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A friend of mine has been focusing on improving his credit score and asked for help because his credit score is ~630 points. This means that he most likely will be declined for some of the best travel credit cards we recommend. The good news is that it can take months, or even just a couple short years to boost your credit score more than you might think is possible!
Having the right travel credit cards have saved me thousands of dollars over the years. I literally haven’t paid full price for a flight in years. Most of the time I just pay ~$11 per round-trip flight in taxes and fees! I want to help my friends do the same.
Here’s How I’m Advising My Friend on Improving His Credit Score
Apply for a Secured Credit Card
Having a secured credit card like the Capital One® Secured Mastercard® will help build a positive credit history. It’s OK if you’ve made credit card mistakes in the past. Use it as an opportunity to learn and improve, rather than shaming yourself for mistakes. My friend recently got approved for a Capital One secured credit card, so he put a recurring ~$13 Netflix charge on it, set up autopay, and stashed the credit card away for ~6 months. This will help show to the credit rating agencies that he is being more responsible with credit cards and in turn, improve his credit score!
Pay Bills Each Month
Paying your credit card bills regularly when they are due is one of the most important things you can do to build up your credit. It’s easy to put a small recurring charge (for example, Netflix) and set up your credit card to autopay.
Old debts roll off your credit score after 7 years. If you can pay the credit card debt, great! But if you have a lot of debt that you can’t afford, then treat it as a lesson learned and let it roll off your credit.
With these 3 steps, applying for a secured credit card, paying bills each month, and waiting for old credit to drop off, I’m hopeful that his score will increase at least ~50 points by the same time next year. He can use free credit monitoring websites to check his score every month to see the impact.
And once his credit score is in the ~720 range, I’ll be suggesting he get our #1 travel credit card for folks new using miles instead of money for travel, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.
Have you ever had a period of a lower credit score in your life? How did you bounce back?