Budgeting in Tough Times

7 Smart Ways to Elevate Your Credit Score

Let’s look at a few of the smart ways to elevate your credit score. Like anything, it is not an overnight fix. It will take some time and hard work on your part. Get all your cards and put them in front of you on the desk that are still active. Next pull a copy of the last statement either from your files or from online. Take a picture before you begin.

Remember, if you have bank cards with the credit card logo attached to either a savings or checking account these do not count as credit cards; these are debit cards and are good. You hopefully have the funds in your account to back them.

Pay down the balances on your credit cards

Now get a large pad and list all your cards and loans down the left-hand side – cards first, followed by any loans. Put each section in order from the lowest balance to highest.

This is where your statements come in handy. You need to write the total owed minus your last payment since. I find it a good idea to go online and check the balance owed. To the right of that column, add the minimum you need to pay next to keep your account in good standing. Finally, go enter in the next column to the right of the date for which a payment is due by. One more thing, tally up the minimum due column, and write the total at the bottom. This is the minimum you must come up with EVERY month until they are paid off to stay current and keep the collection agencies off your back.

Now review your credit report again and check off each of these active accounts. Are there any remaining that you have not checked off? Check the active accounts against the chart you just created to make sure both agree. If they don’t, note the dispute for each that is different.

Do not miss any credit card or loan payments

Make sure you are current on all your credit and loan accounts – if not, the difference is your minimum on this chart. In the months to follow, you will plan to pay no less than the minimum withing 3-5 days of the due date. As the reporting bureaus see you paying this way, your credit score will go up.

Once a credit card or loan has been paid off in full, cut the card up and send it back with a letter telling the creditor you wish to close your account at this time so no further charges can be accrued. The temptation of a card with available credit can b e deadly to hold onto and have around. You will notice a drop in your rating however, but that will be temporary. Once all loans and cards have been paid off – make sure all are closed, but one. You must decide which of the cars you want to hold open. Make it one that you can easily pay off in a month or two.

Do not have too many credit inquiries

Another area that pulls your score down is having too many credit inquiries. These are removed automatically from your record after two years. If you authorized the inquiry, there is a good chance you will not be able to remove it early. Go over the inquiries listed in your report, if any were not authorized by you – highlight them and add them to your dispute list.

Dispute negative information

Any closed accounts on your credit report are not necessarily bad. Check for any closed accounts that have no late payment history on your report. These can stay on for as long as 10 years from the date closed. Don’t fret for as long as this positive information stays it serves to strengthen your credit history. Removing these early only risks hurting your credit scores.

However, any closed accounts showing late payments have a negative impact on your payment history, These will remain on your credit report for seven years from the original delinquency date of the account. Check also for any negative information, this info will remain beyond seven years add them to your list of disputable.

Contact creditors to delete collection accounts if you pay them

Are there any creditors listed on your report that indicate you are in the collection process? Give each creditor a call and arrange to pay them off or make payments, and ask them to delete the collection status they submitted to the credit bureau agency. If you paid them off, or are paying as agreed, this will show and improve your number over time.

Become An Authorized User

If you have a good friend or work with an employer who thinks quite highly of you, ask them to add you as an authorized user on the company credit card. This can be risky as you must only use the card for authorized purchases that the owner of the card is aware of and approves. He or she is responsible for making sure the card is paid in timely fashion so his or her good payment history gets passed onto you

If you make a legitimate company purchase with his/her approval, no problem. But if you need to use the card for a personal matter, make sure to ask first and plan how they will be reimbursed – perhaps through a reduction of pay until satisfied. If you fail to be responsible as a user on the card, you risk being removed as an authorized user and your trust level goes down.

Get a secured credit card

This is a card that is backed by funding through a checking or savings account in your name, into which you have an available source of cash. The limit is secured by the amount of cash you deposit to open it. So if you put a $500 deposit in, the limit you can spend is $500. If you have no credit or poor credit it is definitely the route to go.

Well…You are On Your Way to a Higher Number!

Okay, now finish looking over your profile on the credit report and other details to make sure they are accurate. Wait for 3-4 months and run another credit report on another bureau and repeat the process. In a year when you get back to this one, make sure all corrections made and entries are correct. You are on your way to improving your credit history and score. The perfect score is NO SCORE, which means your debt is paid off and you can save those debt payments and build healthy savings no matter what your age. Please leave a comment below – has this helped you, do you have any questions or suggestions?

10 replies on “7 Smart Ways to Elevate Your Credit Score”

There are a lot of tips and tricks on how to improve your credit score and and this happens to be one of the best so far,  it has helped me understand that nothing you see, hear or read about the subject will impact your credit score faster or more effectively than paying bills on time and using your credit cards judiciously. Thanks for sharing.

You are very welcome!  Experience has taught me a lot in my own financial struggles. I believe sharing knowledge and information is a way to help others.

These tips on smart ways to elevate your credit score and includes spot on information that anyone who needs a good credit score should know. It’s always important to dispute any negative information… as often this can be caused by bad information or stem from something not accurate because of identity theft.

Very true Aly, that is why it is important to check one’s credit often.  Since everyone is entitled to one annual credit report a year FREE – do one now, then another in 3-4 months and the last in 6-8 months, then you are back to this one you started with.  Attentiveness avoids or reduces the risk of identity theft.

Hi Donna

I understand the importance of improving your credit score, as without a good one you cannot get a loan or a mortgage. It seem always a  mystery on how the score is calculated and even more puzzling on what factors contribute to the score.  I found your article to be clear and very helpful, and can understand what to do to improve my score. It really does pay off to pay your debts off regularly and show how good you are at handling loans.

My question is this method applicable, no matter where in the world you are, as I can imagine your credit scores will be measured differently in every country?

Thanks for the relevant info 


Good question Antonio, l am not sure.  I just added that to my agenda for a good followup article. Thank you!

This is a great way to stay in good financial health. Unfortunately, my finances are a pile of creditors and constant calls. I did go way over my asset/debt ratio. Thank you for sharing this with me and it is something I can share with my kids and start moving forward.
Wishing you all the best,

Melissa, I hear you and know just how frustrating it all can be. I was in the same boat, perhaps worse, and it got so bad I hated to answer the phone. Once it sunk in that the key to everything is a budget for me everything started falling in place. Oh, I still have debt, unfortunately – but now I am at a place where I can manage it every month from within my finances. Just keep your eyes fixed straight ahead at a goal you wish to attain, and keep moving forward. Good luck, I know you can do it! 😉

This is a great article. As I was reading it, I could actually visualize doing the process step by step. This means it was easy to follow and made perfect sense. Your site is colorful and easy to maneuver around. Able to go right to Amazone with your Affiliate link. I will be following you because all of us need to have budget information. Thank you for sharing

All the best


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