Your credit score is calculated by your payment history, the age of your accounts, outstanding debts, how often you request for new credit, collection actions, and more. Making payments on-time can increase your credit score. On the other hand, late payments can negatively impact your credit score.
Sometimes, your credit score remains the same or even decrease for these reasons:
1. High Credit Utilization Ratio
Using more than 30% of your available credit limit can lower your credit score, so you must use your credit with serious responsibility.
2. Your Credit Report Includes a Negative Item
Bankruptcies, foreclosures, and defaults can lower your credit score and remain on your credit report for seven years. Make sure to manage funds in a positive way and clear payments on time.
3. Your Credit History Is Not Diversified
Credit mix or having different types of credit accounts such as installment accounts, open accounts, and revolving accounts is important. Even if you are no longer using or have closed these accounts, they still count for whether your credit history is diversified. Your credit score may decrease if your credit report has only revolving accounts.
4. Hard Credit Inquiries
A creditor may run a hard credit inquiry on your credit report before approving your home mortgages, loans, or credit card. Hard credit inquiries can affect your credit score, especially if too many inquiries are made in a short period. Each hard credit check can decrease your credit score by 5 to 10 points.
5. Closing an Older Account
Closing a credit account can lower the average age of accounts on your credit report, especially if the credit account has been open for a long time. This could eventually affect your credit score.
6. Your Credit Report Contains Errors
Major errors in your credit report can affect your credit score. Contact your bank or lender for assistance and report the errors to the credit bureaus.
7. You Are the Victim of Identity Theft
Your credit score may decrease if your credit report has any suspicious activity or you are a victim of identity theft. Make sure to report any suspicious activity to your banks, lenders, and credit bureaus.
How Long Does It Take to Improve Credit Score?
It may take months or years to improve your credit score depending on your current credit score, starting point, and monthly credit report.
How to Improve Your Credit Score Fast
Consider these to improve your credit score faster:
- Pay off your debts on time.
- Try to keep your credit utilization ratio under 10%.
- Do not remove the old debts or close credit card accounts. If a student loan, auto loan, or other loans are completed on time, let those debt records stay on your credit report to improve your credit score. Even if you are not using your older account, keep it open for its age, especially if all your other accounts are new.
- Use score-boosting programs to raise your credit score.
- Before requesting a loan, make sure you meet the requirements to be eligible for the loan. This can avoid hard credit checks on your report.
- Review your credit report regularly to ensure every bit of information is accurate.