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How can I increase my credit score by 50 points in six months?

By , CardRatings contributor
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Question: How can I increase my credit score from 650 to 700 in six months?

Answer: Let's go right to the source of that credit score, which would be one of the three major credit reporting agencies - TransUnion, Experian and Equifax.

Heather Battison, education director for TransUnion's consumer products, told me, "It's impossible to know if you can raise your credit score from 650 to 700 in six months since every person's situation is unique."

But she added, "That said, the behaviors and factors that contribute to a person's credit score are the same, and it's important to focus on these, and in time, he or she can achieve healthier credit."

How to raise your credit score

What are those factors? Battison advises the following:

  1. Don't be late on your payments
  2. Keep balances as low as possible
  3. Check your credit reports for inaccuracies
  4. Don't apply for too many credit cards or loans

Battison adds that with the passage of time, doing all of these things will help you improve your credit history.

If you're saddled with a high interest rate, consider transferring the balance to a new zero-APR card. Keep the old account open if you can, but don't charge any more to it. This will lower your credit utilization (the amount of credit you're actually using) and should improve your score.

No quick fix

Expect it to take time for your credit score to go up--typically much more time than it took to bring it down. The speed at which you can rebuild your credit depends on the circumstances that got you to where you are today.

If your credit history is riddled with late payments and loans that are sitting in collection agencies, it'll probably take longer than six months to bring up your credit score. If your credit score was dinged because you borrowed too much, overextended yourself and became a credit risk, but in the last six months, you've paid down your debt and cleaned up your act and now you're sitting at 650, it's conceivable that you could reach 700 in another six months.

In any case, the advice above is good personal financial practice, and it can only improve your credit score over time. Good luck!

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