How to Hack Your Credit Score

How to Hack Your Credit Score

Written by Caitlin Wood
Last Updated June 17, 2014

As an adult knowing what your credit score is and keeping track of it on a monthly basis is important, especially if you’re looking to make a large investment like purchasing a house or a new car. Generally speaking time and patience are the two main things that will improve your credit score. Unfortunately you can’t improve your credit score overnight but you also can’t just continue your current spending habits and expect your credit score to improve on its own. You need to take action, commit yourself to living a more financially mature lifestyle and finally be patience, as it will take some time.

Once you have committed yourself to improving your credit score you can follow these tips, tricks and hacks to give yourself a little extra boost.

The Buddy System

The buddy system is a good option for those who can’t get their own credit card, who are young or those that have no credit history at all. The idea is that you can become an authorized user on the credit card of someone else, usually a family member like your mother, father or significant other. This way you’ll be able to start building a credit history for yourself. Once you’ve started to establish yourself you might then be able to get your own credit card to improve your credit score and history even further.

The buddy system can be a great way to hack your credit score but there are risks to this method, here are some things you need to keep in mind if you plan on going with the buddy system.

1. Your credit score will not improve as fast with an authorized user credit card as it would with a card in your own name.

2. It can be hard to find someone willing to tie you to their own credit score. It’s important for everyone involved that you only choose someone you trust and have an open relationship with, that way discussing any problems won’t be an issue.

3. As for the primary cardholder you will be responsible for any charges the other persons makes and can’t pay off. The financial choices, bad or good, that the authorized user makes will affect the credit score of the primary card holder.

4. Adding your child as an authorized card user on your credit card can be a good or bad decision. It’s a great way for them to start building their credit history from a young age, but if they misuse the credit card it can have a negative effect on both of your credit scores.

Payment History

Your payment history is one of the, if not the most important factor in the calculation of your credit score. So if you’re trying to hack your credit score then you absolutely need to make your payments on time and in full every single month.

Making frequent payments is a great hack that everyone should be doing, not only people who are actively trying to improve their credit score. Credit specialists suggest that people, especially those trying to build a credit history, should use as little of their existing credit as possible. This is where making frequent payments comes in. Keep your credit card balance as low as possible by making more than one payment per billing cycle, this way you’ll still be using your credit card and building a history for yourself but you won’t be maxing out your card in the process.

Some people pay off their credit card balances every time they make a charge to them; you don’t have to do this but do pay off your card more than once a month. Also make sure you keep track of the due date for paying your entire balance off, it can be easy to forget if you’re constantly making extra payments.

Opening New Accounts

Purposefully applying for new credit cards is a great way to hack your credit score, especially if your limit is low on the card you already have. As we stated above using as little of your available credit as possible is important when trying to improve your credit score. So if you have a low limit opening one or two new accounts will increase your available credit, this will allow you to both use your credit card when necessary and not have to worry about using too much of your available credit.

What is really important is that you use this hack to improve your credit score not to increase your spending; increasing your available credit simply to be able to spend more will not help your credit score.

Finally, applying for new credit will result in a hard inquiry. Hard inquiries negatively affect your credit score so don’t apply for too many new cards as it can hurt the hard work you’re putting into improving your credit score.

Report Your Card as Lost

You can also report a credit card lost to improve your credit score. It’s not the best option but people do it and it does end up working for them. Just remember that credit card companies deal with lost cards differently so this hack might not work for you. Here’s how it works.

1. You report your credit card lost to the company.

2. The credit card company will close the account and create a new one for you.

3. They will transfer your history to the new account, including the date you opened the original account.

4. The new account will be added to your credit report.

This means that you now have two trade lines on your credit history with the length of the account you closed, you basically have increased the age of your credit. This might not be the best idea for your situation but people use this hack because credit age plays a big role in the calculation of your credit score.

If you’re looking to improve your credit score or build one from the ground up then follow these hacks and you should be on your way to a healthy financial future with a credit score that will allow you to stay on track to make big life investments and purchases.

 

 


Rating of 3/5 based on 10 votes.

Caitlin is a graduate of Dawson College and Concordia University and has been working in the personal finance industry for over eight years. She believes that education and knowledge are the two most important factors in the creation of healthy financial habits. She also believes that openly discussing money and credit, and the responsibilities that come with them can lead to better decisions and a greater sense of financial security. One of the main ways she’s built good financial habits is by budgeting and tracking her spending through the YNAB budgeting app. She also automates her savings so she never forgets to put aside a portion of her income into her TFSA. She believes investing and passive income is key to earning financial freedom. She also uses her Aeroplan TD credit card to collect Aeroplan points so that she can save money when she travels.

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