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How to Raise Your Credit Score Fast

Boost your credit and pay less interest on loans and credit cards.

By
Laura Adams, MBA
March 2, 2010
Episode #164

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How to Raise Your Credit Score Fast

In this post I’ll tell you how to raise your credit score fast.

What’s a Credit Score?

Credit scores—they’re like report cards for grown-ups. It’s a three-digit “grade” you get on a scale that ranges from 300 to 850. Your score indicates your creditworthiness to potential lenders, banks, landlords, insurance companies, and even to some employers, for instance. I’m sure you know that the higher your score the better.

Where Can You Get Your Credit Report and Score for Free?

You can get your credit report from each of the three major reporting agencies—Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion—for free once a year at annualcreditreport.com. But credit reports don’t include your actual credit score—you usually have to pay for those. However, I recently joined Credit Karma, at creditkarma.com, where you can actually get it for free!

What’s a Good Credit Score?

Creditors establish their own guidelines and break points for doling out credit. But here’s what credit scores can mean for your personal finances:

  • 300-580: You’ll be denied credit or will only be approved for the very highest, most costly interest rates.
  • 581-650: You may qualify for credit at high interest rates.
  • 651-710: You’ll qualify for credit at moderate interest rates.
  • 711-750: You’ll qualify for credit at competitive interest rates.
  • 751 and up: You’ll get the most competitive, lowest interest rates on the market.

Someone with a credit score of 550 might be charged an interest rate that’s three to four percentage points higher than someone who scores over 750. That could translate into paying several thousand more dollars in interest for a $20,000 car loan or over a hundred thousand extra bucks in interest over the life of a 30-year $200,000 mortgage! That’s money you could invest for your retirement instead.

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