People Who Have a Credit Score Under 700 Should Make These 5 Moves ASAP

A woman at home checks her credit score on a laptop computer.
Tina Russell/The Penny Hoarder
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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 your 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. Remove the Mistakes

Did you know one out of five credit reports has an error, according to the Federal Trade Commission? Yup. For no good reason. Just due to the fact that credit bureaus have a whole bunch of reports and numbers to keep up with, and sometimes lines get crossed.

For them, it’s just a mistake. For you, it could mean the difference between a credit score in the 600s and one in the 700s.

But how to you know if there are mistakes on your credit report? Use a free website called Credit Sesame to get a good look at your credit information.

Because Credit Sesame simplifies everything (no complicated financial terms), you can easily spot any errors. For instance, if you find an “unpaid” credit card that you know you paid or a bill in collections you know never existed, you can dispute the incorrect information and raise your credit score.

How easy is that? It takes 90 seconds to check for mistakes with Credit Sesame.

3. Ask This Website to Pay Your Credit Card Bill This Month

No, like… the whole bill. All of it. All that debt racked up from the 300 destination weddings your friends made you attend (thanks!) could be paid by the end of this month.

Your credit card company is ripping you off with insane rates, and it’s getting rich off of you. But there are other, nicer companies that’ll help you out, including a website like Fiona.

Here’s how it works: Fiona will match you with a low-interest loan (up to $100,000) 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.

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.

Now you can finally stop holding a grudge against that friend who thought a Mexico wedding was a good idea.

4. Let This Company Handle The Complicated Stuff

Now it’s time to take a look at everything you haven’t been able to address in the first three steps. And you might need to call in reinforcements for this one — especially if debt collectors are involved. 

If you’ve been getting phone calls and mail from debt collectors, look into Collection Shield 360, a free service that helps people clean up their credit reports and deal with collection agencies. It will contact your debt collectors on your behalf and negotiate to get marks on your credit report removed, plus other steps to improving your credit.

It helped 31-year-old server Tabatha Pankop deal with lingering bills from T-Mobile, Bright House Networks and Verizon. Her credit score jumped up nearly 200 points in just a few months. See how much it can help you improve your credit here. 

5. Pay off Debt by Saying Goodbye to Your Car Insurer

valentinrussanov/Getty Images

When you’re trying to raise your credit score, paying off debt is one of the most impactful things you can do. It might feel like you’ve already cut every enjoyable thing out of your budget, but the truth is, one of the simplest expenses you can cut is car insurance.

We found a car insurance company that will reduce your rates by up to 52% and give you the same coverage. Here’s the catch: you just have to prove you’re a decent driver.

To see how much you could save, download the Root app to your phone, and drive like you normally would for two to three weeks. The app runs in the background, tracking things like your speed, acceleration and braking, then offers you a quote for insurance coverage based on that. 

Sound scary? Think of it this way: You’re getting a chance to prove what a good driver you are. And you’ve got nothing to lose. If you don’t like the quote, just stick with your current insurance.

Amanda Collins, 27, and her husband both had good driving records — until one mishap. He was in an accident that wasn’t his fault, and their monthly premiums doubled. 

“Root doesn’t only go by past experience. They go by how you drive,” Collins said. “We saved $2,352 a year and $196 a month! Enough said!”

Take two minutes and download the Root Insurance app to get started.

Root Insurance is available in Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas and Utah.

Now you’ve got five tactics you can use to get your credit score right where you want it. Good luck — you’ve got this!