Your credit score is very important whether you are going to be financing a car, leasing a car, buying  a home, applying for insurance or even applying for certain jobs.  In today’s society your credit score is a necessary evil.  Sort of like needing experience but not being able to be hired to get that experience, obtaining a credit card (probably the easiest way to build credit) can be difficult with a poor score or no credit.  However, there are ways to increase your score without applying for a traditional credit card.

Finding and Challenging Negative Credit History

One way to increase your credit score is to obtain your credit report and challenge any negative items.  The three major credit bureaus (TransUnion, Equifax & Experian) make mistakes.  I have had to deal with mistakes on my report along with family members and it is terribly frustrating.  These three private companies control so much in your financial world, but they are a faceless corporation with tons of bureaucracy.

How to Find Negative Credit History

There are 3 main ways to obtain your credit report.  The first way is the one controlled by the Federal Trade Commission, Annual Credit Report.  The Federal Trade Commission gives us the perfect definition of “what Annual Credit Report is?”

AnnualCreditReport.com is the ONLY authorized source to get your free annual credit report under federal law. The Fair Credit Reporting Act guarantees you access to a free credit report from each of the three nationwide reporting agencies — Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion — every twelve months.  The Federal Trade Commission has received complaints from consumers who thought they were ordering their free annual credit report, but instead paid hidden fees or agreed to unwanted services.  Don’t be fooled by TV ads, email offers, or online search results.  Go to the authorized source when you request your free report.

You can get this report,  once a year.  If you already used that report and did nothing with it you can get a copy of some of your information from a similar service which is not free like CreditReport.com.  Another great way to get a copy of your credit report is to utilize a service like CreditKarma or Quizzle.   Both sites have a cool business model where they will give you your credit report and a “simulated” score in exchange they will advertise their affiliates to improve your situation (i.e.  a lower auto loan).

Obtaining an Unsecured Loan

Personal loans can provide you with credit history.  Should you take a personal loan to finance a bachelor party? NO we are talking about using the personal loan to just create some positive credit history.  There should be some obvious concerns, like making sure it is not a predatory payday loan company that will gauge you on the interest.  Additionally, you should make sure the lender will report the history.

There could even be a larger benefit if it is one of those loans with no credit check.  Again, while there are the same concerns this option would provide for history and no credit ding for a hard credit report.

Pay off and Shifting Existing Debt

A large part of your credit score is determined by credit utilization.  So if you paid off your debt your score will go up.  Easier said then done right? Well how about shifting existing debt.  You have:

  • Credit Card A with a limit of $1,000 with a debt of $900
  • Credit Card B with a limit of $5,000 with a debt of $2,000

If you were to transfer some of the debt from Card A to Card B all other things being equal your credit score will increase.  Obviously this needs to be balanced by any costs which are needed to transfer.

What Other Tips are out there to Increase Your Credit Score Fast?