035. Credit Hacks: (Perfectlly Legal) Ways to Raise Your Credit Score in 180 Days
Most people do not realize your credit health is just as important as your physical and mental health. Just like you need to take care of your mind and body, you need to nourish your credit with a little TLC. Raising your credit score is just like losing weight, it takes time and dedication, however, I have learned some really fast results-oriented credit tricks that will raise your score. When I received an unexpected medical retirement from the military a few years back I accumulated a large amount of debt. I took out a loan with a ridiculous interest rate and used credit cards to cover most of my expenses. My credit suffered tremendously, yet over the past year I have really been able to repair my credit. While I have paid off my loan in full and paid down (or off) credit cards and other revolving lines of credit, I also used some unconventional but absolutely legal simple tricks to raise my credit score 100 points. Check out simple credit hacks that you can use now to improve your credit rating within 6 months.
Dispute Old Facts
One technique to improving your credit score is to dispute old negative information on your credit report. This is a little sneaky but nonetheless still legal. Old infractions on your credit report are least likely to be disputed by creditors. By disputing negative information the hope is the original lender will not respond or not care to contest your dispute and the negative mark will be erased from your report. Most lenders have bigger fish to fry, especially being if your debt is a few years old, credits focus more energy on collecting or managing current or newly delinquent accounts than older ones.
Request Credit Limit Increase
Avoid opening new lines of credit and ask for increased limits with your existing creditors. This is a trick hack here, but I will try to explain it the best I can. You can request a credit limit increase about every 6 - 12 months with most credits and actually have your request granted. But before you initiate a request there are many factors that you need to consider so this does not work against you. First, hard inquiries negatively impact your credit if you have too many (more than 5 or 6). Inquiries roll off of your credit in 24 months. If you do not have any hard inquiries requesting a credit limit will work in your favor, as generating a credit inquiry is not detrimental to your score. On the other hand if you are approaching 4 or more hits avoid this tip. Limit increases can increase your credit score by improving your credit utilization score. Also, timing is everything, when you request a limit increase your account must be in good standing.
Keep Your Credit Line Open
Credit age makes up approximately 15 percent of your overall credit score. If you have had a revolving line of credit for an extended period of time, don’t close unused credit card accounts. A key factor in your score is your length of credit history. Some people believe a short term strategy to improve your score is to close unused accounts, or paid off credit cards. The moment people pay of their car, they want it off their report. This actually has a negative impact if you’ve had your line of credit for a long period of time. Older accounts increase your average age which lessen the impact on your score. “Good debt” that shows a history of accounts in good standing or that you maintained and paid your lender as agreed is what generates good credit.
Contact Creditors for Assistance
If you are having trouble making ends meet or making your minimum payments contact your creditors to negotiate a lower monthly payment amount or decreased interest rate. Creditors are not always as bad as we think. Creditors understand some payment is better than no payment. If you are not able to pay the likelihood of the credit recouping its principle in full decrease. It is all about communicating with your creditor. Let them know your circumstances and in most cases, creditors will try to accommodate you in any way possible. Delinquent payments are amongst the most damaging actions to your FICO scores, which contributes approximately 35 percent of your overall score. If you can manage to pay your bills on time, you should see your credit score increase over about a 90 day period.
Negotiate “Bad Debt”
This kind of goes with the last contacting creditors for assistance. In the event, you have become delinquent, don’t deny that you have not paid your bill or think you can sweep it under the rug and it will go away. Contact your lender and let them know you were unable to pay on your debt for whatever reason. Ask your creditor to erase your debt or negative information on your account if you can reach an agreed upon amount or paying the remaining balance. It is best to write a letter and get the creditor to agree in writing prior to making any additional payments. You can also negotiate the amount you have to pay by agreeing on settlement terms or a good-will adjustment. The better your payment history prior to becoming delinquent the more leverage you have in your future payment arrangement.
Become an Authorized User
If you do not have credit history or less than favorable credit, it may be hard for you to repair or establish credit. If you have the means, ask a family member or trusted friend to add you to his/her existing credit account. By doing so, you create payment history to your credit record. With most lenders, as an authorized user, you will get credit for the entire account history, not just from the point from which you were added.
Please note: I am not a credit expert and the tips and tricks provided in this post are based on my own experiences. If you are unsure about any content provided please seek professional credit counseling for determine the best course of action based on your specific circumstances.