Can You Raise Your Credit Score by 200 Points?

Can You Raise Your Credit Score by 200 Points? article image.

If you monitor your credit scores, you may have noticed that they fluctuate on a regular basis. It's normal to see your credit scores rise or drop by a few points from one month to the next, but making a huge improvement in your scores won't happen overnight.

If you're looking to raise your score by a large number, know that your unique credit history makes it impossible to guarantee a certain increase over a set time period. Any promises to increase your score by a specific number should be viewed with caution.

However, you can take steps to improve your credit score by learning about the issues that are bringing it down and adopting new habits that can put you on a path to a higher score.

How Long Does It Take to Improve Your Credit Score?

You can always make improvements in your credit scores, but there's no guaranteed timeline for gaining a set number of points. Your timeline for improvement can be longer or shorter based on your credit habits, and how they work in combination with one another.

A substantial gain in points will require some time and patience, but the sooner you start implementing positive credit habits, the sooner you'll hit your goal. You can start building a higher credit score right away by reducing your credit card balances, managing your credit card and loan accounts responsibly, and monitoring your credit file.

It's also important to avoid adding negative items to your credit file. Filing bankruptcy, for instance, is one of the most impactful items to your credit reports, with the potential to cost you hundreds of points. Other severely damaging items on your credit report include collection accounts and vehicle repossession.

What Factors Affect Your Credit Score?

Understanding what goes into your credit scores can help you start gaining points faster and build up a strong credit file. Here are the main factors that go into calculating your scores:

  • Payment history: Whether you pay your credit cards and loans on time accounts for 35% of your FICO® Score , the score most often used by lenders.
  • Credit balances: Credit utilization, or the percentage of your available credit that you're using, makes up 30% of your FICO® Score. Keeping your balances under 30% of total credit available is key to maintaining a solid credit score; for top scores, aim to keep your utilization in single digits.
  • Length of credit history: The length of time you've had your credit accounts open makes up 15% of your FICO® Score. The longer you have your accounts open, the better.
  • Applications for new credit: Applications for credit cards and loans can cost you a few points each, and they impact your scores for a year. New applications account for 10% of your FICO® Score.

How to Improve Your Credit Score

There are a handful of ways to gain points, but the best way to improve your credit scores is to practice good credit habits over time. Here are some of the best ways to gain points and and maintain a strong credit file:

  • Pay every bill on time. Paying credit cards and loans on time is the biggest factor in improving your scores, and it shows creditors that you're a reliable borrower. Although non-debt bills don't typically impact your credit, falling behind on them can result in accounts going to collections, which has a severe negative impact on your scores.
  • Keep your balances to a minimum. Paying down your credit card balances will reduce your credit utilization ratio, which could help improve your scores. Low balances also show creditors that you're not strapped for cash and you can manage your credit card spending.
  • Limit your applications for new credit. When you make lots of applications for new credit, your scores can take a hit. Multiple applications signal to lenders that you might be in financial trouble and could be taking on lots of new debt. You can limit the damage of comparison shopping by making all of your applications for a single type of credit, such as a mortgage or a car loan, within a two-week time frame.
  • Build long-term credit history. The longer you keep your credit accounts open, the more your scores will improve. But you can still have high scores even if you haven't been using credit for a long period of time, as long as you practice good credit habits. You can also try becoming an authorized user to help lengthen your credit history.

Another important habit to practice while working on your credit scores is to keep an eye on your credit file. Monitoring your credit report and score for free with Experian will help you identify areas for improvement. It can also help you quickly catch errors that could hurt your scores and undo all of your hard work.

Is There a Quick Fix for Repairing Credit?

If you have negative items on your credit file, you might be tempted to work with a credit repair company for a quick fix.

Credit repair companies offer to "help" by saying they can remove negative items from your credit reports. They do this by taking over communications with your creditors or reporting agencies, and filing disputes on your behalf. You typically pay around $50 to $100 a month for this service. If an item on your credit report is correct, it cannot be removed by a credit repair company or anyone else. And the damage credit repair companies could cause to your credit, by requiring you to stop paying your bills, is substantial.

The truth is that building great credit takes time. Correct information, even if it is negative, cannot be permanently removed from your reports until it's due to drop off, which generally takes seven to 10 years. During that time, the impact of negative information decreases and your scores can improve.

If you find incorrect information on your credit reports, the best solution is to file a dispute, which you can do for free, and it doesn't require any help from a third party.

Boost Your Credit

When you're working to improve your credit scores, the best approach is to practice healthy credit habits over the long haul. But if you're struggling to get approved for your first credit card or loan, it can feel like you're stuck in a catch-22, since you need credit to build credit.

One way to jump-start the process is by using Experian Boost®ø. This free service allows you to add non-debt payments to your credit file. If you have a history of on-time payments for your cellphone, utility bills or even your Netflix® account, you can use Experian Boost to add those payments to your Experian credit report and improve your credit scores instantly.

How Good Is Your Credit Score?

300 credit score301 credit score302 credit score303 credit score304 credit score305 credit score306 credit score307 credit score308 credit score309 credit score310 credit score311 credit score312 credit score313 credit score314 credit score315 credit score316 credit score317 credit score318 credit score319 credit score320 credit score321 credit score322 credit score323 credit score324 credit score325 credit score326 credit score327 credit score328 credit score329 credit score330 credit score331 credit score332 credit score333 credit score334 credit score335 credit score336 credit score337 credit score338 credit score339 credit score340 credit score341 credit score342 credit score343 credit score344 credit score345 credit score346 credit score347 credit score348 credit score349 credit score350 credit score351 credit score352 credit score353 credit score354 credit score355 credit score356 credit score357 credit score358 credit score359 credit score360 credit score361 credit score362 credit score363 credit score364 credit score365 credit score366 credit score367 credit score368 credit score369 credit score370 credit score371 credit score372 credit score373 credit score374 credit score375 credit score376 credit score377 credit score378 credit score379 credit score380 credit score381 credit score382 credit score383 credit score384 credit score385 credit score386 credit score387 credit score388 credit score389 credit score390 credit score391 credit score392 credit score393 credit score394 credit score395 credit score396 credit score397 credit score398 credit score399 credit score400 credit score401 credit score402 credit score403 credit score404 credit score405 credit score406 credit score407 credit score408 credit score409 credit score410 credit score411 credit score412 credit score413 credit score414 credit score415 credit score416 credit score417 credit score418 credit score419 credit score420 credit score421 credit score422 credit score423 credit score424 credit score425 credit score426 credit score427 credit score428 credit score429 credit score430 credit score431 credit score432 credit score433 credit score434 credit score435 credit score436 credit score437 credit score438 credit score439 credit score440 credit score441 credit score442 credit score443 credit score444 credit score445 credit score446 credit score447 credit score448 credit score449 credit score450 credit score451 credit score452 credit score453 credit score454 credit score455 credit score456 credit score457 credit score458 credit score459 credit score460 credit score461 credit score462 credit score463 credit score464 credit score465 credit score466 credit score467 credit score468 credit score469 credit score470 credit score471 credit score472 credit score473 credit score474 credit score475 credit score476 credit score477 credit score478 credit score479 credit score480 credit score481 credit score482 credit score483 credit score484 credit score485 credit score486 credit score487 credit score488 credit score489 credit score490 credit score491 credit score492 credit score493 credit score494 credit score495 credit score496 credit score497 credit score498 credit score499 credit score500 credit score501 credit score502 credit score503 credit score504 credit score505 credit score506 credit score507 credit score508 credit score509 credit score510 credit score511 credit score512 credit score513 credit score514 credit score515 credit score516 credit score517 credit score518 credit score519 credit score520 credit score521 credit score522 credit score523 credit score524 credit score525 credit score526 credit score527 credit score528 credit score529 credit score530 credit score531 credit score532 credit score533 credit score534 credit score535 credit score536 credit score537 credit score538 credit score539 credit score540 credit score541 credit score542 credit score543 credit score544 credit score545 credit score546 credit score547 credit score548 credit score549 credit score550 credit score551 credit score552 credit score553 credit score554 credit score555 credit score556 credit score557 credit score558 credit score559 credit score560 credit score561 credit score562 credit score563 credit score564 credit score565 credit score566 credit score567 credit score568 credit score569 credit score570 credit score571 credit score572 credit score573 credit score574 credit score575 credit score576 credit score577 credit score578 credit score579 credit score