How to Improve Your Credit Score ↑ in 5 Steps | Credible (2024)

Our goal is to give you the tools and confidence you need to improve your finances. Although we receive compensation from our partner lenders, whom we will always identify, all opinions are our own. Credible Operations, Inc. NMLS # 1681276, is referred to here as "Credible."

To start improving your credit, you’ll need to understand what makes up your credit score and work on building good habits. Here’s how to improve your credit score:

  1. Pay all your bills on time
  2. Pay off your debt
  3. Don’t close credit card accounts
  4. Limit new credit
  5. Keep an eye on your credit report

1. Pay all your bills on time

First of all, it’s important to always pay all of your bills on time because on-time payments are a big part of what makes up your credit score. On top of that, if you miss just one monthly payment on a credit card or any other loan, that loan could get sent to collections.

If you’re already past due on a bill or two, don’t think it’s too late. Focus on getting those past due bills up to date. It’s a good idea to call the creditor if a bill has already been sent to collections, or if it hasn’t been sent to collections yet, call your lender or credit card company and work with them on a payment plan.

2. Pay off your debt

One of the best things you can do to improve your credit is to pay off your debt. You should aim to have a credit utilization ratio of 30% or less — though your score could be affected even before you hit that level. This is the amount of money (or credit) you’re using based on your available credit. The lower your utilization percentage, the better. This tells lenders you’re being responsible and not maxing out all your credit cards and loans.

For example, if your combined credit limit on three credit cards is $10,000, but you’re only using $2,000 of that total, your ratio would be just 20% (which is good).

Learn More: How to Pay Off Your Debt Fast

3. Don’t close credit card accounts

Sometimes you might think that you should close a credit card account simply because you don’t use the card anymore. But think twice before you do this.

Keeping all of your credit card accounts open for more than just a period of time can help your credit score since it adds to the length of credit history. In some cases, however, if a credit card has an annual fee that you can’t justify or afford, you might need to close it. Just know that it can affect your score, but the amount of the impact varies, depending on the account.

Keep Reading: How to Build Credit Fast

4. Limit new credit

Opening up a new credit account, whether a credit card or loan, can bring your score down slightly because they cause hard credit inquiries on your credit report. New accounts will also lower the average age of credit you have, so always keep this in mind when you open a new account.

It’s best to limit or not open too many new accounts at once since new credit inquiries can take about five points off your credit score.

5. Keep an eye on your credit report

Always check your credit score and report regularly. You can get a free copy of your credit report once a year from

In addition to checking your credit for errors, you should also look for anything that could be evidence of identity theft or fraud — like previous addresses of places you’ve never lived or names of employers you didn’t work for.

Though not always free, all three of the credit bureaus offer credit monitoring services, as well. But first, be sure to check to see if your bank, credit card issuers, or another financial institution offers this for free — many do.

Once you’ve worked on improving your credit, it’s important that you stick to these good habits. If you continue to nurture your credit, it can continue to grow — and then you’ll be the proud owner of that shiny, high credit score you’ve always wanted.

Find Out: Credit Monitoring: Why You Should Get a Credit Monitoring Service

About the author

How to Improve Your Credit Score ↑ in 5 Steps | Credible (1)

Jamie Young

Jamie Young is an authority on personal finance. Her work has been featured by Time, Business Insider, Huffington Post, Forbes, CBS News, and more.

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Home » All » Student Loan Refinancing » How to Improve Your Credit Score in Just 5 Steps

How to Improve Your Credit Score ↑ in 5 Steps | Credible (2024)


How to Improve Your Credit Score ↑ in 5 Steps | Credible? ›

What's in my FICO® Scores? FICO Scores are calculated using many different pieces of credit data in your credit report. This data is grouped into five categories: payment history (35%), amounts owed (30%), length of credit history (15%), new credit (10%) and credit mix (10%).

What are 5 ways to improve your credit score? ›

Here are five credit-boosting tips.
  • Pay your bills on time. Why it matters. Your payment history makes up the largest part—35 percent—of your credit score. ...
  • Keep your balances low. Why it matters. ...
  • Don't close old accounts. Why it matters. ...
  • Have a mix of loans. Why it matters. ...
  • Think before taking on new credit. Why it matters.

What are the 5 factors that help you build credit score? ›

Credit 101: What Are the 5 Factors That Affect Your Credit Score?
  • Your payment history (35 percent) ...
  • Amounts owed (30 percent) ...
  • Length of your credit history (15 percent) ...
  • Your credit mix (10 percent) ...
  • Any new credit (10 percent)

What are 4 ways to build your credit score? ›

There is no secret formula to building a strong credit score, but there are some guidelines that can help.
  • Pay your loans on time, every time. ...
  • Don't get close to your credit limit. ...
  • A long credit history will help your score. ...
  • Only apply for credit that you need. ...
  • Fact-check your credit reports.
Sep 1, 2020

What are the five 5 components that make up your credit score? ›

What's in my FICO® Scores? FICO Scores are calculated using many different pieces of credit data in your credit report. This data is grouped into five categories: payment history (35%), amounts owed (30%), length of credit history (15%), new credit (10%) and credit mix (10%).

What is the quickest way to raise my credit score? ›

4 tips to boost your credit score fast
  1. Pay down your revolving credit balances. If you have the funds to pay more than your minimum payment each month, you should do so. ...
  2. Increase your credit limit. ...
  3. Check your credit report for errors. ...
  4. Ask to have negative entries that are paid off removed from your credit report.

How to fix your credit yourself? ›

Here are 11 steps you can take on your own to steer your credit in the right direction.
  1. Check Your Credit Report. ...
  2. Dispute Credit Report Errors. ...
  3. Bring Past-Due Accounts Current. ...
  4. Set Up Autopay. ...
  5. Maintain a Low Credit Utilization Rate. ...
  6. Pay Off Debt. ...
  7. Avoid Applying for New Credit. ...
  8. Keep Unused Credit Accounts Open.
Apr 22, 2023

What are the 3 biggest factors in building a healthy credit score? ›

Following the guidelines below will help you maintain a good score or improve your credit score:
  • Watch your credit utilization ratio. ...
  • Pay your accounts on time, and if you have to be late, don't be more than 30 days late.
  • Don't open lots of new accounts all at once or even within a 12-month period.

What habit lowers your credit score? ›

Making late payments, even a single day late, can significantly affect your credit. This becomes especially true if you make a habit of paying late. Some lenders or credit card companies will charge you a fee for being a single day late and could cut you off from making further purchases on the account.

How to raise your credit score overnight? ›

How to Raise Your Credit Score 100 Points Overnight
  1. Become an Authorized User. This strategy can be especially effective if that individual has a credit account in good standing. ...
  2. Request Your Free Annual Credit Report and Dispute Errors. ...
  3. Pay All Bills on Time. ...
  4. Lower Your Credit Utilization Ratio.

What is the #1 way to build a good credit score? ›

Pay bills on time and in full

In fact, payment history is the most important factor making up your credit score. Your credit score considers whether you make payments on time or late and if you carry a balance month to month or pay it off in full.

What bills build credit? ›

Paying utilities, rent and cell phone bills can help build credit if they're reported to the credit bureaus. If certain bills aren't reported to the credit bureaus, you can consider using a third-party service to report your payments.

What are the 5 C's of credit in order? ›

The five C's, or characteristics, of credit — character, capacity, capital, conditions and collateral — are a framework used by many lenders to evaluate potential small-business borrowers.

How can you improve your score? ›

But here are some things to consider that can help almost anyone boost their credit score:
  1. Review your credit reports. ...
  2. Pay on time. ...
  3. Keep your credit utilization rate low. ...
  4. Limit applying for new accounts. ...
  5. Keep old accounts open.

What do the 5 C's of credit mean? ›

Lenders score your loan application by these 5 Cs—Capacity, Capital, Collateral, Conditions and Character. Learn what they are so you can improve your eligibility when you present yourself to lenders. Capacity.

What are 3 ways to build your credit score? ›

Here's a look at credit-building tools, and how to use them to earn a good credit score.
  • Get a secured card.
  • Get a credit-builder product or a secured loan.
  • Use a co-signer.
  • Become an authorized user.
  • Get credit for the bills you pay.
  • Practice good credit habits.
  • Check your credit scores and reports.
Dec 18, 2023

How do I raise my credit score 10 points? ›

How to Raise Your Credit Score by 10 Points
  1. Dispute Errors – Errors on your credit report can adversely impact your score. ...
  2. Pay Down Credit Card Debt – Paying off credit card debt reduces your credit utilization, which measures how much of your credit you're using.
Sep 23, 2022

How can I raise my credit score 100 points in 30 days? ›

For most people, increasing a credit score by 100 points in a month isn't going to happen. But if you pay your bills on time, eliminate your consumer debt, don't run large balances on your cards and maintain a mix of both consumer and secured borrowing, an increase in your credit could happen within months.

How do I raise my credit score 40 points fast? ›

Here are six ways to quickly raise your credit score by 40 points:
  1. Check for errors on your credit report. ...
  2. Remove a late payment. ...
  3. Reduce your credit card debt. ...
  4. Become an authorized user on someone else's account. ...
  5. Pay twice a month. ...
  6. Build credit with a credit card.
Feb 26, 2024

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