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Contrary to what most people think, having a good to excellent credit score fast is not that hard. You just need to know the mechanics of how the credit system works, and once you know that, it would be easier to run simulations and scenarios in your head on more or less what you need to do to get to a certain credit score number. In addition to knowing the mechanics, there are also systemic legal loopholes, some ongoing and some would pop in and out from time to time(thanks to our ever-changing laws) that you could use to aid you in your credit-building activities. It’s not rocket science; it’s easier than what you think. Once you get the technique, you can easily mix and match different strategies to get to the FICO score you want within the time frame you need it to be. The fastest I’ve seen it happen is 4 days and the longest is years in the making. Of course, we are not here for the years part. The faster the better right?
How to get a 720 credit score in 6 months (The Breakdown)
Getting to a 720 credit score in a 6-month time frame is really not that hard. It really depends on your present credit situation and how much spare cash you have to make things happen. I have to admit that the more spare cash you have, the easier and faster it’s gonna be, but there are also ways to do it on a budget that I’ll also show in this article. So below is the step-by-step process based on different baseline credit score categories.
The step by step process by credit score category
No credit, clean credit profile
A clean credit profile is the easiest; you could easily jump to a 720 credit score the fastest. Now, if you have the cash to spare, you could follow the step by step process below:
With some cash to spare
Step 1: Credit Pull and Monitoring
Pull your credit report, make sure it’s a soft pull only. Avoid going to your mortgage broker or car dealership to do a credit pull, those are all hard pulls. I suggest to go with a reputable online credit pulling service, all they do are soft pulls plus they do offer free credit monitoring services that alert you when your credit score changes.
Step 2: Aged Tradelines
Purchase a mix of tradelines. I suggest a higher limit one that is less than 2 years old and a medium to high limit one that is 2+ years old.
Step 3: New Primary Tradelines
To add a tradeline type mix to your credit report it’s quite essential to add a primary tradeline, the timeline for this account to add more points to your credit score is at 3 to 6 months. Once it gets the 6-month mark then the add-on score should pretty much be stable.
Note: You could interchange steps 2 and 3 depending on the timeline. If your target time frame is strictly at 6 months, you could do step 3 first and then step 2 two months before the 6-month period.
Step 4: Account Maintenance
Wait for the changes to happen. The alert service that you set up on step 1 will keep you updated on changes in your credit report and credit score. Never miss a payment on your primary tradeline, missing a single payment is counterproductive to having it to build credit.
And If you’re on a budget.
Step 1: Credit Pull and Monitoring
Pull your credit and sign up for a credit monitoring service
Step 2: Looking for an Aged Tradeline
Look for someone you trust that has a great credit score to add you as an authorized user to their aged tradeline. The longer history is better. Tell them you just need to piggyback on their credit score to build credit. You don’t need the actual card they could keep it(They might be concerned about you racking up debt on their credit card since you’re an authorized user). It would put their mind at ease on helping you if you don’t have access to the actual credit card. One to three tradelines would get you to a credit score of 720 or more.
Step 3: Account Maintenance
Wait for the tradeline to show up and for your score to change. Make sure to tell friends or family members who added you as an authorized user to their card not to take you off until you’re done doing what you need to do with a 720 or more credit score. Usually, people use this method to get approved for other credit cards, a car financing, or a mortgage financing. .
Bad Credit (300-549)
For this situation, you need to clean your derogatory accounts and optimize your credit utilization. Below are the step by step strategies on how to clean your credit report and lower down your high credit utilization ratio.
Removing Negative items & Lowering down high credit utilization ratio
Step 1: Credit Pull and Identifying derogatory accounts
You need to do a soft pull of your credit report using an online credit pull service. You need a report from each major credit bureaus. From each report identify and make a list of all your late payments(30,60 and 90 days), charge off, and Collection Accounts. List down the account name, and the last four digits of the account numbers. Separate derogatory accounts that are more than seven years since your late payment from the rest on your list. Your list should look like this
Step 2: Removing derogatory accounts (How-to and step by step process)
When removing the derogatory accounts you will be disputing the validity of it either by mail, phone, and online. With this process, it’s very rare that you’ll get all your derogatory accounts off in one round. Since six months is our time frame here, we have about 5 to 6 rounds of disputing, around 30 days per round. With this process, we will be using the Fair Credit Reporting Act of 1970, which we will be referring to as “FCRA” for short in this article. What the FCRA basically says is that consumers can request the credit bureaus to verify the validity of the information on their credit reports within 30 days. If the bureaus are not able to do so, be it accurate or not, then they have to remove it by law. We take refuge on the fact that there will be multiple instances that they will not be able to verify it due to systemic inefficiencies and to both human and environmental factors. And if ever they end up verifying it on your first try, you could always do it over and over again until they finally take it off. To be effective with your dispute process, first, you need to freeze your credit files on these four lesser know agencies(Click to fill up freeze letters online for each)- (1)LexisNexis, (2)CoreLogic,(3)Sage Stream, and (4)Innovis. Fill up and print all four and then mail it. Once all four are already frozen, then you can start disputing the three main credit bureaus (Experian, Transunion, and Equifax). Remember to keep disputing until they finally take it off; persistence is key. Here are the Verification letters that you need to mail first for each – (1)Experian Dispute Letter, (2)Equifax Dispute Letter, and (3)Transunion Dispute Letter. Make sure you send each through certified mail with a return receipt, and never lose them. Take a picture or make a copy in case. Wait for 30 days; on the 31st-day, you need to send each bureau a follow-up letter. Here are the follow-up letters for each bureau – (1)Experian Follow-up, (2)Equifax Follow-up, and (3)Transunion Follow-up. Again, the letters using certified mail. Make it a habit to use certified mail with all your interactions with the credit bureaus. If the derogatory item is still there after the dispute then you need to send them these new sets of letters for each – (1)Experian Verification, (2)Equifax Verification, and (3)Transunion Verification. Now, suppose everything doesn’t work, and the derogatory accounts are still there. In that case, you need to go to a small claims court and put the maximum claim in your state, then send these letters to all three bureaus – Experian Intent to file a lawsuit, Equifax Intent to file a lawsuit, and Transunion Intent to file a lawsuit, informing them of your seriousness to escalate the situation. You can contact them by phone or by mail. The probability of them removing it is very high because they’re going to need to send a representative to your small claims court to face you in front of the judge and that takes a lot of money to pay a lawyer to be there. Imagine sending lawyers for every small claims dispute all across America? Doing that would cost them hundreds of millions every year, no business or corporation in their right mind would want to have that cost affecting their bottom line. Based on experience, most of the time they just remove that negative item right away once there’s already a court date and when they’re made aware of it. If they don’t, you already know what to do. Always remember, with this process, persistence is key.
Step 3: Credit utilization ratio management, Adding Aged Tradelines
As for your high credit utilization, you need to bring down the ratio to at least 30% or lower. I suggest to bring it down to 30% in the first month, then if the updated score is still not enough just keep bringing it down by 10% in the succeeding months until you reach your desired credit score. Just make sure that you stop at the 3% to 5% level, you need to leave a little debt in there so the credit score algorithm can see that you are good in managing debt. Now if you can’t afford to bring your payments down on your credit cards, then the next solution is to add an aged high limit tradeline. You can source the tradeline yourself (reach out to friends or family) or you could buy it from a tradeline supply company. What it does is it increases your available revolving credit by adding high limit tradelines(Aged Authorized user revolving credit or primary user revolving credit accounts) to your credit report. You can check out this tradeline supply company for aged authorized user tradelines and this revolutionary fintech company for soft pull only primary user tradelines. With the primary user tradelines, initially, it will bring your credit down a bit in the first month or two, then it would shoot back up to new heights in the 3rd to 6th month.
You can use this credit utilization calculator to see your credit utilization ratio.
Step 4: Account maintenance
Once most or all of the derogatory accounts are already off and all tradelines start appearing on your credit report, you would need to maintain this new credit standing. Any new derogatory account and late payments will get you back to where you started.
For this one it’s almost the same process with the bad credit category but only milder. Maybe fewer late payments here and there and some collections, either way, they all need to be removed as much as possible. You can almost just repeat this process right here as your worst-case scenario. But before doing that you need to check first if you can talk to your creditors to remove your late payments and if the collection agencies could send you a letter of deletion if you pay off all your debt. Don’t be afraid to negotiate, there are a lot of instances that credit card companies would delete occasional late payments. If all else fails you could always use this step-by-step dispute process as a guide to clean up your credit report.
Of the 2 previous credit categories, this would be the second easiest to build to a 720 credit score in six months. With just an occasional late payment it is quite easy to ask creditors to remove those little dings as long as you’re historically a good paying customer. If it doesn’t work, you could always dispute it as your plan B to Z. As for the collection accounts, older ones are actually easy to remove by disputing it. I would suggest to try disputing it online first before disputing it by mail. If you’re in the low 650 to 680 credit range I would suggest to just remove all those late payments and old collection accounts in tandem with lowering down your credit utilization ratio to be on the safe side. The key takeaway for this category is, if I’m trying to get to 720 credit score in six months with this credit range as my starting point, then all I need to do is add 2 to 3 clean high limit aged tradelines 2 months before the 6 month period then I should be at 720 plus. That is if I have the cash, if not, then I would need to work hard on sourcing the tradelines myself within my circle. Since six months is our timeframe, a three to four-month allotment in sourcing tradelines should be enough to keep you on schedule.
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