The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, act as legal, financial or credit advice. See Lexington Law’s editorial disclosure for more information.
A person’s credit score can impact their finances positively and negatively. Entities from commercial banks to auto loan lenders uses credit scores to determine if they’re willing to trust an applicant. FICOⓇ and VantageScoreⓇ, the two most popular scoring models, assign credit scores from 300 to 850—and higher scores typically pave the way for more lucrative deals.
Whether you have no credit history whatsoever or you’re looking to improve your current credit standing, everyone has the power to work on their credit. There is no set timeline for how long it can take to improve your credit, as everyone’s individual circumstances are different. Keep that in mind as we share 15 of the best ways to work to build credit fast in 2024.
- Making timely payments can help you more quickly build credit since payment history makes up 35 percent of your FICO credit score.
- Becoming an authorized user on another credit card can help improve your score over time.
- Removing errors on your credit report can help your score most accurately reflect your credit history.
Table of contents:
1. Apply for credit builder loans
Any kind of loan you secure can help you build credit if you make payments on time and in full. However, credit builder loans specifically exist to help borrowers improve their credit. If approved, applicants will pay into a secured account that they can only access at the end of their term.
Pro tip: A lender will normally approve low- or no-credit borrowers for a credit builder loan, but anyone can apply regardless of their standing.
2. Build credit with rent payments
Building credit with rent payments can be especially effective for individuals with no credit history. Your timely rent payments won’t raise your score automatically, as landlords don’t typically report rent payments to the credit bureaus. Instead, you’ll need to find a rent reporting service that can add your payments to your credit report.
Pro tip: You can enroll in rent reporting services with any of the three major credit bureaus: EquifaxⓇ, ExperianⓇ and TransUnionⓇ.
3. Maintain your oldest accounts
A person’s credit age, or length of credit history, makes up 15 percent of your FICOscore. This means that closing an old account can lower your score by reducing your overall credit age. If you have an old credit card, even if you don’t regularly use it, it’s usually best to keep that account open.
Pro tip: You can call your credit card issuer and request that the annual fee be waived on an old card.
4. Apply for a retail credit card
Stores and online vendors that offer retail credit cards can help you quickly build credit if you’re a frequent shopper, with one important caveat: you must use the card responsibly. These cards may come with unique bonuses like cashback rewards or discounts. Just be careful not to overspend so you’re able to pay your balance off in full every month.
Pro tip: Retail cards can benefit frequent shoppers who also have the funds to pay off their debts quickly.
5. Challenge errors on your credit report
Credit reports are intended to reflect your spending habits, but no system is perfect. Sometimes, a payment you’ve made doesn’t get reported on time or you notice inaccuracies elsewhere on your report, like an account you never opened. Lexington Law Firm can check your credit report for errors or discrepancies and challenge them on your behalf.
Pro tip: You can request one free credit report annually from each of the three credit bureaus.
6. Apply for a secured credit card
Secured credit cards traditionally have lower interest rates and higher credit limits than unsecured cards. The caveat is that borrowers will have to put down collateral to be eligible, but responsibly using secured cards can significantly improve your credit.
Pro tip: For secured credit cards, collateral comes in the form of the cash deposit you make when you first open the account.
7. Use a credit monitoring service
Credit monitoring services can help borrowers get a better sense of what’s happening on their credit profile. Many services can also dispute errors and take action if they detect fraudulent activity. Lexington Law Firm offers credit monitoring services and other features like ID Theft Insurance and help with challenging errors on credit reports.
Pro tip: Lexington Law Firm also provides free credit assessments to help you understand which services might benefit you the most.
8. Make timely payments
Payment history accounts for roughly 35 percent of your FICO credit score and about 40 percent of your VantageScore. Consistently making payments on time will display your financial reliability and responsibility to lenders and credit bureaus.
Pro tip: Using autopay can reduce instances of forgetting to make payments on time.
9. Increase your credit limit
Your credit utilization ratio weighs your current account balances against your total credit limit. Increasing your credit limit can give you more breathing room when borrowing funds. Borrowing $500 with a $1,000 limit would give you a 50 percent utilization rate. Borrowing $500 with a $2,000 limit would give you a 25 percent utilization rate.
Pro tip: It’s best to keep your credit utilization ratio below 30 percent if you can.
10. Become an authorized user on another account
Becoming an authorized user on another account lets you borrow funds on a credit card that you may not have access to otherwise. Positive action on that account can affect everyone who’s linked to it—and the same goes for negative habits. You can become an authorized user on another account even if you have no or bad credit history, provided you have the primary account holder’s permission.
Pro tip: It’s best to only become an authorized user on an account where the cardholder already has good or better credit.
11. Acquire a student credit card
Student credit cards typically have less stringent requirements than their grown-up alternatives. Responsibly using these cards can help new borrowers prove their creditworthiness.
Pro tip: Student card requirements normally include enrollment at qualifying institutions, proof of income or a cosigner and no bad credit history.
12. Use a rapid rescoring service
It takes varying amounts of time for changes to be added to your credit report. Rapid rescoring for a mortgage can help your credit by quickly updating your credit report with new information. For a fee, a mortgage lender can pay credit reporting companies to expedite the reporting process for someone who’s looking to take out a home loan.
Pro tip: It can generally take roughly 30 to 45 days for a change to appear on your credit report.
13. Meet with a financial advisor
While it’s becoming increasingly easy to access financial information, not everyone has the years of experience needed to add context to that information. Financial advisors can offer tailored strategies to help clients reach specific goals and improve their credit standing.
Pro tip: You can find a financial advisor to meet with online if you don’t want to meet with one in person.
14. Download credit-building apps
Credit-building apps can help borrowers improve their scores in various ways. Some apps can provide custom recommendations based on the data you provide them. Others can offer incentives and in-app rewards to help promote better financial habits.
Pro tip: Many commercial banks offer free apps with credit-building features.
15. Use a credit builder card
Much like a credit builder loan, this option helps low- and no-credit borrowers increase their standing. Credit builder cards function just like normal cards, but they usually come with more stringent limits like higher interest rates and lower overall limits.
Pro tip: Credit builder cards often have more lenient eligibility requirements than other commercial bank cards.
Improve your credit knowledge with Lexington Law Firm
We’ve outlined some of the best ways to build credit fast in this guide, but there’s still plenty of additional information that could help you increase your financial literacy. Learning how to read a credit report and knowing which factors affect your credit score are vital long-term skills. Lexington Law Firm’s team of professionals can help you gain a better understanding of your credit profile. Get your free credit assessment today.
Note: Articles have only been reviewed by the indicated attorney, not written by them. The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, act as legal, financial or credit advice; instead, it is for general informational purposes only. Use of, and access to, this website or any of the links or resources contained within the site do not create an attorney-client or fiduciary relationship between the reader, user, or browser and website owner, authors, reviewers, contributors, contributing firms, or their respective agents or employers.