3 Easy Ways to Quickly Improve Your Credit Score (and the Myths That Will Set You Back)

Tom Haverford of "Parks and Recreation" stands in front of several credit purchases

Tom Haverford takes advantage of a great credit score, purchasing all this camping gear on Parks and Recreation. | NBC

It’s easy enough to destroy your credit score, so shouldn’t it be just as easy to fix it? Unfortunately, it’s not. It will likely take you considerable amounts of time and effort to improve your score if you manage to tank it. For that reason, it’s best to take a firm, disciplined, and responsible approach toward your finances from the get-go. But that’s not how it goes for a lot of people. Bad or foolish decisions can compound, and when we truly need credit to buy a house or help with some unexpected expenses, we’re left high and dry.

So, what can you do? Are there ways to get things back in order? There are — it just takes some planning and discipline. Credit scores are complex, and it’s often hard to know where to start. If you need or want to make some rapid improvements to your credit score, the first thing to do is to understand just what it actually is and how it’s calculated.

Your credit score

A credit score, in the event you don’t know, is a number that’s assigned to you largely determined by how much debt you have and how or if you pay those debts. Essentially, it’s a way for creditors to determine how big of a risk you are when you request credit. If you have a bad score, you’re more of a risk and less likely to get a loan when you need one. That can hurt when you want a credit card, student loans, or a mortgage for buying a house.

As for how it’s calculated? It’s incredibly complex, and there are a number of factors at play. Your credit score is ultimately determined by the number of lines of credit you have, your payment history, the length of your credit history, and the types of credit you’ve used. With that in mind, you can go about taking the steps to improve your scores.

If you want to make some serious headway in repairing your score in a relatively short amount of time, here are three steps to take, as well as some myths you need to know about.

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