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How can I raise my credit score fast?

Dear Experian,

I need to boost my credit score in a 1-2 month span to get a home loan. I currently have a 620 and I need a 680. How can I increase my score in such a short time?

- TVD

Dear TVD,

Increasing your credit scores takes time. The more serious your credit challenges, the longer it will take. It may be difficult to raise your credit scores in just one or two months, which equates to just one or two billing cycles.

If you are planning to make a major purchase such as a home or a car, it's best to check your credit reports at least 3-6 months in advance, so that you can begin making any necessary changes.

Everyone's credit history is different, so the answer to what you personally should do to improve your credit scores really depends on your individual credit history. That said, the most important factor in credit scoring is whether you make all your payments on time. The second most important factor is your credit utilization rate.

Making all Payments on Time is the Most Important Factor in Credit Scores

If you have had late payments in the past, the first thing you should do is make sure all of your accounts are now up-to-date and current. Late payments remain on the credit report for seven years, but the longer ago they occurred, the less they affect your scores.

If you have accounts that are currently past due, bringing them current is the first step to rebuilding your credit history. Going forward, you will want to ensure that all payments are made on time, every time. Payment history is the most important factor for FICO Scores and can account for up to 35% of your credit score.

Keeping Your Balances Low is the Second Most Important Factor in Most Credit Scores

Your credit utilization rate refers to the balances on your credit card accounts. This is also called your balance-to-limit ratio, and can be calculated by dividing the total of all your balances by the total of all your credit limits. In general, you should keep the balances on credit cards as low as possible, ideally paying them off each month.

A rule of thumb is to never have utilization rates of more than 30% on any one card or in total. The lower your total utilization rate the better. An Experian survey showed that people with the best scores have utilization rates of less than 10 percent.

Focus on Your Risk Factors

Since you are planning to apply for a home loan in the near future, you should consider ordering your credit report and credit score from Experian. With a credit report and score in hand, you will be able to see exactly what you need to work on to improve your credit scores the fastest.

Your credit scores should come with a list of the factors that are most affecting your score. These risk factors will help you understand what changes you can make in order to start improving your score.

You will likely need to allow some time for any changes you make to be reported by your creditors and reflected in your credit scores.

The higher your credit scores the lower the rates will be for your mortgage loan. You might want to wait a bit longer before applying for a mortgage so that you can improve your credit history. Doing so could save you thousands of dollars over the life of the loan.

Thank you for asking,
The "Ask Experian" team

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