The key to improving credit scores is understanding that there are several factors to consider and that there is not just one solution. There are no guarantees and results vary.
1. Create a monthly budget to avoid overspending, make sure your bills are being paid on time, and to avoid any future collections reporting.
2. Create a payment tracker to make sure that all payments are being made on time. A new 30-day late payment can have a significant negative impact on the credit scores for up to 7 years.
3. Pay off unpaid collections or charge-offs. As long as the account remains unpaid and updates each month, it will continue to suppress the credit scores regardless of the good information reported. Just know that, by law, no one can attempt to remove accurate and verified accounts from the credit report.
4. Pay down credit card balances to below 30% of the credit limit. Paying them off is even better!
5. If there is a lack of active accounts reporting, consider adding 1 or 2 credit cards (that report to all three credit bureaus) to help fuel your scores. You may need to obtain a secured credit card to achieve this. Again, the key is to maintain balances on all cards to less than 30% of the credit limit. Maintaining a zero balance can be even better.
6. Keep active accounts (especially credit cards) with good payment histories open for as long as possible. There may be an exception for high-interest loans.
7. Avoid applying for new credit unless necessary. Hard inquiries impact the credit score for 90 days. Multiple inquiries for car loans, mortgages, and student loans only count as 1 inquiry if done within a 30-day window.
8. Challenge or dispute qualified negative accounts with the credit reporting agencies. If the account in question is inaccurate, obsolete, or cannot be verified then it is possible for the reporting agency to remove the account from the credit report sooner than 7 years.
For 17 years we have helped consumers improve credit scores from 400, 500, or 600 scores to 700 and beyond. The key is to follow our advice, take the right action, and stick with the process. We are ready to help you!