Increasing Your Credit Score

Advertiser Disclosure

Unbiased Content. Factual Advice.
In order to provide top tier advice from industry professionals - for free - we partner with sponsors. This post contains affiliate links and we will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on these links.
We want you to know this does not impact the quality of our content as writers are not influenced by this process. Links are added after the article is finalized. By doing this, we strive to bring you the most straightforward, factual advice to help you through your 20s. Learn more about our content process here.

Shorter Version

Est. Reading Time: 1 Minute

So you’ve taken the plunge and looked at your credit score. The number, you discover, is less than optimal (less than 700) and you are not a happy camper. How can you try increasing your credit score? First, take a step back and acknowledge that by just finding your score, you have made a proactive move on your own behalf. Education is the first step toward making good future financial decisions and you now have the knowledge of where you are starting from. Your next move will be to take advantage of the opportunity you have to make things better going forward.

Review your credit report

If you are not happy with your current credit score, the first thing to do is get copies of your credit reports from each of the three credit bureaus. You need to do this because the information that is fed into the credit scoring companies’ algorithm comes directly from the information listed in your credit reports. This is why it is crucial to ensure the information in your credit report is accurate. 

If you find mistakes in your report, you have the right to dispute errors through the credit bureaus directly. 

Under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), Credit Bureaus have 30 days to investigate a consumer instigated dispute. This means they (the bureaus) will contact the original creditor and ask the creditor to prove that the information about your credit is correct. If the creditor cannot provide this proof, then the bureaus are obligated to delete or correct your credit information from that creditor within the same 30-day timeframe.

Skip to Actionable Steps

A Gift For You

Win a free 1:1
coaching session!

A Gift For You

Win a free 1:1 coaching session!

Longer Version

Est. Reading Time: 2 Minutes

How to start increasing your credit score

If the information on your credit report is accurate, the Fair Credit Reporting Act allows negative credit information to remain on your credit report for seven years from the date of the last transaction (which includes your account being closed). If you want future lenders to consider mitigating circumstances when evaluating your creditworthiness, you can ask the credit bureaus to add an account-specific statement to your report, but the statement will not necessarily have any impact on increasing your credit score.

Bankruptcies can remain on your report for ten years.

If the negative information on your credit report is related to unpaid debts, you might consider offering to repay the debts in full. Having the creditor report the debts as paid to the credit bureaus may result in an increase in your score. Be sure you can pay the debts in full before you contact the creditors; new agreements with creditors can restart your state’s statutes of limitations for the debt collection timeline back to the beginning. Each state has its own laws that specify how many years a consumer debt can be collected. You should also make sure to get any new agreements you make with a creditor in writing and signed by the creditor. You can do this yourself – avoid trying to use a debt settlement company to do this for you.

If you are in doubt about how debt recovery laws in your state apply to your personal situation, you should get legal advice first.

Add some positive information

Another option is to get new information added to your credit report that shows proof of your ability to handle credit responsibly. To do this you can opt to take out a secured credit card or secured small personal loan. Both secured credit cards and credit loans involve you making a deposit predetermined by the lender into an account. The lender then provides you with a loan or credit limit that is equal to the amount you have deposited. As you use the loan or credit balance and pay back what you have used on time, the lender reports these repayments as a positive history of using credit.

Protect your identity

Finally, you should also protect your credit identity. This is true even if you have negative information on your credit report. The last thing you need is more negative information finding its way onto your report, especially if it is based on information that doesn’t belong to you. You can opt for a credit freeze at no cost to prevent credit from being opened in your name without your consent. Of course, if you want to apply for credit, you will have to unfreeze your credit reports and then refreeze it after you are done accessing your reports, so take the time factor into consideration. Unfreezing and refreezing your reports are fee-free by law.

Actionable Steps


Check your credit report

Check your credit report with each of the three credit bureaus to find out what negative information is being reported about your credit history. If there are errors in your report, consider disputing them through the credit bureaus directly. The Federal Trade Commission has a sample letter format that you can use to dispute an error to the credit bureaus and a separate sample letter for disputing an error directly with a creditor.


Consider a shared loan when increasing your credit score

Consider getting positive credit history information added to your report through your use of a secured share loan through your local credit union or a secured credit card. Check your credit report to be sure that the positive information is being added and periodically check your credit score to view potential increases. Sites like Credit Karma, Mint, and Credit Sesame will let you see your credit score for free. Note that you personally checking your own credit report and score, no matter how frequently, does not have any effect on your credit history or score itself.


Consider extra protection

Decide if you need extra protection for your credit identity. If so, you can opt for a credit freeze directly through the credit bureaus. You can also sign up for an online credit monitoring service. There are many credit monitoring providers so compare services and prices accordingly.

Coaches For All Your Self-Improvement Needs!

About the Author

Dawn Torres-Gale, AFC

Dawn Torres-Gale, AFC

Accredited Financial Counselor

In 2008, Ms. Torres-Gale was chosen by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Foundation to be part of a select group of military spouses. Through this, she received FINRA sponsored training from the Association of Financial Counseling, Planning and Education and became an Accredited Financial Counselor® in February 2012.
Full Bio | Connect With Dawn | LinkedIn

favouriteLoadingAdd to Favorites


Getting a Job
No data
Brent is a former Engagement Manager at McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting firm. During his 5+ years there, he worked ...



Sue Wang

Leave a Reply

Related Posts

How to Store Seasonal Food Long-Term

Trying to save money by buying in bulk and storing food? Use these tips on how to store food long-term to save money and eat well.

Hey there! Let’s get started.

Sign up with email
Have an account? Log in
By signing up, I agree to this platform’s Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Hey there! Join for free.

Access 1,000+ resources to change your life today. Sign up with email
Have an account? Log in
Are you a coach? Click here
By signing up, I agree to this platform’s Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Sign in with email

All sign in options

Welcome Back

Sign in with email
Don’t have an account? Sign up
By signing in, I agree to this platform’s Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Win a FREE Coaching Session

Achieve success like member Michael M - our coaches helped him to increase his salary by $60,000! Enter to win a free session with a self-improvement coach on our Sweepstakes page today.