How to Quickly Fix Bad Credit Score (Mine Was 520)

Updated on December 28, 2017

The first time I checked my credit score, I had a 520. In case you're not familiar with credit scores, 520 is pretty bad–bad enough that you can't even purchase a cell phone, let alone a car or home. That score haunted me for a while, until I decided to do something about it.

Within about 18 months I was able to fix my credit score. In this article, I'll teach you how to do the same.

Before you can fix your bad credit, though, you need to asses what you're up against. The first thing you need to do is get a credit report. This will allow you to see if there are any mistakes, and will show you exactly what is bringing your score down.

1. Pay off Your Credit Card Debt

I was using an extremely high percentage of my available credit card debt. The limits on my cards were low: $750 on one, and $500 on the other. Out of the $1,250 that I had available, I was using about $1,200. This is a huge no-no if you want a good credit score. I was using over 95 percent of my available credit.

On top of this, I was way behind on payments for both cards, and had to stop making so many late payments.

I saved up and paid off all of my debt. With that done, my credit score received a boost of almost 100 points.

2. Increase Your Limits

If you can increase the limits of your cards, do it. This will really help your score, as long as you continue to utilize debt.

For example, over the last few years I have increased the limits of my cards to over $20,000. If I run a balance of $1,200 now, it hardly affects my score. That's because $1,200 is only six percent of my available credit, instead of 95 percent.

In other words, you can change your credit score very quickly by raising your limits.

Owning and utilizing multiple credit cards responsibly can boost your credit score.
Owning and utilizing multiple credit cards responsibly can boost your credit score. | Source

3. If You Don't Have Credit Cards, Get Some

To boost your credit score, you really need to have revolving credit. People often think since they have a car or home loan, they are building credit, but this won't do nearly as much good as having some frequently used credit cards.

Before I had credit, it was very difficult to get a credit card. I was unable to get approved, and had to take out two secured credit cards to get the ball rolling. Soon, I was able to get real credit cards. Once a credit card provider sees someone else took a risk on you, they are more likely to take a risk themselves. You must make sure, though, to make payments on time if you want to maintain good credit score. Commit to never missing another payment.

4. Avoid High Interest Loans

In order to stay ahead of debt, I have prepared some simple advice:

  1. Commercial mortgage loans are better than no credit check personal loans. Why? Because the interest rates are lower.
  2. Home loans are better than auto loans. Why? Again, because the interest rates are lower.

Do simple comparisons to identify and get rid of the highest interest debt you have. This will make it easier to get rid of the rest later.

How to Check Your Credit Score for Free Online (Video)

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.


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    • profile image

      Larry S. Miller 

      23 months ago

      After 3 serious back surgeries, hiring someone to operate my funeral homes for 6 months after each surgery and a battle fought divorce, my credit went from good to very bad.

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      Pay off your debt? This girl needs to learn more about credit.

      There are many ways to boost, read read read. Pay off your debt, this is nice but if you pay it off your score may not move, you need a bit of debt to have a good score.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      My credit score is terrible due to mefical bills that I have received even with insurance. Its a nightmare totaling ip into 40,000 bucks. What do I do now

    • jbennett3112 profile image

      Josh Bennett 

      4 years ago from Illinois

      A rule of thumb with credit cards is never use more than 1/3 (33%) of your total revolving (credit card) balance. If you are using over 1/3, it will hurt your credit score. Also, inquiries are only 10% of your credit score. 0 in the last two years is perfect, but it really doesn't start hurting you too bad until you are at 5 or more. Another thing to remember, if you have a credit card that you just don't use any more, DO NOT CLOSE IT. That will lower the average age of your accounts and, in turn, hurt your credit score.

    • Honest-Writer profile image


      5 years ago

      Thank you for your advice. I will especially take into account the credit cards full usage, as I tend to do that as well and then just pay the high interest.

    • monicamelendez profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Salt Lake City

      Do what you can to get them paid off siller. It's going to be really hard to buy a home at some point if they ruin your credit

    • monicamelendez profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Salt Lake City

      The inquiries won't hurt you hardly at all. An inquiry or two each year is expected. If the other accounts are closed they probably won't hurt you unless they were closed for default. You should probably look into what they are.

    • monicamelendez profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Salt Lake City

      Yeah Jarrod it's possible in some situations. It isn't exactly the score that they look at. Most people with a score in that range won't be able to qualify.

    • profile image

      James S. 

      7 years ago

      I have 9 items posted on my credit. 3-4 are inquiries on my credit to get a car and the last one was done back in 2009. One is a loan that I took out by I'm paying that off soon do that leaves atleast 3 other things that I don't know what they are but they DON'T have a balance and they are CLOSED....what does this mean??

    • profile image

      siller thermoise 

      7 years ago

      i'am working on fixing my credit score because its so low too many student loans on default.What is the sense on earning a degree if you getting harassed to pay back the loan

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      520 credit score is bad but not horrible. I got a cell phone for me and my wife nothing down verizon. Also i got approved therw my bank for a home loan. a lot dpends on what your credit score is down for. late payments and repos then yes your not going to get anything. but if its because of other things then it wont.



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