How to Improve Your Credit Score? 15 Effective Tips

Did you know that 38% of Canadians cite building their credit rating as one of the most common reasons for using credit cards?

But credit cards are not the only way to boost credit score, in fact, they always do more harm than good.

If you’re looking for ways to boost your credit score, we got some tips to help you!

Keep reading this easy guide to see how you can improve your credit score.

How Can You Improve Your Credit Score?

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Many factors can affect your credit score, including payment history, loans owed, length of credit history, late payments, and more.

Although you can’t instantly fix a low credit score, there are things you can do to start improving it as of today. Here are 15 tips to help you increase your credit score.

15 Tips to Improve Your Credit Score

Let’s go over some tips to get that credit score up!

1. Review Your Credit Report

The best and most secure options are Equifax and TransUnion. You can request these credit reports by phone, mail, or online.

Each credit bureau may have different information about how you have used credit in the past. Don’t worry. Ordering your credit report doesn’t affect your credit score.

2. Lower Your Credit Utilization Rate

Credit utilization rate is the portion of available credit, expressed in percentage, calculated by the total balances on all your credit cards divided by all of your credit limits. The less available credit you use, the higher your credit score – It’s an essential factor for raising your credit score.

3. Ask For a Higher Credit Limit

A higher credit limit lowers the percentage of available funds from the credit, and the utilization rate drops. That’s because lenders will consider you at risk of taking on too much debt. Therefore, with the increase of credit limit, your utilization rate will lower, which will boost your credit score.

4. Paying Bills on Time

You can reduce the amount that your card issuer reports to the credit bureaus by paying your bills early. By maintaining early payments, your credit utilization will drop, which can help raise a low credit score.

Since payment history is one of the significant factors affecting credit score, it’s worth being consistent with paying on time for better results.

5. Use a Secured Credit Card

Aside from providing the same payment method, there’s a difference between a credit card and a secured credit card. While credit cards just enable easy ways to pay, secured credit cards have the purpose of increasing your credit score. Note that getting this card requires a security deposit.

Make sure to check out our selection of the best secured credit cards in Canada!

6. Paying Off a Collections Account

According to FICO, collection accounts are considered delinquent and influential to your credit scores. These accounts fall under payment history, which is a very impactful factor in your credit score calculation, driving 35% of your score. Consumers with unpaid collections on their credit reports are likely to have lower credit scores.

7. Become an Authorized User

An authorized user has a credit card in his/hers name that’s attached to someone else’s account.

Being an authorized user can help you rebuild your credit score if there isn’t a late payments history, the utilization rate is low, and the major credit bureaus like Equifax and TransUnion are issuers of credit reports.

8. Get Credit for Rent and Utility Payments

Many factors determine a credit score, but paying utility bills on time usually isn’t enough to make a big difference. On the other hand, loans and credit cards affect the credit score, including repayments.

Therefore, keeping regular and early payments of a loan or credit for rent can help you raise your credit score faster.

9. Make the Most of a Thin Credit File

A thin credit file is one with a limited number of credit accounts. This file represents a track record of repayment and proves if they can trust you with a line of credit. You can build up this file by applying for a secured card or credit-builder loan that can build your credit score with ease.

10. Set Up Payment Reminders

By setting up automated reminders, it’s easier to establish regular prompt payments. These reminders can be a great help in increasing your credit score.

Note that there’s a delay between the time you set to make a payment and the time it gets posted on your account, so be careful.

11. Pay Down Revolving Account Balances

Revolving credit allows you to borrow the money you need for daily expenses or an emergency and pay the balance over time.

If not used wisely, revolving credit can certainly hurt your credit score. But as long as your payments are on time, as agreed, it’s an excellent way to boost your credit score.

12. Limit How Often You Apply For New Accounts

Applying for and using multiple credits could damage your credit score. Just a single application for an additional credit may take a few points off your score, whereas applying for more in a short period can damage your credit score a lot. And that’s regardless of whether your application was approved or not.

13. Consider a Debt Consolidation Plan

Generally speaking, debt consolidation is a process that involves taking out a new, lower loan and using it to pay off existing debts. This debt can include credit card balance, car rent, student debt, and other personal loans.

Debt consolidation can be a great way to streamline credits while reducing your payments, moreover, help you fix your credit score easier.

14. Take a Quick Loan

Lenders expect you to fulfil minimum requirements they look for approved quick, better-known personal loans. As a rule of thumb, it’s safe to say you need an average (descent) score to get approved for a quick loan.

Once your credit score is good, you can consider a quick loan as an advanced option for boosting it even further.

Make sure to check out our selection of the best personal loan providers in Canada!

15. Ask a Friend or Relative for Help

With the authorized use of someone else’s credit card or borrowing the money, a low credit score can become less hassle.

Rebuilding or improving your credit score is never fast and sometimes not easy either. Hence, it’s never a bad idea to ask for help if you have someone trustworthy and reliable.

What is a Credit Score?

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A credit score is a three-digit number, usually between 300 and 900, representing your credit risk or the odds you’ll pay your bills on time. The information in your credit reports, including your payment history, the amount of debt you have, and the duration of your credit history, calculates this number.

Furthermore, because many things affect this number, it’s clear that improving your credit score fast isn’t easy.

According to Equifax and TransUnion, the major credit bureaus in Canada, credit scores vary from poor, fair, reasonable, very well, and excellent. The following ranking by numbers makes it easier to understand a good credit score.

  • 760~900 is excellent
  • 725~759 is very well
  • 660~724 is good
  • 560~659 is fair
  • 300~559 is poor

How are Different Scores Affecting You and Your Loan or Credit Lenders?

A higher score indicates responsible credit behaviour in the past, which makes lenders and creditors more confident when approving a credit request. While low score usually means that the account had long credit history, late payments, or possibly a large debt.

Better credit scores generally receive more favourable credit terms, which leads to lower payments and less paid interest rates for the account.

If someone has a low score, there is a low chance for concession, and even if credit or loan is approved, payments and interest rates will be higher. This is why having a high credit score can be very useful.

How Long Does It Take to Rebuild a Credit Score?

Not to discourage you, but because many factors affect the quality of your credit score, this process can be slow. And that’s normal for anyone, of course.

Is There a Specific Timeline for Rebuilding Your Credit Score?

The answer is, there is! Although, there’s a difference in the required time to build and rebuild (or repair) credit score.

What Does Rebuilding Credit Depend On?

The repair process takes up to six or seven months to resolve all of the disputes that the average consumer needs to make. If you’ve never tried to fix your score and have many things to dispute, it could take even longer. It all depends on how much ‘damage’ there is.

To give you a better insight on how long does it take to rebuild a credit score, negative information, such as late payments, tends to affect your credit score less as time goes on. However, serious factors such as charge-offs or unpaid collections are harder to recover from than one or two forgotten bills.

Additionally, reported negative marks can stay on your credit report for seven to ten years and have a more prolonged effect on credit scores, which is a big hassle when trying to improve your credit score.

Why Does It Take Longer to Repair Bad Credit Than Build a Good One?

Many different factors can result in a bad credit score. For example, the major ones are:

  • Payment history
  • Current debts
  • The duration of credit history
  • Unpaid collection accounts
  • Multiple credit applications

When you are trying to build your credit score, as long as you pay your bills promptly, don’t make too many debts, keep applications to a minimum, and track your credit reports regularly, you will most likely get a good credit score.

On the other hand, if you start with a low one or don’t maintain proper behaviour, it will be difficult and take a while to fix it. Therefore, we can say it’s faster to build a good credit score than repair a bad one.

To Sum It Up

If you look to improve your credit score and achieve better financial health, you should know that the journey ahead is not as fast and easy as you think. The problems that make an individual’s score vary from person to person.

Anyhow, no need to worry. As long as you follow the tips we listed in this guide, you will be able to succeed!

 

FAQ

At what does your credit score start?

Initially, you start with no credit score at all. It’s because you don’t have previous credit reports.

According to FICO, once you start establishing and building your credit score history, you begin with 300, the lowest score.

Why is my credit score going down when I pay on time?

Late payments impact your credit score, but this is not the only factor. For instance:

  • If you apply for credit and loans too often in a short period, it can affect the likelihood that lenders will approve you for new credit. Additionally, it can negatively impact your credit score and make it more challenging to raise your credit score faster.
  • Maxing out your credit card could cause a quick drop in your credit score.
  • Think twice before closing a credit card you don’t use. Closing a credit card account will not only increase your utilization ratio, which can only lead to deducting points from your score.
How do you find out your credit score?

You can get your credit score when ordering a copy of your credit report. If you aren’t sure where to check, Equifax and TransUnion are the best credit bureaus options.

ABOUT AUTHOR

With an early start in journalism and years of work as a technical translator, Marija felt it was natural to blend the two. Passionate about news and research, she enjoys sifting through the data, researching new currents and the constant changes in our technologically and financially driven lives, as well as presenting the stats and facts to the readers so you don’t have to dig deep on your own.

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