If you want to improve your credit score, you may be tempted to try one of those companies that promises instant credit score repair. However, you may end up paying a lot of money without seeing any the results you want. You can improve your score a little by making some quick changes, but any significant credit score improvement takes time and diligence.
The fastest way to improve your credit score is to correct any inaccurate information. Get a copy of your credit report from all three credit reporting agencies because they do not share information. The three credit reporting bureaus are Transunion, Experian and Equifax. You are allowed to request one free credit report from each bureau per year. In some states, you may even be able to request two per year. As you look through your credit reports, keep an eye out for accounts that aren't yours, inaccurate credit limits and payments that were reported late or unpaid that shouldn't have been. Negative information, with the exception of bankruptcy, should be dropped from your report after seven years. Make sure this old information isn't still around lowering your score. If you see any inaccuracies, appeal to the credit reporting bureau to have it corrected. You will need to appeal to each bureau individually.
Pay off any late bills and make all of your future payments on time. Recent history has a greater impact on your credit score than older history. So even if you have a history of late payments, your score will improve gradually as these negative marks fall further and further into the past. You may also be able to negotiate better rates if you can show your lender that you have paid all of your recent bills on time, even if your score is lower.
Don't open any new bank or credit accounts. Every time you apply for a loan, credit card or a bank account your credit report will be checked. If you have too many inquiries on your credit card, your credit score will lower. Having a lot of newly opened accounts will also lower your score.
Use your credit cards less. Continually maxing out your credit cards every month will lower your credit score. Try to keep your debt to less than 30% of the amount of available credit you have.
Gradually paying down your debt will improve your credit score. Begin by paying off the balance that has the highest interest rate. Pay more than the required monthly payment if possible. When this balance is paid off, work on paying off the debt with the second highest interest rate. Don't close your old, paid off accounts yet because this will lower the amount of credit you have compared to your debt and actually lower your score.
After you have paid off a significant portion of your debt, you can safely close some of your unused credit cards. However, leave your oldest card open, even if you don't use it, because this card establishes the length of your credit history. The older your credit history is, the better your credit score. If necessary, use this card occasionally to keep it active, but make sure you pay off the balance in full each month.