Because each person’s credit profile is unique, there is no universal, quickest method to fix one’s credit. Nevertheless, everyone can take certain fundamental steps to guarantee that their credit is in good condition.
Working towards a "perfect credit profile"
Let’s examine how your FICO score is calculated, including the impact of each category, and methods for improving them as fast as possible. According to MYFICO , credit scores are divided into five categories:
1. Payment history (35%)
2. Amounts owed (30%)
3. Length of credit history (15%)
4. Credit mix (10%)
5. New credit (10%)
When evaluating your credit to determine if they want to extend you credit, lenders usually look first at your payment history. This is a strong indicator of whether or not you will be able to make payments as agreed.
It is also the biggest factor in your credit score, accounting for 35%. Thus, maintaining a positive payment history with no or few late payments can help you qualify for better loan terms and interest rates.
To fix a negative payment history, there are only two options available:
Dispute: If you believe that an error has been made, you can dispute the items with the credit bureaus.
Goodwill: If the negative item is accurate, but you have a good history with your creditor, you may be able to negotiate a “goodwill removal.”
This is where you ask your creditor to remove the negative item as a gesture of goodwill, based on your history of responsible payments. Essentially, your creditor is saying, “You’ve been a good customer, so we’ll let this one slide.”
Amounts owed is the second most significant category that contributes to your overall credit score, accounting for 30%. To maintain a good score, it’s advisable to keep your credit utilization below 30%. For instance, if you have a credit limit of $300, it’s best to keep your balance at $100 or less. This, sometimes, can be the fastest way to repair your credit. Paying down your balances can have an almost immediate impact.
There are three ways to improve your amounts owed:
Pay down your balances: This may seem obvious, but if you have a high utilization rate and make an extra payment to bring it below 30%, this can have an immediate positive impact on your credit score.
Open a new account: By opening a new account and not utilizing it, or only using it minimally, you can improve your overall credit utilization. However, keep in mind that this approach could negatively impact the length of your credit history, which we’ll discuss shortly.
Authorized User: Another option is to become an authorized user on someone else’s account. If the account holder has a good credit history with low utilization, this could positively impact your credit score.
However, if the account holder maxes out their card, misses a payment, or is a new cardholder, it could negatively impact your credit score.
Length of credit history:
The length of your credit history accounts for 15% of your overall credit score. Essentially, this factor reflects the average length of time that all your accounts have been open.
There is not much you can do to improve this score, except for adding yourself as an authorized user to someone who has a well-established credit line.
Pro tip: Some of our credit repair clients mistakenly close their accounts after struggling with payments for a long period of time. While this may be a financially wise decision, it will impact the length of history component of your credit profile.
FICO Scores consider your mix of credit, including retail accounts, installment loans, and mortgage loans. You don’t necessarily need all of them, but we have found that the best mix of credit typically consists of the following:
- Auto loan
- Mortgage loan
- 2-3 credit cards.
Research shows that opening too many new credit cards in a short period of time increases the risk of default. We advise our clients to aim for the credit mix mentioned above and to try not to have more than 2-3 hard inquiries per year.
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Quick credit management tips:
1. Pay your bills on time.
If you have trouble with this, you can:
- Set up auto-payments with your bank.
- Set up reminders.
- Use budgeting tools like Mint.com.
2. Reduce your debt.
Depending on your debt and financial resources, here are a few ways to gain control of your debt:
- Balance transfers can sometimes help. If you have good credit and high-interest rate cards, you may be able to transfer the balances to a lower interest card.
- Negotiate with your creditors.
Dispute errors on your credit report
- Get a copy of your credit report.
- Check for errors.
- Dispute any and all errors you see.
Seek professional help
If managing your credit and debt is too much for you, you may need professional help. Consider:
- Credit counseling
- Debt management programs
- Credit repair companies
I recommend exploring all of these options before making any commitments.
sometimes repairing your credit can be a fast process, most of the time it’s not. Rebuilding your credit score can take time and effort, but it is worth it in the long run. By focusing on the key factors that make up your credit score, such as payment history, amounts owed, length of credit history, credit mix, and new credit, you can begin to take steps to improve your credit score. By following good credit management practices like paying your bills on time, reducing your debt, and disputing any errors on your credit report, you can take control of your financial future and improve your creditworthiness.
What is a good credit score?
A good credit score is typically 670 or above.
How long does it take to repair your credit?
The time it takes to repair your credit can vary depending on the extent of the damage. It can take anywhere from a few months to a few years.
Can I repair my credit on my own?
Yes, you can repair your credit on your own by following the steps outlined in this article. However, seeking professional help can make the credit repair process easier and more effective, and maybe a little faster.