How To Improve Your Credit Score – Learn the Fastest Way Now

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Improve Your Credit Score for the Win!

What are the top 5 reasons why the average American has bad credit? If you don’t know, that’s okay. You’ve landed at the right place to help you understand it and assist you to improve your credit score!

Many of you have likely been told that your credit score is extremely important and can have a huge impact on your wallet and overall life.

How big you ask?

Try potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars, not to mention countless lost time.

Improve Your Credit Score

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The Impact of A Credit Score

a gloved fist punching a punching bag with massive impact

Let me give you three scenarios to see how big an impact your credit score makes.

Let’s say that your neighbor Mary, who has a great credit score (760+), purchased a used $15,000 vehicle and was approved for $0 down and got payments of $400 per month.

Her interest rate was 1.86%

Your other neighbor John purchased an identical vehicle at the same price point, but his score is in the 600’s. He managed to get $0 down and got the same payments of $400 a month.

His interest was 14.39%.

Lastly, you purchased a vehicle just like theirs, at the same price, but with a credit score in the 500’s or below. For the sake of this example, we will say that you managed to get $0 down as well (extremely unlikely…no, nearly impossible) and got payments of $400 as well.

Your interest rate was 23.99%.

Mary would be paying for roughly 43 months and would generate a little under $600 in interest.

Total cost of the vehicle would be around $17,200.

John would pay roughly 58 payments and would generate a little over $6,500 in interest.

Total cost of the vehicle would be around $23,200.

You would pay roughly 90 payment and would generate a little over $19,300 in interest.

Total cost of the vehicle would be around $36,000.

Do you see how insane this is??

You are paying over double the amount of the vehicle just because of your credit score!

Now imagine what that would amount to when you’re dealing with purchasing a bigger ticket item in the hundreds of thousands.

Think you won’t be purchasing something that expensive? Think again.

Your Biggest Dreams Are Tied to Your Credit Score

A very common dream I hear when I speak to our customers is having a dream of owning a nice home and having a family, but knowing that a nice home is going to cost you over double or more might make you reconsider.

A home loan could easily hit the hundreds of thousands, especially here in Fresno, California.

With the car example that I showed you above, I focused on the money you would be paying just for the car. If you take a look again, a point that is even more important is the additional time that you are paying.

Your scenario would require you to pay for nearly double the amount of time of someone who has good credit.

Having bad credit means that you would need to be away from your loved ones longer. You would need to be working so that you can make the additional money to make the payments on all of the things you are financing.

Sound unfair?

It is, but not in the way you might think.

How Your Score Works

a hand drawing a picture of cogs with the words "how does it work?" inside them

Let’s say that you’re living in a home and someone approaches you to rent a room. They offer to pay $800 a month and have it to you at the beginning of the month, without fail. You figure that it’s a lot of money and you don’t have to do anything but let them crash in a room you’re not even using so they move in.

Fast forward 3 months later and you haven’t received a penny.

You’ve been trying to talk to the person and have made no contact so you decide to just burst into the room and realize that the walls have holes in them, the carpet is burnt and stained, the closet door is cracked, and although this person has their own bathroom…they may have decided it was too far.

What would you do?

You Have a Choice

Like most people, you’d likely kick them out, and rightfully so. But here’s the real kicker.

This person goes to your parents and asks them to rent out a room. They tell your parents that they rented from you so it should be all good. Your parents would like the extra cash and think it’s a good deal but they decide to call you first to ask what your opinion is.

What would you tell them?

This is exactly what is happening when someone pulls your credit.

They are simply seeing a record of how well you held up your end of the bargain. Instead of a room, it’s everything else you’ve borrowed money on.

This applies to things like credit cards, car loans, leases, personal loans, etc.

No one wants to lend money to people that don’t stay true to their word, yet there are people that still do. Why?

There are people that have fallen on hard times and deserve second chances and there are companies like ours that recognize that.

How Lenders Reduce Risk

Now, how can your parents make sure that they can reduce the amount of risk by allowing the tenant to stay at their place?

A higher deposit upfront, higher rent, frequent checkups, lower tolerance for excuses, etc.

The troublesome tenant will need to pay more because of their past mistakes. Rightfully so because they have burnt the people from their past.

It has now become the tenant’s responsibility to prove that they are someone who delivers on their commitments and will not continue down the same path as before.

How to Improve Your Credit Score

I could tell you little tips and tricks on how you can improve your credit score quickly but I don’t believe in applying bandaids to a waterfall. If you don’t understand the root of the problem, then you’ll never repair your credit long-term.

The real issue stems from a lack of understanding of finances.

Your Budget is Your Best Friend When Improving Your Credit

writing on a chalk board with a graph and dollar signs that reads up top "budget plan" to improve your credit score

Most people hear the word budget and automatically assume something negative. They picture themselves sacrificing all of the things they love and enjoy because it doesn’t fit into their “budget.”

This is far from what budgeting really is.

Having a budget and actively tracking it allows you to have an awareness of where your money is going.

You want to control your money, not let your money control you.

You can check out our post on what is budgeting and how it can change your life here.

So how can you do this?

#1 Find out how much money you are bringing home.

This may sound redundant but it’s one of the questions that our customers usually never get right.

Knowing how much money you bring home creates the foundation for everything else.

#2 Look at your last 2-3 months of expenses

Taking a line-item look at all of the money that went out for the past few months can give you a very accurate idea of all the things you are spending on.

The first time I did this I realized I had purchased clothes that I had never even worn and subscriptions that I was not using anymore. Don’t be scared of doing this, this is the moment where you empower yourself.

There are apps like Mint, Personal Capital, YNAB, that make this easy if you have bank accounts and credit cards.

Without accounts, you can still manage this by gathering up your receipts but if there are no receipts then you can skip to the next step.

#3 Set a budget

Again, this doesn’t mean cutting everything out. You have to think about the things that are important to you and cut out everything that is not.

If you enjoy a couple of nights at the club every month, budget them in.

Enjoy having nice wine with your meals? budget it in!

What about your subscription to Loot Crate or Dollar Shave Club? Budget them in!

Anything else that brings you no pleasure…out!

The extra food that you buy that no one eats and just rots? Set a limit on your groceries. The cable TV that no one watches anymore? Cancel it and keep just your internet. The shirts, blouses, jeans, skirts, and makeup you purchase but rarely use?

Again, you can check out our post on what is budgeting and how it can change your life where we break things down for you further to help you pinpoint things better.

#4 Track your spending

This is crucial! Without tracking your spending, it becomes very hard to accurately stick to your budget. This is identical to step 2 but on an ongoing basis.

At first, you may want to consider doing this every week or couple of weeks. As you get into the flow of it all you’ll start getting fewer surprises and be able to do it on a monthly basis where it will only take you a couple of minutes to review.

So why is this important?

Because once you are in control of your money, you can start setting money aside for special events, goals, trips, but most of all “emergencies.”

Why do I place emergencies in quotations?

When you have no savings, every additional expense becomes an emergency.

It is either a small emergency like your kid needing new clothes for back to school or a big emergency like your car breaking down and you needing to purchase another. The more you plan for these events, the less they appear like emergencies.

You no longer need to borrow money from payday loans, credit cards, or a family member/friend.

Be In The Know By Checking Your Credit

a hand writing on a board that reads "did you know?" how to improve your credit score

Similar to being aware of your finances, being aware of your credit can make you aware of the severity of your situation and can help you make a plan moving forward.

There are applications that can help you do this easily like Credit Karma or Experian. These apps are great for helping you keep a broad idea of your score, as well as quickly catching anything that may have been added without your knowledge throughout the year. However, they are not always super accurate.

In order to get an exact picture, you can run your credit once a year from all three bureaus for free by ordering them from

Tip: Check for Errors

Checking your credit reports for errors and fixing them can make big impacts on your score.

  • Personal information (incorrect name, wrong addresses, job history, etc.)
  • Accounts not listed
  • Any accounts never opened by you
  • Inaccurate accounts
  • Fraudulent Activity
  • Inaccurate inquiries
  • Wrong bankruptcies, foreclosures, repossessions, etc.

If you’re thinking, “A wrong address won’t impact my score.”, then you’re right. It won’t, but it can lead you to catch things that may, like fraudulent activity.

If there is an address from Texas that pops up and you’ve never lived in Texas or know anyone who has, you may want to look into it and find out what is happening.

Also, there are local lenders who read your report to get a general idea of your living history. They may consider you a higher risk if you have an address from outside of the area.

Take the time to look through these and dispute any incorrect information to the correct bureau.

Pay Off All Accounts, Even Delinquent Ones

This may sound obvious to some, but if you have accounts that are past due, get them current! Late payments make a big impact on your score and the longer they stay overdue, the more they affect it.

You should always make sure that you make your payments early.

If you see charge-offs on your report, it’s even worse. This means a lender has deemed your account unpayable, canceled the account, and you are no longer able to make minimum payments on it.

So what can you do?

If you do not have many late payments, you may be able to ask your lender to take the past-due payments away. When they agree, they will refer you to submit a dispute to the bureaus and remove them like that. This may not always work, but it’s always worth a shot!

If you have charge-offs, you may be able to negotiate with a lender to remove the negative mark off your record. Depending on the lender or collection agency, you may have to pay the account in full or may be able to negotiate a smaller amount. Make sure to get the agreement in writing before you pay and keep receipt of the payment as well.

Make Early Payments to Improve Your Credit

shaking hands and handing money underneath depicting someone paying early to improve your credit score

From here on, make sure to ALWAYS pay your accounts early. My personal recommendation would be to never pay the minimum payment on anything. Your accounts should be paid in full, without question, no matter what.

Start viewing your credit cards as debit cards. If your budget is in play and you do not have the money in your bank account, you do not have enough to pay. It doesn’t matter if you will get the money with your next check, it is not there now.

These two habits will help you tremendously because they will develop the layer of trust your lender needs with you, but most of all, that you need with yourself.

Tips to Quickly Improve Your Credit Score

a jar of money that reads "tips" to improve your credit score

“Increase my credit limits? Shouldn’t I be cancelling and cutting up my cards?”

There’s two ways to answer this.

The Impulsive Side Of You Won’t Let You Improve Your Credit Score

If you know you are impulsive and unable to control yourself with a credit card then yes, please cut up your cards but don’t cancel the card unless you know you won’t be able to stop yourself from ordering another!

You Can Control it and Use it to Improve Your Credit Score

If you know you have things under control then the good thing is that your score only cares about utilization so call up your lender and ask for an increase.

Closing an account can drag your score down, while getting an increase to your limit can drive it up.

The higher your limit, the less utilization of your revolving credit you have. Keeping your usage under 30% is great for your score, it’s considered a healthy level. Anything above that and your score can start taking a hit.

The same thing applies for getting a new card.

Tip 1: Increase Credit Limits or Get a New Card to Improve Your Credit Score

Your credit usage increases and you get a new line of credit into the mix. Remember to use it strictly as a debit card and pay it off in full so you are never in debt.

If you are used to spending $300 a month and your limit is $500, then you are using 60% of your revolving credit. However, with an increase of your limit to $1000, those $300 only take you to 30%!

When your lender sees that you’ve paid off accounts and have maintained a good payment history, they will be more likely to increase your limits. You can ask for an increase every 6-12 months and especially so once your score starts increasing dramatically.

Tip 2: Rent, Utility Payments and Bank Account History

There are programs that can add your Rent and Utility payments, as well as Bank Account History to your credit reports, which instantly boosts your scores.

Programs like ExtraCredit, Experian Boost, or UltraFICO can have a good impact on your score. Some might cost a fee so make sure to assess if it is worth it to you.

Tip 3: Secured Cards and Authorized Users

If you are having a hard time getting approved for a credit card, a second step could be applying for a secured card. They require for you to put an amount of money to back the line of credit they are providing you.

This ensures they report your payment history but keeps them safe since they would simply use your money if a payment did not come in.

Becoming an authorized user on someone else’s credit card can net you their entire credit history on your report.

Not everyone works in this situation since getting added on to someone who has had a horrible payment history will only affect you worse.

Tip 4: Shop for 0% Interest Deals

Who would give someone with bad credit 0% APR financing?

…That’s right, you guessed it. Westland Auto Sales.

At Westland Auto sales, we always recommend paying off a vehicle in full, but we offer an In House no interest option to our customers who are serious about improving their credit score.

By putting a large down payment on a vehicle and paying off the remaining balance in regular payments for 10 months or under, you get to improve your credit score drastically.

The varying mix of installment and revolving credit does wonders to your credit profile.

We’re the only ones within the Fresno, California area that offer this but that doesn’t mean you can’t find someone within your state that does something similar.

Keep it Clean & Improve Your Credit Score

Remember that the impact of your credit score is massive and can propel you in a very good direction, or a very bad direction. Don’t be the troublesome tenant that will sink further and further into his own doing.

Take charge of your life and create a budget for yourself so you can always stay on track. Check your credit and pay off all of your accounts, delinquent or not. Create a habit of making all of your payments on time, always, no matter what. And finally, look into increasing credit limits to decrease your overall credit usage.

Your money matters, and so does your time. Make sure you are using it wisely.

Shameless Plug –
Contact Us Today to Get Approved For Your Pre Owned Vehicle

If you’re in the market for a used car, truck, SUV, or van, and you’re worried about your credit score, we are here to help

Our team will help you get the pre-owned vehicle you need. With timely payments, it can improve your credit as well.

Thousands of other happy customers of the Fresno area just like you have already been approved and are on their path to a better future. With low down payments starting at only $500, great premiums for your trade-in, and a free warranty, you’ll be set up to succeed from the start.

Contact us today! Learn all about our selection of pre-owned vehicles and bad credit car financing options.

Extra Resources To Help On Your Journey

We love to share the wealth! Here are some resources and trusted vendors that we personally use. They can help you take care of your vehicle as well as keep your credit and finances in tip-top shape:

Car Parts

High Quality and Affordable Car Parts: Advance Auto Parts

High Quality Dash Cams and Car Accessories: Rexing USA or VanTrue or Nextbase

Car Audio & Sound Systems: Eonon 

Premium Wiper Blades & Accessories: Clix Auto

Easy Key Replacement & Programming DIY: Car Keys Express

High-Quality Orignal and Custom Car Lighting: LASFIT

Quality Car Parts/Accessories (mats, covers, assemblies): Oedro

Premium Car Detailing Supplies: Chemical Guys

High-Performance Car Parts & Air Filters: KN Filters 

High-Performance Parts: Max Speeding Rods

Speed and Performance Parts: Spectre Performance

Air Intakes: Airaid

Original & Aftermarket Wheels: OE Wheels LLC

Battery Tenders: Deltran Battery

High-Quality Tires Of All Types: Priority Tire or Discount Tire

DIY Car Extras

In the event your dealer doesn’t provide you a history report: VinAudit

To learn to recondition your old car battery: EZ Battery Reconditioning

For DIY Ford vehicle repair: Ford Shop

To learn to take some knicks out of your car’s paint: High Quality Car Spray

If you find yourself in need of a car rental: Discover Cars or Airport Rental Cars or Holiday Autos

If you’d like to see what public car auctions are like: Gov Auctions or Gov Seized Auction

Personal Finance & Credit

To help you improve your credit: Axion Credit Repair or Coast Tradelines

For a DIY credit repair course: DIY Credit Repair

To help you get free of debt and increase your credit: What Lies In Your Debt?

If you’re in a bind and need cash quickly: Bad Credit Loans or Cash Advance

For personal loans of higher quantities: Fortuna Credit or Personal Loans

For a high cash-back credit card (make sure you only use it as if it’s a debit card!): Laurelroad 

We will keep sharing all our vendors that we have a great experience with. Only the ones we see align with our values as time goes on, both locally and nationwide.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is for educational purposes only. It is not financial advice. Always consult with a qualified financial professional for personalized guidance.