I Raised My Credit Score by 75 Points — Here’s How I Did It

Woman looking at her credit card APR
Vladimir Vladimirov / Getty Images

It’s possible to have poor credit without even being in debt. I generally paid cash or used my debit card throughout all the years I worked in hospitality. I thought I was being cost-conscious while all the while negatively impacting my credit score. 

How To Raise Your Credit Score

Even though I had paid off my student loans and had no debt, I had the credit score of a disenfranchised ghost. When I went to buy a home, even though I was liquid in cash, I had difficulty securing a loan.

In February of 2023, I had a credit score of 666. By March, after learning how to raise my credit score, I increased my score to 741. Within 30 days I had increased my score by 75 points. Here are the steps I took to improve my credit score:

  1. I checked my credit report.
  2. I opened a line of credit.
  3. I paid my credit card bill consistently and on time.
  4. I tried to avoid multiple credit inquiries.
  5. I kept my credit utilization ratio low.
  6. I didn’t close old credit card accounts.
  7. I checked for negative entries.
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1. I Checked My Credit Report

Before you can take steps to improve your credit score, you need to know what your current credit score is. The first step I took was to analyze my credit history and see all the ingredients I had or lacked in my credit mix. Generally, you can get a free copy of your credit report from each of the major credit-reporting bureaus once a year. 

I visited AnnualCreditReport.com to download my report. From this site, I could choose from Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Although these credit reports do not include your final credit score, they will show all the data used to calculate your credit score. You can also request free access to your credit score from your credit card provider or bank.

2. I Opened a Line of Credit

The second step I took was opening a new credit card. I applied for a beginner card as my options were limited given my history and I wanted something with a low limit where I couldn’t wrack up a huge bill. 

I applied for one with a $500 limit. This wasn’t a way to go on shopping sprees, this was just a way to build credit. After a few months, not only did my credit improve but I was also offered the opportunity for a credit limit increase. 

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3. I Paid My Credit Card Bill on Time and Consistently

I paid all bills for my credit card account on time, if not early, every month. When you pay your bills on time, which is by the due date every month, it can help you avoid having your credit score go down.

If you show consistency with paying your bills, you increase the possibility of being trusted to pay the new debt on time as well. This behavior improves not only your credit score but also your creditworthiness.

Why I Tried To Pay My Credit Bill Early

I started getting into the habit of paying my credit card off as soon as it was available. If this is an option for you, definitely give it a try. Here are my key takeaways:

  • Paying more than the minimum payment on your credit card bills will save you on interest costs in the long run. 
  • If you’re only making minimum payments on a loan, then you’re strictly paying toward the interest, not the principal.
  • Consider setting up automatic bill payments to stay on track for paying off debt.
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4. I Tried To Avoid Multiple Credit Inquiries

I knew too many hard credit inquiries within a short enough period could potentially hurt my credit score. 10% of your FICO credit score is new credit. This is usually attributed to lenders making hard inquiries into a borrower’s credit history.

Before applying for my new credit card, I did research on which card was realistic for me to be approved for and which form of credit building was best for my situation. 

Soft inquiries are less damaging than hard inquiries. The difference between the two is that with hard inquiries, you permit lenders to view your credit report. With a soft inquiry, lenders can check your credit without your knowledge.

5. I Kept My Credit Utilization Ratio Low

Your credit utilization rate is the amount of your current credit usage divided by the total amount of revolving credit available to you. Simply put, it’s how much you owe divided by your credit limit, usually expressed as a percentage.

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As credit utilization makes up about 30% of your FICO score, I wanted to keep this percentage low. This would show that I was good at managing my credit and that I didn’t spend more than I earned. One way I achieved this was by only using my credit card for a few things a month like an Amazon order or a Lyft ride. 

6. I Did Not Close Old Credit Accounts

Though I did not have many old credit accounts, I kept any I did have open. Though you may be tempted to close a credit card account that you’ve rarely used, you should think about the potential ramifications of your decision on your credit score.

While, in some cases, it may be prudent to close old credit card accounts, you should generally not do it. Closing old, rarely or never-used credit card accounts might hurt your credit score in a few different ways:

  1. Closing out an old credit card account could reduce the age of your accounts or the length of your credit history.
  2. If you close an old credit account, you reduce the amount of your available credit. This could increase your overall credit utilization rate. As mentioned before, you want to keep credit utilization low.
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7. I Checked for Negative Entries

After I checked both my credit history and credit score, I made sure there were no remaining listed debts I had already paid off. Removing negative entries from your credit report can raise your credit score and put you in a position of favor with future lenders.

If you have late payments or old collections on your credit report that you have paid off, you can ask the credit bureaus to remove them. Just be sure that you have paid them off, and be prepared to show proof.

Bad vs. Good Credit Score

Negative credit information stays on your credit report for approximately seven years. This information can lower your credit score. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to improve your credit score.

Before putting any work in, you will need to know what your credit score is. In addition to the three major credit bureaus’ websites, you can obtain your credit score for free at other locations as well. Here are some of the ways that you can get your credit score without paying a dime:

  • If you have a credit card issued by Citi®, Discover, Chase or Capital One, you can get your FICO score or VantageScore for free.
  • Credit Karma is another top website you can use to check your credit score for free.
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Since credit scores affect so many areas of life, having good credit comes with several benefits. Knowing how to raise your credit score now will help you enjoy some of the biggest advantages listed here in the future:

  • Lenders will seek you out because of your responsible payment history.
  • Having good credit usually exempts you from needing a co-signer to qualify for a loan.
  • With good credit, you can qualify for lower interest rates on nearly all loans.

Final Take To GO

If someone steals your identity and uses your personal and financial information, they put you at major risk. I got identity theft protection and credit monitoring to prevent this fraud. This protection helps to track my bill accounts, bank account activity and credit reports. It alerts me to any unrecognized activity, which could be a sign of identity theft that could damage my score.


Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about how to raise your credit score.
  • How can I raise my credit score in 30 days?
    • You can raise your credit score in 30 days by following these seven steps:
      • -Check your credit report.
      • -Open a line of credit.
      • -Pay your credit card bill consistently and on time.
      • -Try to avoid multiple credit inquiries.
      • -Keep your credit utilization ratio low.
      • -Don't close old credit card accounts.
      • -Check for any negative entries on your credit report.
  • What is the fastest way to boost your credit score?
    • The fastest and most consistent way to boost your credit score is to pay your credit card bill on time or even early each month.
  • What are three ways to increase your credit score?
    • Three ways to increase your credit score include keeping your credit utilization low, paying off your credit card bill on time and monitoring your credit score.

Kathy Evans contributed to the reporting for this article.

Our in-house research team and on-site financial experts work together to create content that’s accurate, impartial, and up to date. We fact-check every single statistic, quote and fact using trusted primary resources to make sure the information we provide is correct. You can learn more about GOBankingRates’ processes and standards in our editorial policy.

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About the Author

Caitlyn Moorhead has written content for a variety of businesses and publications. After graduating from Central Michigan University cum laude, she moved to New York City where she wrote columns, articles and plays for several years before relocating to Austin, Texas in the fall of 2020.
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