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According to a report posted on the FICO blog, the national average FICO score has reached its highest level of the past decade. This means that people are getting better at managing their finances and limiting damage to their credit score. If your credit score is lower than you’d like it to be, there are a few techniques you can use to raise your credit score quickly. Here are some of the most effective techniques you can use.

Fix Errors On Your Credit Report

It is estimated that nearly a quarter of credit reports have errors on them that lower the person’s credit score. Fixing these errors can raise your credit score quickly without much effort. The first step is to obtain a free credit report from each of the big three credit reporting companies from AnnualCreditReport.com. By law, you’re entitled to one free report each year. Examine everything for inaccuracies, including any accounts that show late payments or unpaid bills, and report these errors to the dispute division of the credit reporting company.

Minimize Your Account Balances

According to FICO, 30 percent of your score is based on a ratio known as your credit utilization, which is the ratio of how much you owe compared to how much credit you have. According to its website, Experian suggests that borrowers should have a credit utilization rate of no more than 30 percent. If your balances are higher than that, paying them down will raise your credit score quickly.

Raise Your Credit Limit

A different approach to improving your credit utilization rate is asking your credit card provider for a higher credit limit. If you have a $1,000 card maxed out and get a credit limit increase to $2,000, you’ve instantly cut your credit utilization rate in half, which will raise your credit score quickly. This only works if you do not spend any of your new credit and you continue to work to get your current balance down.

Take Advantage Of New Accounts

Applying for a new credit card from a different issuer will also help your credit utilization rate, since your credit score calculation lumps all your open lines of credit and balances together. This lowers your credit utilization rate regardless of whether the entire balance is on one card or spread over multiple cards. However, it is best to only apply for one or two new cards if you’re going to try this strategy. Opening too many new accounts in a short time period can hurt your credit score and make you look like you desperately need more credit to handle financial difficulties.

Negotiate Outstanding Balances

If your credit score is low because you have bills in collections, try to settle these balances for less than you owe. While it will not remove these mistakes from your credit report, it puts you on the proper path for limiting the damage and can raise your credit score quickly. This works best if you have some cash saved to offer as a settlement. Get any agreement you make in writing.

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