How Do I Raise My Credit Score?

April 25th, 2011, byMichelle Singletary

pencil eraser fixing bad credit

Q: I’ve paid off all my old debt, and my debt-to-income ratio is under 10%. Most of my old debt was bad debt that was in collection or almost written off. It’s been a year, and my credit score still hasn’t budged at all. What can I do to bring up my score, now that my bad debt is all gone?

A: First, you should understand that your bad debt might still be impacting your scores, depending on how long ago you fell into default. Negative information stays on your credit report for seven years. The further you get away from when the negative information was first reported, the less impact it has on your credit scores. But, it’s still there and can still keep your scores down.

Give it some more time. Be patient. A year is not that long, especially if you have many negative items on your reports.

Most importantly, pay your bills on time. Any late payments will add to an already negative credit history and, thus, keep your scores from rising.

  • JBJ

    Thank you Ms. Singletary for your excellant advise on How To Rasie Your Credit Score.
    I’m a Business Coach for Micro and Small Businesses. Please advise the best way to address the issue of past/over due State Ordered Child Support Payments. Which has negative impact on ones credit as you well know.

  • Tamika Thompson

    Thank you for submitting a question to Michelle Singletary. Her response can be found here – http://www.pbs.org/wnet/tavissmiley/blogs/a-wealth-of-knowledge/overdue-child-support-payments/.


Last modified: June 12, 2011 at 10:57 pm