A good credit score can open many financial doors. It can help you get a lower interest rate on a loan, rent an apartment or qualify for a rewards credit card with lucrative benefits.
Credit scores are used by lenders—including banks, credit card companies and car dealership financing offices—to decide whether to offer you credit and what the terms of the offer will be. The better your score, the thinking goes, the better offer you’re likely to receive.
Indeed, taking steps to improve your credit will almost always help you save money when it comes time to apply for a loan or credit card. There are many ways to do this, and we’ll show the quickest way possible to boost your credit scores. Before we dive in, let’s quickly go over the basics of credit and establish what a “good score” actually is.
Credit scores typically range from 300 to 850, with a credit score of 700 or above generally considered good. On that same range, a score of 800 or above is considered excellent. Most credit scores fall between 600 and 750. Higher scores represent better credit management and can make creditors more confident that you will repay your debts as agreed.
Even though there are different types of credit scores (FICO® Scores, VantageScores and even industry-specific scores), the most commonly used scoring model is the FICO Score. You may be able to get your FICO® Score from your bank, your credit card issuer or from one of the three national credit bureaus (Experian®, TransUnion and Equifax).
If your FICO® Score isn’t where you’d like it to be—especially if you’re getting ready to apply for a car or personal loan, where a good credit score could save you thousands of dollars—take some time to improve it.
1 Pay all bills on time
Payment history is the most important factor in credit score calculations. If you pay your bill over 30 days late, or forget to pay it entirely, your credit score will suffer.
2 Keep credit card balances low
Credit scoring models consider how much of your available credit you’re using (also known as your credit utilization ratio). The lower your balances, typically the better your credit score.
3 Don’t apply for too much new credit
When you apply for credit, a hard inquiry appears on your credit report. It will slightly lower your credit score and will stay on your credit report for two years. Lenders view too many credit applications as risky financial behavior. Your credit score and your ability to qualify for loans could suffer if you try to take out too much credit in a short time period.
In addition to the tried-and-true strategies above, there’s another way you can quickly increase your FICO® Score: with Experian Boost™*. Experian® developed a revolutionary service to give consumers a way to quickly increase their credit scores using their on-time utility and telecom bill payments.
Experian recognized that millions of Americans found it difficult to establish credit or rebuild credit after making past mistakes, even though they paid their monthly utility and phone bills on time. Now, with Experian Boost, you can give Experian permission to add your utility and telecom payments to your credit report (they’ll only consider on-time payments, so you don’t need to worry if you make a late payment). The process takes only a few minutes, and the resulting FICO® Score change is immediate.
Millions of people have already signed up and boosted their credit scores across America. The process is ridiculously simple and 100% free.3 You don't need anything to qualify—simply sign up here and start boosting your score!