All U.S. consumers are entitled to see their credit reports. Typically, copies are requested from the “big three” credit reporting agencies (Equifax, TransUnion and Experian). After obtaining a copy, it’s best to review the report. If you need to raise your credit score in 30 days, note any and all errors in the report. If errors are discovered, work to get them corrected as quickly as possible. A creditor may have erroneously reported late payments, or there may be outdated information on the report, like a defaulted loan that has since been paid in full.*
If time is a factor, here are four ways to improve a credit score in 30 days:
1. Correct any errors on the credit report.
Contact creditors that are reporting inaccurate late payments or defaults. Call them by phone and ask to rectify the mistakes. Then follow up with a letter making the same request and notify all three credit reporting bureaus of the pending changes.
Make sure creditors know the bureaus have been notified. It may motivate them to act quickly.
2. Become an authorized user.
Family members with good credit can help those struggling with less-than-stellar credit scores by adding their name to an existing credit card account as an authorized user. The credit card or line of credit must be current and have available credit.
By becoming an authorized user on an established account, the borrower’s available credit may rise, which in turn can lower their debt-to-income ratio. This may help boost a credit score quickly. If the family member appears reluctant, the borrower can offer to put something in writing to help protect the family member.
3. Raise your available credit.
Requesting a higher credit limit from an already-established creditor may also help boost the borrower’s available credit line. This in turn could help elevate a credit score.
A defaulted credit card bill can leave a serious blemish on a credit report. However, it does not have to remain there forever. Consumers can ask creditors to accept a partial payment for a debt in collections in return for reclassifying the debt as “paid.” A creditor may agree to settle for a partial payment, or they may make a counter offer.
Whatever the lender agrees to, make certain the agreement is in writing, and only pay the debt once the written agreement is in hand.
In some cases, a creditor may provide a good-will adjustment for long-time customers. A long-standing customer can request a creditor to forgive a few late payments. If the late payments are forgiven, it can help raise your credit score in 30 days.