For those who are just starting their financial journey or looking to rebuild credit, improving their credit score may feel like a daunting task. Having a good score not only opens doors to better favorable terms on personal loans, credit cards, and mortgages, but it may also affect an applicant’s ability to qualify for a job or a new apartment. Luckily, individuals can use several life hacks to improve their credit, from paying bills on time to optimizing debt management. Here are a few to start with: 

Request a Credit Limit Increase 

Credit card users may already know that their credit utilization ratio – the amount of credit a borrower is using compared to their available credit – plays a significant role in determining their credit score. A simple but effective way for a cardholder to improve their credit quickly is to request a credit limit increase. By increasing the credit limit of one or more credit cards, it’s possible to lower one’s utilization ratio, which is a positive indicator for credit bureaus. While it’s not guaranteed that the card issuer will approve a credit limit increase request, making timely payments and demonstrating responsible credit behavior can increase the odds of success.

Set Up Automatic Payments 

Consistent payments are a key aspect of maintaining a good credit score. Even a couple of late payments can have a negative impact on someone’s credit. Setting up automatic payments for bills and credit accounts ensures that the borrower never misses a due date. Organize automatic payments for at least the minimum required amount. This helps credit card users avoid late payment fees and contributes to a positive payment history over time. 

Become an Authorized User 

A family member or close friend with a good credit history can help an individual boost their credit quickly and with minimal effort. When someone gets added as an authorized user, the primary cardholder’s positive payment history and credit utilization are reflected on the authorized user’s credit report. This can be an instant credit boost, especially for someone new to credit. 

Pay Attention to Credit Mix 

Credit scoring models consider the variety of credit types in a credit profile when calculating someone’s credit score. A diverse mix of credit, including revolving credit (such as credit cards) and installment loans (such as personal loans and mortgages), can positively impact a credit score.

People who mostly rely on credit cards may benefit from diversifying their credit mix. Consider getting a personal loan instead of leaning on credit cards for major projects or purchases in the future. But remember that using credit responsibly is vital, and borrowers should only apply for a loan if they’re confident they can repay it. 

Dispute Credit Report Errors 

Credit report errors are more common than many people realize. Incorrect payment information and fraudulent accounts can bring down a credit score. Individuals must regularly review their credit reports to identify and dispute any inaccuracies. It’s easy to dispute errors online by signing into the credit bureau’s website. Remember to provide supporting documentation where necessary. 

The Bottom Line

Short-term strategies such as requesting a credit limit increase, setting up automatic payments, becoming an authorized user, diversifying one’s credit mix, and disputing credit report errors can help many individuals boost their credit. However, long-term credit improvement requires a combination of smart financial moves and responsible credit management. Building good credit takes time, so be patient and stay committed to achieve long-term success.