• Who this helps: All borrowers.
  • Difficulty Level: Medium. Managing your payments takes diligence and perseverance.
  • Potential Risks:  Low. Paying your bills on time every month is one of the best things you can do to improve your credit score in 30 days (and beyond)
  • Sustainability: Medium as making your payments on time every month requires sound financial decisioning and organization
  • Finimpact score: 5


Help improve your credit scores by 35% - a late payment can impact your credit score by as much as 180 points
Avoid penalties from your lender
Worry less


None - paying your bills on time every month and maintaining a positive payment history is a must if you want to build a good credit score

Making the minimum monthly payments on time every month is the biggest thing you can do to improve your credit score. So, while there are more suggestions on seeing a massive improvement in your score, keep the details of this strategy from passing you by. Always pay your bills on time. And if you have some extra cash left over at the end of the month, apply the snowball approach to paying down debt and pay a bit extra to help reduce the interest you will pay over time. Remember, too, that late payments can cause your credit score to drop by 180 points and remain on your credit report for seven years. 

Set up autopay with your bank or the applicable credit cards to ensure you never miss a payment. However, pay attention to your utilization so that the automatic payment amount is enough to meet the minimum and keep your balance-to-credit limit ratio under 30% each month. 

2. Control Your Credit Utilization 

  • Who this helps: All borrowers who want to raise their credit score by 200 points in 30 days
  • Difficulty level: Medium. Managing your debt and how much you owe on your credit cards takes diligence and perseverance.
  • Potential Risks:  Low. Keeping your credit balances in check can save you money on interest, ensure you have enough to pay your bills each month, and help your credit score
  • Sustainability: Easy, though a high utilization can cost you big time when it comes to your credit score
  • 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%

Credit utilization refers to the amount you owe on a credit card compared to your credit limit. Creditors want a credit balance to credit limit ratio of 30% or below. Maxing out your credit limits can negatively impact your score. Borrowers should reduce their credit usage to less than 30%. So, before you make a purchase, ensure you can cover your minimum monthly payment increase. Being mindful of how much credit you use can build your credit score both in the utilization factor and in new credit.

If you are not presently managing your utilization this way and want to improve the ratio, you can do one of three things:

  • Stop spending on that credit card
  • Pay down the balance so that your utilization is under 30%
  • Ask for a credit limit increase on an existing card or apply for a new one.

3. Go After Your Debt 

  • Who this helps: Those paying too much each month for their credit and need to lower their utilization
  • Difficulty level: High. Managing your debt and how much you owe on your credit cards takes diligence and perseverance.
  • Potential Risks:  Low. Conversely, letting the amount of debt you have get out of hand can seriously work against you.
  • Sustainability: Easy throughout the duration of your loans and debts, provided you have the perseverance to see it through.
  • 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)

The amounts you owe across all your loans and credit cards is important when a lender considers you for credit. Your debt-to-income ratio is calculated by lenders using the information you provide on your credit report, even though the utilization of your loans are not factored into your credit score. For this reason, getting control of your debts makes you more creditworthy and can also play into your credit score. Meeting your minimum monthly payment commitments can be harder if your debt gets out of control. 

Tried and true strategies to tackle your debt

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 first. Both methods are highly effective and can help you pay off debt and save on interest.

Debt repayment strategies can be highly effective

You can also consider other debt repayments strategies, such as balance transfer credit cards, a debt consolidation loan, or a debt management plan through a credit counselor.

Don’t ignore accounts in collections

This all said, we want to include some insight regarding accounts that might be in collections. Please don't ignore these types of debts, as they can seriously hurt your credit score, causing it to go in the opposite direction that you desire. So if you have an account in collections, know that fixing it can help your credit score. One of the best ways to pay off a debt in collections is to contact your creditor and ask for assistance in developing a repayment plan. You can successfully negotiate away some of that debt by making a lump-sum payment or committing to a long-term payment plan.

4. Apply for a Credit-Builder Loan 

  • Who this helps: Those with no credit, poor credit, or those trying to build or improve their credit history
  • Difficulty level: Medium. Credit builder loans are a great way to help you not only build your credit, but improve it too.
  • Potential Risks:  Low, since you are borrowing from yourself through a creditor.
  • Sustainability: Easy throughout the duration of your 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 are different from traditional loans in that they are designed specifically to 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. So essentially, you are borrowing from yourself for the purpose of building credit.

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

5. Apply for a Secured Credit Card 

  • Who this helps: Those who have never applied for credit and need to start from scratch
  • Difficulty level: Medium. Know that cash upfront is required for your security deposit
  • Potential Risks: Low, provided you can meet monthly payment requirements without impacting your other debts.
  • Sustainability: Easy throughout your loan.
  • 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. But you have to start somewhere, 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 not all secured credit cards are the same. Check for the following before you apply:

  • Does the creditor report your payment activity back to the bureau?
  • Is the required deposit one that you can afford?
  • Are there any hidden fees or an early payoff penalty?
  • Does the card allow you to upgrade to a traditional card once you have successfully met the initial commitment?
  • What is the grace period if you are unable to pay the full balance shown on your statement?
  • Overall, getting a secured credit card is a smart way to help you build credit. 

6. Become an Authorized Credit Card User

  • Who this helps: Those not ready to apply for a credit card on your own or are unable to provide proof of income
  • Difficulty level: Low. Just be prepared to take responsibility for your share of the financial burden.
  • Potential Risks:  Low, provided you are able to meet the payment requirements each month without impacting your other debts.
  • Sustainability: Easy for six to nine months, long enough for you to establish an initial credit score.
  • 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
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

Asking a trusted family member if they can add you as an authorized user and signer on their credit card can help you build a credit score fast if you need more time to open your credit card account. They must contact their bank or card issuer to request to add you to the account. But before they pull the trigger, have them confirm with their bank that they will report the card's payment history. 

To ensure you build a good credit history and don’t get yourself into a worse financial situation, do the following:

  • Work together to keep the account in good standing. 
  • Don't spend more than you can reimburse the primary account holder for your purchases and any associated interest.
  • Agree to a spending limit that ensures you can make consistent on-time payments. 
  • Don’t borrow over 30% of the available credit line.

7. Put All of Your Payments to Work 

  • Who this helps: Borrowers with a low utilization ratio on their credit cards
  • Difficulty Level: Low. The next time you need to make a payment on one of your utilities, simply see if a credit card payment option is available and sign-up. Or, sign up today for Experian Boost.
  • Potential Risks: Low, provided you can continue to pay your credit card's minimum monthly balance.
  • Sustainability: High, as once you sign up for Experian Boost or start using your credit cards to make your other monthly payments, it is mostly a set-it-and-forget-it strategy.
  • 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
Enjoy consumer protection
Pay your bills quickly without the hassle of writing out checks and sending them in the 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

Homeowners and apartment tenants are responsible for far more expenses than just credit card and loan payments each month. We must pay for our mobile phone subscriptions, utility bills, and streaming services. But most of these activities don't get reported to the credit bureaus, which is a shame, especially if you manage each of these monthly expenses. Thankfully, it is possible to put all those payments to work.

To get credit for all of those monthly payments, there are two things you can do.

  • One way to raise your credit score in 30 days is to 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. You can also see if you can use your credit cards to pay your bills. This allows you to maximize any credit card perks and rewards. Just ensure your utilization stays the same.
  • Start using your credit card to pay your utility bills, rent payments, etc. This can help demonstrate good payment history, driving up your credit score. However, be cautious so that the monthly amounts you add to your credit card balances are paid off each month and you don't inadvertently increase your utilization.

8. Hunt Down Credit Report Errors 

  • Who this helps: All borrowers. Checking your credit report once a year helps you ensure lenders analyze your borrowing behavior accurately. 
  • Difficulty Level: Low. Getting a copy of your credit report can take up to 15 days after you file the request. Reviewing your credit report usually takes one hour or less, depending on how much information you need to review.
  • Potential Risks: Low. Your credit will not be negatively impacted if you check your credit score or report. 
  • Sustainability: High. Check your report at least once per year. If you find an error on your credit report and successfully dispute it, your score will start to rise quickly.
  • Finimpact score: 3


You will better understand your current credit position
You will be more aware of what lenders see when they conduct a credit inquiry Regularly checking your credit reports can help you be more aware of what lenders may see
You can detect any inaccurate or incomplete information and file a dispute to get your credit report updated


None - your credit score will not be impacted if your check your credit score or report

Per the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, borrowers can obtain free access to their credit report once per year. Checking your credit report for errors is a great way to raise your credit score, not to mention be a responsible borrower. To obtain your free credit report, visit You can also sign up for a credit monitoring service through any of the three credit bureaus; ExperianEquifax, and TransUnion.

Once you access your credit report, be on the lookout for errors. Common credit report errors include things like:

  • Inaccurate missed payment dates
  • Incorrect dates of late payments
  • Inaccurate balances on the account
  • Inaccurate dates the account was opened or closed
  • Accounts belonging to another person with the same or a similar name as yours (this mixing of two consumers’ information in a single file is called a mixed file)
  • You may even find that a bureau has mistakenly listed you as deceased

Errors on your credit reports can lower your credit score, thus impacting your ability to get new lines of credit and favorable terms.


What Matters Most for Your Credit Score

FICO credit scores are calculated using the following criteria:

  • Payment history: 35%
  • Amounts owed: 30%
  • Length of credit history: 15%
  • Credit mix: 10%
  • New credit: 10% 

Note that the majority of lenders use your FICO credit score. However, the VantageScore was developed in tandem by the three credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion) to provide lenders with an alternate option vs. the FICO score. According to VantageScore, nine of the ten largest banks and 43 of the 100 largest credit unions use VantageScore credit scores in one or more lines of business.

The VantageScores (4.0 model) is calculated just a bit differently, looking at the following factors when determining your credit score:

  • Payment history: 40%
  • Depth of credit: 21%
  • Credit utilization: 20%
  • Balances: 11%
  • Recent credit: 5%
  • Available credit: 3% 


How Often Does Your Credit Score Update?

Your credit score updates every 30 to 45 days, based on when your creditors report information to the bureaus. However, your score can update more frequently if you have multiple credit cards, loans, etc. For this reason, borrowers should develop the habit of checking their credit scores more frequently. Many banks and creditors provide free access to credit scores as one of their perks. So, check to see if your financial institution gives you access. If not, sign up for a credit score service through one of the bureaus. 

Remember, however, especially if you want to increase your credit score by 200 points in 30 days, that your credit score will always fluctuate. A drop of a few points here or there, or an increase of the same, is not something to be alarmed about. Instead, watch for sizeable changes to your credit score, especially when they happen month after month. A large drop in your credit score indicates you should review your credit report for errors.


How Many Credit Points Do You Gain a Month?

So let’s determine whether your score can increase by 200 points in just a month. The average FICO Score in the U.S. was 714 in 2022, unchanged from 2021. So, you can see that there is quite a gap between the 850-point ceiling and where borrowers are today. And the truth is that it’s a pretty difficult feat to close that gap, let alone improve your score by 200 points. The closer you get to an excellent score of 850, the harder it will be to close the gap. So, if it were that easy to improve your score by that much so quickly, more borrowers would be doing it.

However, there are things you can do to get your credit score to rise fast.

  • A credit builder loan could increase your score by as much as 60 points over the course of one or two points.
  • If bankruptcy rolls off your credit, it can improve your score by 30 to 100 points.
  • Hard credit inquiries sit on your credit report for one to two years. When these roll off, your score can improve by five to ten points each time.
  • Signing up for Experian Boost can improve your score by 12 points.

The key to improving your credit lies in patience. If you pay your bills on time each month, keep utilization under 30%, and stay mindful of new credit, your score will start to climb.


The Benefits of Boosting Your Credit 

Improving your credit score can greatly improve your spending ability. An improvement over time of 200 points can move your credit score into a new ranking, making you look more favorable to creditors. 

The FICO credit score ranges are: 

  • 300 to 580: Poor
  • 580 to 669: Fair
  • 670 to 739: Good
  • 740 to 799: Very good
  • 800 to 850: Exceptional 

You can see that the average score of 714 that we mentioned earlier falls nicely in the middle of the good score range. If you have a credit score in the poor range, you will not enjoy the same lower interest rates, higher borrowing limits, or rewards and perks as someone whose credit score falls in the exceptional range. 

Better Interest Rates

Your better credit score will also give you access to better interest rates. For example, consider personal loans for fair credit with the caveat that interest rates can fluctuate depending on the state of the economy. Compare those same rates for personal loans with good credit. With fair credit, you are far more likely to pay a higher interest rate than good or excellent credit.

FICO Score Average loan interest rate
720 to 850 10.73% - 12.50%
690 to 719 13.50% - 15.50%
630 to 689 17.80% - 19.90%
300 to 629 28.50% - 32.00%

As you can see, the better your credit score, the lower (better) your interest rates will be.

Higher Credit Limits 

Just as a better credit score will make you eligible for lower interest rates, you may also be able to borrow more. When lenders look at good and excellent scores, they believe you have proven that you are financially secure and creditworthy. As such, they'll review your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio, and if they believe you have the capacity in your budget, they'll approve you for a higher credit card limit or line of credit.

This doesn't mean, however, that you should always accept a higher credit limit. In You can request a lower credit limit if it makes sense for you. Lowering the limit on a credit card might also make sense if you want to open a new credit account with the same card issuer. In some cases, your card issuers will want to limit the total available credit they'll extend to you. You also might want to lower your credit card limit to reduce your temptation to spend more money. If you decide to lower your credit limit, however, just be aware that lowering your credit limit on your credit card increases your utilization rate.

More Housing Opportunities 

Landlords look at credit scores and your credit report as part of the screening process. Your credit history can show them how you've managed money in the past and help them determine whether you might be a responsible tenant.

Your credit score can also directly impact the interest rate you could get on a mortgage, car loan, personal loan, or credit card. Let’s take mortgage interest rates as another example. 

FICO Score National average mortgage APR
760 to 850 5.697%
700 to 759 5.919%
680 to 699 6.096%
660 to 679 6.310%
640 to 659 6.740%
620 to 639 7.286%

Insurance Options 

A higher credit score decreases your car insurance rate, often significantly, in almost every state and with almost every insurance company. Insurance companies want to understand your credit score because a higher score gives them more confidence that you will pay your insurance premiums on time.

Getting a quote, however, does not affect your credit. This said, when quoting you insurance rates, insurance companies look at more than just your credit score. They will also consider:

  • Your driving record
  • Where you live (and where the car is kept when not in use)
  • Your age, gender, and marital status
  • The type of vehicle you're insuring (luxury vehicles can cost more to insure, yet various safety features on cars can help lower the amount you pay)
  • The types of insurance you want, coverage amounts, and deductibles

Better First Impression 

The last time you applied for a job, you might have been surprised to find out that your prospective employer checked your credit score. Employers conduct background checks during the hiring process to protect their employees and customers. Not only do employers want to eliminate candidates with criminal histories such as a background of theft or embezzlement, but they also look at your credit score as it is a reliable snapshot of how a potential candidate handles their responsibilities.


Get Help with Improving Your Credit 

As we have indicated, boosting your credit overnight or raising your credit score by 200 points in 30 days is a pretty big feat. Rather than focusing on a specific number, it may be better to focus on the various strategies and tactics that are proven to improve your credit score. If you are focused on seeing that credit score increase, try these approaches.

  • Never miss a payment
  • Pay more than the minimum due whenever possible. 
  • Don’t spend anywhere close to your credit limit. Keep your balance at 30% or less than your credit limit.
  • Develop a long credit history. The longer you have credit, the stronger your credit score can be
  • Only apply for credit when you need it
  • Pay attention to your credit mix. Having too many credit cards or multiple personal loans doesn’t look too good to future creditors. 
  • Keep an eye on your credit reports by checking it annually. And, check your credit score once a month if you can.
  • Keep credit lines open after they are paid off. Keeping a credit line open, even with a low or zero balance, can help you protect that credit utilization.

If you are feeling overwhelmed, consider credit counseling to help you get your finances in order. Credit counselors can advise you on your debts, help you develop a budget, and provide money management workshops to set you on a path toward financial success. 


Final Word

We're not going to sugarcoat it for you. A credit improvement of 200 points in 30 days may or may not be possible, depending on your situation. Committing to good financial habits can make the sustainable changes you need to improve your credit score. Pay your bills on time, manage your utilization, and don't bite off more than you can chew. One of the best ways to achieve a better credit score is to practice diligence and patience. 

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

Is it possible to increase my credit score 200 points in 30 days?

Whether or not you can increase your credit score by 200 points in 30 days really depends. But by being diligent with your payments, monitoring the utilization of your revolving credit, and being thoughtful before you take on new credit, your credit score can improve. Note that it is easier to get big increases in credit when you are just starting out compared to when you are repairing credit. 

How often does my credit score change?

Your credit score updates about every 30 to 45 days but is largely dependent on when your creditors report information to the bureaus. Your score can update more frequently, however, if you have multiple credit cards, loans, etc. For this reason, borrowers should develop the habit of checking their credit scores more frequently. 

Does it cost money to improve my credit score?

You should never have to pay anyone directly to improve your credit score unless you are providing funds for a secured deposit, sign up for a program such as Experian boost to get credit for your streaming and utility payments, sign up for a credit monitoring program, or sign on for credit counseling services.  Remember, too, that you must pay your bills, manage your debt, and strategically use your credit to improve your credit score

About the Authors

 Ann Schreiber

Written by: Ann Schreiber

Seasoned Copywriter & Content Marketer

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

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