21 Tips to a High 700 Credit Score
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Having a 700 credit score is a goal for many people. Your credit score is very important if you plan to buy a house with a mortgage, get an auto loan for a new car, or even get certain jobs. You may have had life circumstances that hurt your credit score, such as a divorce or a change of employment. However, no matter what you have been through, you can start rebuilding your credit right away. Take a look at the following 21 tips for a high 700 credit score.
1. Pay Your Bills on Time
It cannot be emphasized enough that the most important thing you can do is pay your bills on time. Each time you have a creditor report that you are late with a payment, your score will take a hit. Even if you have had a few derogatory marks on your credit report, you can start paying your bills on time and raise your score within a few months. Your payment history makes up 35% of your credit score, and while there are other factors, this is one of the top two areas that can impact your credit score.
2. Pay Down Your Balances
You may think that using your credit won’t hurt your score, but that is only partially true. Your credit usage makes up 30% of your credit score, and if you carry high balances, your score will go down. Credit bureaus want to see you carrying balances that are less than 30% of your available credit.
If you have $1,000 in credit, you should make sure that your balance stays under $300. If you can pay your balances down further, your score will come up higher. Stay on top of your credit usage, and make sure that you are working on paying the balances down.
3. Do Not Close Old Accounts
You may have old credit lines, such as department store cards, gas cards, or even credit cards, that you no longer use. Do not close these accounts. First of all, they factor into your available credit, which helps to keep your credit usage down. Second, they are accounts that are aged. Another component of your credit score is the length of your credit history, and it makes up 15% of your score. These older accounts help to make your credit history older, which helps to boost your credit score.
4. Only Apply for Credit When You Need it
Another part of your credit score is your account inquiries. This is only 10% of your score, but if you apply for credit often, it will impact your score. You should not open a number of accounts in a short period of time, as this makes it look as though you need extra money. You should apply for credit when you need it, but be thoughtful about it and do not apply frequently.
5. Diversify Your Credit Accounts
The fifth and final factor in your credit score is the diversity of your accounts. They want to see a healthy mix of credit cards, auto loans, mortgages, and student loans. As long as you make on-time payments, adding another type of credit to your account will improve your credit score.
6. Pay Attention to Your Credit Report
You are entitled to a free credit report every year, and you should order it and go through it. It is important to know exactly where your credit is and to check for inaccuracies. People are always amazed when they find incorrect information on their credit reports, and it happens more frequently than you might expect. Go over your credit report, and make sure that you file disputes for anything that shouldn’t be on the report.
7. Use a Credit Repair Company to Dispute Inaccurate Information
When you find inaccurate information, you have the right to dispute. The credit bureau will have to verify the debt or remove it. Credit repair companies can help you dispute this invalid information. These companies are professionals that are familiar with the laws and regulations concerning credit reporting, such as The fair Credit Reporting Act and other laws that protect your rights.
When you call this kind of company, they will go over your credit report with you and look for inaccurate information. They cannot challenge valid debt, but they can help you dispute anything that shouldn’t be there, including the following:
- Duplicate accounts
- Inaccurate accounts
- Accounts that don’t belong to you
- Incorrect inquiries
- Inaccurate address or name
8. Pay Your Bills Twice a Month
If you are able to pay your bills every two weeks instead of once a month, this will lower your credit usage and help to improve your score. Creditors report your payment history and balance once a month, so this gives you an opportunity to lower your balance before they report it.
9. Pay Your High Balance Accounts First
If you have a number of different credit cards, you will want to pay the ones that have the highest balances first. In general, you should have a goal of getting all of your credit cards below 30% of your available credit, but if a few of them have high balances, you should start with those.
Thirty percent of your credit score is your credit usage, and they look at this in two different ways. They look at your overall usage and want that to be 30% of your total available credit. However, they also look at your individual accounts, and they want each account to be at 30% of your credit limit.
If you are trying to decide which debt to pay first, start with accounts that are closer to your limits. Do whatever you can to pay them down. This will improve your score.
10. Open a New Credit Card
If you are struggling to get your balances paid down to under 30% of your credit limit, you can consider opening another credit card. First, it will increase your overall available credit. If you are able to open a credit card with a low interest rate, you can possibly transfer balances so that you lower the balances of other cards.
The important thing is not to treat this new credit card as an increase in available spending money. You need to be strategic in using this card to improve your credit score. When you use this card to pay down other balances and increase your overall available credit, it will help to improve your credit score.
If your credit isn’t good enough to be approved for a new credit card, you can consider opening a secured credit card. For this type of card, you will make a deposit, and this deposit will serve as your credit limit. This gives you a lot of flexibility because you can choose how much credit you have.
You will receive a bill and make payments each month, and these payments will be reported to the credit bureaus. This will help to improve your credit. You should not use the new credit card besides one or two charges a month, and if you can pay it off every month, that is even better.
11. Be Careful About Paying Old Debt
If you have an old credit card that was charged off, you need to think twice about paying it. When companies charge off a debt, they do not expect to be paid. In fact, most of the time they will have sold it to a collection company that may also be reporting to the credit bureau.
You should look at this information very carefully, but do not make small payments. Every time you make a payment, you reactivate the debt. When a charge off or collection is reported to your credit report, it will cause a large drop in your score. However, it doesn’t have much of an impact after a period of two years. If you plan to pay off the debt, make a plan, but don’t randomly send in small payments.
12. Call Creditors to Make a Payment Plan
If you have fallen behind financially, there is still a way to resolve the situation. The first thing you should do is call your creditors. If you have a charged off account, there is a good chance that they have sold the debt to a collection agent. This is the person you need to work with to pay the debt.
You should negotiate a plan with them. Paying all of the debt will cause your score to go up more than settling for less than the full balance, but sometimes collection companies will agree to remove the account from your credit report if you settle it. This will remove the collection account, but the original account that is charged off will remain for seven years from the date of delinquency.
Make sure that you understand exactly what the plan is, including how much you will pay, when you will pay it, and whether they will remove the collection account. You should get this information in writing before you agree to or pay anything. Working with the collection company can help you to improve your credit score.
Remember that a charged off account will remain on your credit report for seven years. This will have less of an impact on your score after the first two years, but it will still have an impact. If a collections account is opened, you should try to resolve it if you can. Collection accounts remain on your credit report for seven years and 180 days, so try to negotiate with them.
13. Call Your Creditors If You Will Be Late
Sometimes it happens that you are not able to make a payment on time. When you know this is going to happen, you need to call your creditor and let them know. They might let you schedule a future payment, and they can tell you if there is a grace period before it is reported to the credit bureau.
It is important to make sure that you do not let the bill be 30 days late because this will hurt your credit. Try to work out an arrangement, and make sure that you communicate with the creditor. It might be intimidating, but the reality is that they want to work with you so that you can make the payment.
14. Report Your Utilities
One of the credit bureaus, Experian, will allow you to report your utility bills and your cell phone on your credit report. If you want to include them, you can have them reported, and your score will receive a boost.
You will give Experian permission to access your bank account and see your payments to utility companies and your cell phone. You can then confirm that you want to add this service. It takes about five minutes, and the boost to your score will happen right away.
Experian Boost only looks at payments you make on time, so you don’t need to be concerned that a late payment will hurt your score. This boost will have an impact on your FICO score, but only on your Experian report. If lenders pull reports from Equifax and Transunion, it will not show the utility bill payments or factor them into your score.
It is important to note that even though Experian Boost doesn’t calculate late payments to utility companies into your credit score, if your account is delinquent and the company sends it to collections or charges it off, it may be on your credit report.
15. Consolidate Your Debt
Another way to improve your credit score is to consolidate your debt. If you have a lot of different accounts that you pay each month, you may find it easier to get a loan to pay them off and make one single payment.
If you leave your accounts open without using them and open the new loan to pay off the debt, you will continue building credit with your on-time payments. It is important to work hard to use these credit cards only when you can pay them in full. Many people get into debt because they spend beyond what they have, and learning to control that kind of spending will help your credit score.
Make sure that you review the loan consolidation plan. You should be able to afford your payments each month, and you will want to make sure that you aren’t paying too much in interest. If the interest on the loan is more than the interest you were paying on the cards, you should probably reconsider accepting the loan.
16. Become an Authorized User
If you have a family member who has an excellent credit score, you can become an authorized user on their account. This will allow you to improve your score quickly by a lot of points. When you become an authorized user, they will give you a card that is on their account. You will receive credit on your credit report for the credit line and on-time payments.
By the same token, your score could decrease if this person is late with payments or overuses the credit line. You also need to make sure that you have an agreement with this person in terms of what you are allowed to charge on the card and how you will pay for it. It can make your relationship difficult if you become an authorized user and run up a bill that you are unable to pay.
Weigh the pros and cons of this idea before you make a decision, and make sure that you communicate with the family member so that you know exactly what you can and cannot do.
17. Cut Your Expenses
Many people find themselves in a difficult position with their credit. Sometimes they go through a major event in life such as a change in employment or a divorce. Other times, they have too many credit cards and find themselves living beyond their means.
Whatever your personal situation is, you should try to cut your expenses to live within what you earn. It is amazing how easy it is for stopping at the convenience store each day to add up to a significant amount of debt. When you make a budget and stick to it, you will find that your spending stays within your control, and you will be able to keep your credit score where you want it.
18. Remove Your Recent Late Payments
If you fell behind one month and had a late payment reported to the credit bureau, you will want to make sure that you pay this bill on time. You can also call the creditor and ask them to remove the late payment. This is not something that every creditor will do, but if you have extenuating circumstances or you negotiate a deal, they may agree to do this for you.
Sometimes they will request that you sign up for automatic payment. They also have what is called a Goodwill adjustment. You can send a letter to the lender and present your case for your on-time payments with this one mistake, and request that they give you a Goodwill adjustment and remove the late payment.
19. Charge Small Amounts on Inactive Cards
You should never close old accounts because they improve the length of your credit history. By the same token, if you let them sit inactive for too long, the creditor may close the account after a certain period of inactivity. Make sure that you charge a small amount every once in a while and pay it off when the bill comes. This way, your account will stay open, which keeps your score higher.
20. Apply for a Line of Credit with Your Bank
When you have a line of credit, it has a revolving balance similar to a credit card. That means that this loan will be factored into your overall available credit. If you have decent credit and a history with your bank, you may be able to get this kind of loan.
You should use this line of credit sparingly, but use a little bit of it because it will help you establish a positive on-time payment history. This can help improve your credit score.
21. Enroll in Automatic Payments
If you have trouble remembering when your payments are due, it can help to enroll in automatic payments. This will ensure that your payments are always made on time, which will keep your score up above 700.
Late payments will hurt your score as soon as they are reported. In fact, your score can drop by as much as 60 points with one 30-day late payment. It will go up again when you start making your payments on time, but unless you are able to have it removed, the late payment will stay on your report for seven years.
Obtaining a credit score in the high 700s is a worthy goal, and you can do it if you have a plan. If you are starting out with bad credit, you will want to pay your bills on time and work on paying down balances first. There are many different ways to increase your total available credit, which is important for raising your score.
You should always make your payments on time and never use more than 30% of your available credit. Be sure to review your credit report for inaccuracies, and if you find any errors, you will want to dispute them. We can help with this process because we are a credit repair company. Although you can dispute these items yourself, we have years of experience working with credit bureaus on behalf of our clients.
Credit repair companies cannot remove any valid debts, so you will need to work on making sure that your track record from the present time forward is good. Pay your bills on time, and keep your credit utilization low. Pay off your higher balances as quickly as you can to show that you have more credit than you need. With hard work and deliberate actions, you can improve your credit score.
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