This Guy Raised His Credit Score Nearly 170 Points — Here’s How You Could Raise Yours

This illustration shows a man moving the needle toward better credit.
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We all have goals for our lives. Maybe you want to start a business, or own a house someday — or maybe you just want to finally buy your first car. Whatever your goals, too often, those three pesky numbers are standing in your way. 

We’re talking about your credit score. 

Unfortunately, this little number holds a lot of power over your life — where you can live, what you can afford to buy — even how much money you pay in bills every month.

If your credit is in bad shape, your dreams can feel out of reach. But it’s easier than you might think to improve your score and accomplish your goals. A free website called Credit Sesame will show you your credit score and even show you personalized tips for how to improve it.

How This Guy Raised His Credit Score Nearly 170 Points 

Not long ago, Lorenzo Frias’ credit was so poor that he couldn’t even get a credit card — let alone a car loan or a mortgage, like he had hoped to. It turned out his goals were way out of reach.

His score? 523. “To be honest, it was pretty bad,” he says.

Late payments to an American Express card had pretty much ruined his credit. Your credit score is like your financial fingerprint, and a score below 600 makes you ineligible for most loans or credit cards.

Frias puts it bluntly.

“It’s embarrassing,” he says. “I realized there were definitely some things I needed to address.”

That’s when he found Credit Sesame. His goal was to raise his credit score to 700 by the time he turned 24, and he’s nearly there. More than a year after joining Credit Sesame, he’s about to turn 24, and his credit score is 691 — a huge improvement.*

How was he able to boost his score by nearly 170 points?¹ By following the website’s tips and using its free tools. 

What’s the Secret?

When you sign up with Credit Sesame, it immediately shows you what your credit score is. It shows you why you have the score you do, and it gives you personalized tips to steer you in the right direction.

If your credit is bad, it’ll show you steps you can take to help fix it. If it’s good, it’ll show you ways you could make it even better. And if it’s excellent, well, it’ll show you how to keep it that way.

It’ll even show you if there’s a mistake on your credit report that’s holding you back. (One in five reports has a mistake.)

Following Credit Sesame’s advice, Frias took the following steps: He took out a $1,500 credit-builder loan that was recommended to him. He got a secured credit card, which reports his payments to credit bureaus to establish a credit history. Once his credit started improving, Frias applied for traditional credit cards, which he pays off in full every month. He also disputed some negative claims on his report.

“Until then, I didn’t know I could message the credit bureaus myself,” he said. “Once you realize the power’s in your hands, you can go ahead and do the same things they’re doing.”

‘We’re Doing So Much Better’

With his shiny new credit score, Frias just signed a lease on an apartment in the San Francisco Bay Area. He’s moving there from Los Angeles with his girlfriend and their two dogs, so he can live closer to work.

Getting approved for the lease was no problem. “I had flying colors across the board,” Frias said. “I was really happy to see that.”

He’s been driving what he calls “a little bucket” — an old Honda Civic that he’s nursing along, even though it needs a new ignition and is likely on its last legs. Now, he’s been building up his savings, and he’s in a position to change that.

As for buying a house, the Federal Housing Administration has pre-approved him for a $760,000 mortgage. “So there’s that to look forward to — I can buy a home. Financially, we’re doing so much better.”

So if you’re ready to pursue your goals, get your free credit score here. It only takes about 90 seconds, See how much you could improve your score.

Mike Brassfield ([email protected]) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. He’s a Credit Sesame member and finally got his credit score above 700, woo hoo!¹

¹ 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.

²Credit 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.