if they’ll increase your credit limits. If not, look at applying for a new line of credit, which may help your score (it may also hurt it in the short term, though, so be careful).
There are myriad other things you can try, too. The key is to be responsible, stay on top of your debt, and make your payments. That, over time, will improve your score considerably.
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And check out our white paper: “Strategies for Increasing Financial Literacy Rates Among High School and College Students”
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