• Best option for those who have never applied for credit and need to start from scratch
  • Very effective in helping you build your credit score
  • Medium effort on your part as cash upfront is required for your security deposit
  • Sustainable for six months to one year while you establish suitable credit to help you get an unsecured credit card
  • FinImpact score: 3


Effective in helping you build credit
Great way to work your way up to an unsecured credit card
Use on-time payments to build your credit score


You will need to pay a refundable security deposit
High fees and interest rates
Low credit limits
Upfront cash is required

It can be hard to build your credit fast, let alone get credit to begin with if you don’t have credit established in the first place. It’s a bit of a puzzle. But you have to start somewhere, and a secured credit card is a great way to build your credit score. These types of credit cards work just like a regular credit card but require an upfront deposit that serves as collateral for any purchases you make using the card. But one quick note before you apply - ensure the secured credit card you choose reports to the three main credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. 

Overall, getting a secured credit card is a smart way to help you build credit. 

2. Become an Authorized User on Someone Else’s Credit Card  

  • Best option if you are not ready to apply for a credit card on your own or are unable to provide proof of income
  • Highly effective in helping you build your credit score
  • Low effort on your part 
  • Sustainable for about six months - after you have established a credit score, you may be ready to apply for a card on your own and take over the responsibility 
  • FinImpact score: 4


Great way to establish a credit history
Allows you to learn to manage your credit
You don’t have to get approved for your own credit card
Boosts any rewards or perks currently associated with the card
There is usually no fee associated with adding yourself to a card
Low effort - if the primary cardholder has a good track record, their on-time payments can help boost your score
You don’t need to provide proof of income
Allows you to establish credit with no credit history


Assumes that the primary cardholder is responsible for their payment history and utilization
The primary cardholder will need to take full responsibility
Credit mishaps such as a missed payment or failure to pay the balance due can hurt your credit score, and the cardholder’s too
You won’t earn your own rewards or perks for using the card

The truth is that it is hard to get credit if you don’t have a credit history. So, if you want to build your credit fast and have a trusted and financially responsible family member, a great option is to ask if they can add you to one of their credit cards as an authorized user. Once you have been added, be sure that you can cover your share of purchases and interest and contribute to the on-time monthly payment. Being on someone else’s credit card requires trust and communication, which is a good way to help you build credit quickly.

Overall, becoming an authorized user on a family member’s credit card is a great way to build your credit.

3. Watch How Much Credit You Use

  • Best option if you want to build your credit score
  • Very effective in helping you build your credit score
  • Low effort on your part - just keep your utilization under 30%
  • Sustainable for the long term - keeping an eye on your spending and the amount of credit you use needs to be an ongoing priority
  • FinImpact score: 4


Managing your utilization (keep your balance to credit limit at 30% or below) has a big impact on your credit score


It can be easy to make purchases with a credit card, easily driving your utilization over 30%

It's human nature to want the best of everything. But living within our means and managing our finances responsibly is critical to building good credit and creating skills you can use elsewhere. So, here are a few tips to consider:

  • Maxing out your credit limits can negatively impact your score
  • Aim to reduce your credit usage to less than 30%. Low credit utilization can help quickly increase your score. 
  • Before making a purchase, ensure you have the means to cover your minimum monthly payment increase.

Overall, being mindful of how much credit you use can build your credit score both in the utilization factor but in the new credit factor too.

4. Increase Your Credit Limit

  • Best option if you need to lower your utilization ratio
  • Very effective in helping you build your credit score - utilization represents 30% of your credit score
  • Medium effort on your part as you will need to contact your credit card issuer to make the request
  • Sustainable as a quick solution - one phone call might get you the credit limit you need to improve your spending ability and lower your utilization
  • FinImpact score: 4


Increased spending power
Potential to decrease the overall amount of credit you’re using (better utilization)


A temporary decrease in your credit score due to the hard credit inquiry
Increased likelihood of stumbling into financial trouble

If you already have a credit card, negotiating an increase to your credit limit can improve your utilization without changing your overall balance. To negotiate an increase, call your credit card issuer and let them know that you would like to increase your credit limit. However, please note that some credit increases may come with a hard credit inquiry, which could temporarily lower your score. 

Overall, being mindful before you call for a credit limit increase. Ensure first that you are prepared to take on the added financial responsibility. 

5. Apply for a Credit-Building Loan

  • Best option for those with no credit, poor credit, or those trying to build or improve their credit history
  • Very effective in helping you build your credit score
  • Medium effort on your part as cash upfront is required for your security deposit
  • Sustainable for the duration of the loan
  • FinImpact score: 3


Qualification requirements are less stringent
Paying your bill on time helps you build your credit score
See a 60-point increase in your FICO score after the loan is paid off
After your loan is paid off, you can withdraw the funds you deposited to secure the loan


If you have a history of bounced checks, you might not be able to qualify
Late payments can lead to interest charges
Late payments may also harm your credit score
Not a good option if you have existing debt

Credit builder loans work a bit differently than traditional loans. These loans are designed to do one thing and one thing only - help you build your credit. This type of loan is usually for a small amount with a relatively short repayment period, six to 24 months. The money you borrow is put aside in an account while you make payments, and you receive the money back once you make all of the payments with interest. 

Paying off a credit builder loan helps build your history of on-time payments, positively impacting your credit score by about 35%. 

Overall, getting a credit builder loan is a good way to help you build credit. 

6. Pay Off Your Debt 

  • Best option for those paying too much each month for their credit and need to lower their utilization
  • Very effective in helping you build your credit score
  • Medium effort on your part as this requires sound budgeting skills
  • Sustainable for the duration of the loan
  • FinImpact score: 3


Gives you more financial security
Paying off a loan before it matures can save you money
Your credit score will improve
You will have more freedom from debt


You could starve an investment that is growing at a rapid rate if you swap investment payments for bigger debt payments
You may be hit with an early payoff penalty (always read the fine print)

Paying off your debt should be a priority for any borrower. Many borrowers adhere to the 20/10 rule of thumb. Under this philosophy, consumer debt payments account for no more than 20% of your annual take-home income and no more than 10% of your monthly take-home income. So if your debt is beyond this guideline, taking the proper steps to pay it down is good to help improve your credit score and financial security.

When paying off your debt quickly, there are two tried-and-true strategies. The snowball method suggests you pay off the smallest of your loans as quickly as possible. Then, move on to the next one and follow the same approach. The avalanche approach focuses on paying the loan with the highest interest rate loans first. Both methods are highly effective and can help you pay off debt and save on interest.

We’d be remiss if we didn’t include a thought or two about accounts that might be in collections. And we recommend that you do not ignore these types of debts, as they can wreak havoc on your credit score. That said, one of the best ways to pay off a debt in collections is to contact the creditor and ask them for assistance in developing a repayment plan. Understand that the creditor's or debt collector's primary goal is to get all or some of the money owed to them. Therefore, you might attempt to negotiate away some of that debt by making a lump-sum payment or committing to a long-term payment plan.

Overall, paying off your debt is a good strategy to lower your monthly payments and save on interest.

7. Make Sure You Get Credit for All of Your Payments 

  • Best option for those that have a credit card with low utilization
  • Very effective in helping you build your credit score, especially if you make your payments on time every month
  • Low effort on your part 
  • Sustainable for as long as you need, provided you can make your payments and keep your utilization low
  • FinImpact score: 2


Using your credit card to pay your monthly phone or utility bill can help you build your credit - if you make those payments on time every month
You can likely take advantage of automated payment programs - never miss a payment again
Earn rewards on your credit card for money that needs to be spent anyway
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Enjoy consumer protection
Pay your bills quickly without the hassle of writing out checks and using snail mail
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You may be subject to fees for paying the bill with a credit card
This can cause your credit utilization to increase (possibly surpassing the 30% rule of thumb)
It can make a bad financial situation even worse
You will be charged interest if you don’t pay off the new amount each month

While most creditors will report to the credit bureaus, not all companies that you might pay every month do the same. For example, credit bureaus don't automatically collect information about rent payments. That said, some landlords report payment today; in that case, the data is included in your credit report and reflected in your credit score. Another option is to pay your rent with a credit card or sign up for a service such as Experian Boost that lets you get credit for paying monthly utility, cell phone, and streaming service bills on time. You can even get credit for streaming payments on Netflix, HBO, Hulu, Disney+, and Starz.

Overall, paying your monthly bills with your credit card each month can have some benefits if you are managing it responsibly. Signing up for a service such as Experian Boost is also a good way to help you build credit. However, if you use your credit card for these payments, ensure this doesn’t throw your utilization over 30%.

8. Dispute Errors on Your Credit Report 

  • Best option for everyone - consider it part of your fiscal responsibilities to check your credit report at least once per year
  • Very effective in helping ensure credit decisions are made based on accurate data 
  • Medium effort on your part as you need to take the initiative to pull the report, review the data, and file a dispute if necessary
  • Sustainable for life
  • FinImpact score: 2


Ensures your credit report is always up to date with accurate information
Prevents inaccurate information from harming your credit score



As a best practice, you should review your credit report at least once per year. The Fair Credit Reporting Act requires that consumers can get free access to their credit report once annually. You can access your credit report through one of the bureaus (ExperianEquifax, or TransUnion) or Review your credit report carefully and understand that an error on your report could dramatically impact your score.

Some of the most common errors found on credit reports include:

  • Balance errors: accounts that show an incorrect balance
  • Identity errors: Issues relating to identity theft or accounts on your report from someone with a similar name
  • Inaccurate accounts such as an account listed as delinquent
  • Credit bureau thinks you are deceased

If you see an error, file a dispute with the applicable credit reporting agency. ExperianEquifax, and TransUnion all have dispute-filing processes that are easy to follow. If you successfully dispute an error, it can improve your credit score.

Overall, checking your credit report each month can have some benefits if you know what to look for. 

9. Get Help

  • Best option for those that need to repair credit, fix a bad credit score, or rebuild their credit after bankruptcy
  • Very effective in helping you get to a more manageable monthly payment and lower consolidated interest rate
  • High effort on your part 
  • Sustainable for the short term but the long-term expectation is that you will improve your ability to manage credit in the future
  • FinImpact score: 2


Improve your financial literacy
Learn how to budget and save money
Consolidate your outstanding debt into a single account and pay it off faster and at a lower interest rate
No harassing collections calls


Negatively impacts your credit score
Accounts will be frozen
Negatively affects your ability to apply for new credit while you are receiving counseling services
Only 25% of consumers that enroll in these programs complete them successfully
You must enroll all eligible debts

It can happen to the best of us; our finances get out of control. And we know how hard it can be to improve your credit when struggling to make ends meet. If you need help, know that credit counseling helps borrowers learn more about consumer credit, money management, debt management, and budgeting. You can find a reputable credit counselor at National Foundation for Credit Counseling or The Federal Trade Commission.

Overall, credit counseling can help if you have run into financial help and need to get reorganized in your approach. Though it may hurt your score initially, the goal is to learn better behaviors to improve your ability to manage credit in the future.

10. Maintain Good Habits

  • Best option for everyone - maintaining good financial habits are a must
  • Very effective and can pay off in other parts of your life as well
  • Low effort if you have a responsible budget and pay your bills on time
  • Sustainable for life
  • FinImpact score: 5


Gives you more financial control and leverage
Prevents you from living outside of your means
Reduces stress
Contributes to a higher credit score



Last but not least, one of the best things you can do to build credit fast, if not work your way towards an excellent score, is to maintain good habits. Following these straightforward guidelines can make you eligible for a personal loan for excellent credit down the road.

  • Pay your bills on time every month
  • Avoid using your entire credit limit (keep your utilization under 30%)
  • Manage your debt and don’t take on more debt than you can handle
  • Keep your oldest accounts open and don’t use them for spending

Maintaining good financial habits can pay off in the long term, providing you leverage for lower interest rates and more flexible borrowing.


What Factor Has the Biggest Impact on a Credit Score?

Your credit score is comprised of five factors weighted based on their importance.

  • Payment history, 35%
  • Amounts owed (utilization), 30% 
  • Credit history, 15% 
  • Credit mix,10% 
  • New credit,10% 

Paying your bills on time every month is the single most important thing you can to not only build credit fast but work towards a good credit score of 670 or higher.


Essential Habits for Boosting Your Credit Score in the Long Run

Building credit fast is only the first step in establishing and maintaining a credit history to be proud of. Consistent positive behaviors are the best way to build and maintain good credit. Additionally, adopt these healthy habits to help you maintain good credit throughout your lifetime. 

  • Pay your bills on time every month.
  • Avoid maxing out your credit cards (keep that utilization under 30%).
  • Manage your debt-to-income ratio. A general rule of thumb is to keep your overall debt-to-income ratio at or below 43%.
  • Ensure you can make the payments before you take on more debt.
  • Check your credit score regularly and review your credit report at least once yearly.
  • Keep credit lines open after you pay them off.
  • Take steps to prevent identity theft
  • Put money into an emergency fund each month so you are never caught red-handed if bills get tight.


Final Word

We’re hopeful that with the tips provided in this article, you have a good grasp on what it takes on how to build credit fast. The key to building credit really lies in your ability to make wise financial decisions. Pay your bill on time, monitor your spending, and be patient. Though these tips can help accelerate the improvement of your credit score, building a reputable credit history takes time.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

How quickly can I increase my credit score?

The answer depends on each person’s unique financial situation. According to Equifax, if you start strategically working to improve your credit, you can see an increase within 30 to 45 days. Creditors report information to the bureaus at different times, so if you have access to your credit score, check back periodically; chances are that you’ll see a change within a few weeks.

How can I check my credit score?

If you have a bank account or a credit card, check with the issuer to see if they offer free access to your credit score. In recent years, more and more creditors have started providing this service to consumers who want more visibility and consumer protection. And if your financial institutions don’t offer free access, you can get your credit score from any of the three credit bureaus. You can also get access to your credit score as part of your  free annual report.

What are the benefits of boosting my credit score?

A strong credit score opens the door to more opportunities, such as more lenders, higher credit limits, and lower interest rates. A good credit score can also make renting an apartment easier, not to mention impress prospective employers looking for indicators that you are responsible and reliable

How can I get 700 credit score in a month?

A 700 credit score falls in the good range on the FICO scale. If you are sitting at the high end of the fair range, or in the low end of the good range, you could see the needle move to 700 or higher if you do the following things:

  • Continue to make your payments on time
  • Keep utilization under 30%
  • Keep old accounts open
  • Pay off credit card balances
  • Ask your card issuer for a credit limit increase
  • Become an authorized user on a trusted family member’s credit card 
  • Put your bill payments to work with Experian Boost

While it isn’t impossible to get a 700 credit score in 30 days, it does take some diligence and perseverance.

How can I raise my credit score 100 points in 30 days?

If you want to apply for a personal loan for good credit, you are probably looking for ways to improve that credit score fast. The fastest way to build credit and see a significant bump in your score is to lower your utilization, dispute inaccurate information on your credit reports, and add utility and phone payments to your credit report (provided you have made your payments on time).

About the Authors

Ann Bloomquist

Written by: Ann Schreiber

Seasoned Copywriter & Content Marketer

Ann have been a marketer and a content writer for over 20 years. She have worked for financial institutions such as FICO, Experian, and BlueChip Financial as a director of content and brand marketing.

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