I’m a Working Mom. My Credit Score was 524, Until I Did This
You really try to be responsible with your money.
But, no matter what you do, your credit score never seems to make it over that 700 hump.
Yup — you’ve got some algorithm spitting out a three-digit number that’s basically controlling your entire life. We get it: It’s frustrating.
Don’t give up just yet, though! These five moves just might be the kickstart you need to finally get your credit score moving in the right direction.
Best of all? You can do all these things by the end of this week.
1. Write a Love Letter
…to your creditors.
If you generally have a pretty solid credit history, save for a few missteps, then sending a well-executed goodwill letter to those you owe could help get you back in good graces with them and improve your credit score.
You’ll want your letter to cover the following bases:
- Explain why and how long you’ve been a loyal customer of the creditor.
- Take responsibility for the mistakes that led to the blemishes on your credit history.
- Describe the steps you’re taking to ensure these mistakes don’t happen again.
- Appeal to their sense of empathy. Show that you want forgiveness but also that you are determined to do better going forward. Show them you deserve this!
- Keep your letter clear and to the point.
Don’t forget to include important information, like your account number and the date and amount of the missed payment you want removed from your credit history. Once you’ve written your goodwill letter, address it using the information on the creditor’s website.
2. Let This Site Show You Exactly How to Improve Your Score
Your credit score is like your financial fingerprint. Everyone’s is different and for different reasons. One person’s credit score might be under 700 because they have an error on their report. Another person’s credit score might be under 700 because they have a bill in collections.
That means everyone’s strategy to improve their credit score will look different… but how in the world are you supposed to know where to start?
Thankfully, a free website called Credit Sesame will take a look at your credit report and let you know exactly what you need to do to improve your score.
Take, for example, James Cooper. He didn’t know anything about credit, but Credit Sesame showed him the exact steps he needed to take to improve his score — from a 524 to 801.*
Then there are people like Salome Buitureria, a working mother of nine in Louisiana whose credit score also had dropped to 524, considered very poor. Using Credit Sesame, she found a major error in her credit report that played a big factor.
Salome was being unfairly penalized for an old, unpaid medical bill she mistakenly got charged with due to confusion over her daughter’s coverage. Credit Sesame helped Salome dispute this old bill. “It has a little link where you can dispute the charge,” she said.
With Credit Sesame’s help, she was able to fix the mistake and take additional steps to raise her credit score nearly 200 points.*
Want Credit Sesame to show you exactly how to finally get your score over that 700 hump? It takes 90 seconds to sign up and get started.
3. Ask This Website to Help Pay Your Credit Card Bill This Month
No, like… the whole bill. All of it.
While you’re stressing out over your debt, your credit card company is getting rich off those insane interest rates. But a website called Fiona could help you pay off that bill as soon as tomorrow.
Here’s how it works: Fiona can match you with a low-interest loan you can use to pay off every credit card balance you have. The benefit? You’re left with just one bill to pay every month, and because the interest rate is so much lower, you can get out of debt so much faster. Plus, no credit card payment this month.
If your credit score is at least 620, Fiona can help you borrow up to $100,000 (no collateral needed) with fixed rates starting at 4.99% and terms from 24 to 84 months.
Fiona won’t make you stand in line or call a bank. And if you’re worried you won’t qualify, it’s free to check online. It takes just two minutes, and it could save you thousands of dollars. Totally worth it.
All that credit card debt — and the anxiety that comes with it — could be gone by tomorrow.
4. Raise Your Credit Scores — Instantly
Improving your credit scores can take a lot of time and effort, and for what? Where do you even start?
We found a way you could potentially add points to your credit scores right now — which could make more of a difference than you think.
Credit scores are split into five categories: very poor, fair, good, very good, or exceptional. Getting tipped over the edge into the next-highest bracket can save you thousands of dollars on a mortgage or car loan. It also can help you qualify for a better credit card — one that gives you points or cash back.
Experian® — you know them from your free credit report — has a free feature called Experian Boost™* that gives you credit for the phone and utility bills you’re already paying to your Experian Credit Report. This helps show lenders you have a history of making on-time payments — an important factor in credit-score calculations. In fact, users who saw a FICO® Score increase with Experian Boost added an average of 13 points to their FICO Score** instantly.
You might be thinking: What will 13 points even do for me? But the difference between a “fair” and “good” credit score is ONE point, and that can make all the difference.
Here’s how it works: When you create your free account, you’ll link up the bank account you use to pay your phone and utility monthly bills. Experian Boost then looks for bill payments that wouldn’t otherwise be reported to the credit bureau, such as cell phone and utility bills, and adds them to your Experian Credit Report. (Your info stays completely private and encrypted, by the way.)
By reporting these on-time payments, Experian has already added more than 39 million points to people’s credit scores — see if you can add points to your credit scores today.
5. Pay off Debt by Saying Goodbye to Your Car Insurer
When’s the last time you checked car insurance prices?
You should shop your options every six months or so — it could save you some serious money. Let’s be real, though. It’s probably not the first thing you think about when you wake up. But it doesn’t have to be.
A website called Insure.com makes it super easy to compare car insurance prices. All you have to do is enter your ZIP code and your age, and it’ll show you your options.
Using Insure.com, people have saved an average of $489 a year.
Yup. That could be $489 back in your pocket just for taking a few minutes to look at your options.
* Like Cooper and Buitureria, 60% of Credit Sesame members see an increase in their credit score; 50% see at least a 10-point increase, and 20% see at least a 50-point increase after 180 days.
Credit Sesame does not guarantee any of these results, and some may even see a decrease in their credit score. Any score improvement is the result of many factors, including paying bills on time, keeping credit balances low, avoiding unnecessary inquiries, appropriate financial planning and developing better credit habits.
*Results may vary. Some may not see improved scores or approval odds. Not all lenders use Experian credit files, and not all lenders use scores impacted by Experian Boost.
** Credit score calculated based on FICO® Score 8 model. Your lender or insurer may use a different FICO® Score than FICO® Score 8, or another type of credit score altogether. Learn more at Experian.com.