Steps to Improve Credit Score

Quick Answer

You can improve your credit score by making on-time payments and keeping your credit card balances as low as possible.
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Dear Experian,

What steps can I take to improve my credit score by 100 points?


Dear KKB,

Because every credit report is different and there are many different credit scoring models available, there is no single solution when it comes to improving your credit score by 100 points. In fact, if your FICO® Score is above 750, you won't be able to raise it by 100 points, since FICO® Scores range from 300 to 850.

There are some steps anyone can take to help improve their credit scores, however. Most people need to start with the two most important factors in credit scoring:

  1. Your payment history: Paying your bills on time, every time, is essential to having good credit scores.
  2. Your credit utilization: Keeping your credit card balances as low as possible is also essential. How your card balances compare with your credit limits is reflected in your utilization rate, or balance-to-limit ratio.

Doing those two things will ensure your scores are headed in the right direction.

Review the Factors Impacting Your Credit Score

To better understand what's affecting your credit, get copies of your credit reports from the three major credit bureaus by visiting Your credit reports will show you key information including your account balances, payment history and credit inquiries.

Get your free credit score as well. When you order your credit score with Experian, you will receive a list of the top factors that are currently impacting your score. Focusing on these "risk factors" will help you understand what changes you can make specific to your credit history in order to begin improving your credit score and your overall credit rating, and do so as quickly as possible.

Steps Everyone Can Take to Help Improve Their Credit Score

  • Bring current any past-due accounts. If you have any accounts that are past due, such as collection accounts or charge-off accounts, bringing those accounts current is the first step to rehabilitating your credit scores. Paying off collections may not improve all your credit scores, but getting caught up with a late account will prevent any additional late payments from being recorded.
  • Reduce balances on revolving accounts. Your credit utilization is calculated by taking the total of all your credit card balances and dividing it by the total of all your credit card limits. The lower your credit utilization rate, the better. Credit utilization above 30% can start to bring down your scores, and people with the best credit scores tend to keep their credit utilization below 10%. If possible, you should aim to pay your credit card balances off in full each month.
  • Apply for credit only when necessary. Although inquiries have a minimal impact on credit scores, multiple applications for credit within a short period of time can cause lenders and credit scoring models to view you with more risk.
  • Sign up for Experian Boost®ø. You can get credit for your positive utility, cellphone and streaming service payments that wouldn't otherwise be added to your credit report with Experian Boost. By using Experian Boost to add these payments to your Experian credit report, you can help build your positive payment history. You will receive an updated credit score at the end of the sign-up process so that you can see how your score was affected.

Check Your Credit Report Frequently

If you are trying to improve your credit score as quickly as possible, request a free copy of your credit report and review it carefully to ensure all information is accurate and up to date. You have to know what is in your credit report before you can determine what you need to do to make it better.

If you plan to make a major purchase in the near future, order your credit report at least three to six months prior to applying for credit. Doing so will allow time for you to address any issues and for any changes to be reflected in the report prior to the application process.

Thanks for asking,
Jennifer White, Consumer Education Specialist

How Good Is Your Credit Score?

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