How to Increase Your Credit Score Without Using Credit Cards

How to Increase Your Credit Score Without Using Credit Cards

If you’ve read any of my articles before, you know I’m not a big fan of having a credit score.  In fact, I believe the best credit score is no score at all.  So why would I write a post about how to increase your credit score?

Well, in some cases it’s easier to increase your credit score quickly rather than waiting for it to go to zero while you’re in the transition of getting out of debt (which may take months to years).

This might be necessary if you have an immediate need for buying a home or renting a house, for instance.

In this case the goal would be to stay out of the middle territory where a bad credit score could prevent you from being approved for a mortgage or convincing a landlord to let you rent their property.

The Problem With Credit Scores

Too many people are led to believe that they need to go into debt and build credit so they can get the things they need financially, such as a home loan, a car loan, etc.

I won’t go into all the details here, but you don’t need a credit score to succeed in life.

If you insist on taking out loans and using credit to run your life, then you want the highest credit rating possible.  But if you’re getting out of debt and want to never use consumer debt again, your goal is to have no credit score whatsoever (which is what I teach).

Increase Your Credit Score Without Credit Cards

So if you’re stuck in a situation where you need your credit score to increase, but you don’t want to take on more debt, what do you do?

Well, you have several options available that can still keep you on the path to getting out of debt.  You can do these without using credit cards (or other debt) to increase your score if that’s what you need right now.

Below you’ll find some good options that fit the bill…

 

Look for Credit Report Errors

One of the quickest things you can do to increase your credit score is to scan your credit reports for errors.  According to an FTC study, as many as 25% of credit reports have errors.  Many of these errors can result in a lower credit score.

One way you can help correct these errors is by using a credit repair service.  I don’t usually recommend that.  But if you insist on letting someone else do it for you, it would probably be a good idea to find a service that’s highly rated.  You can find ratings for those on this handy ratings page for credit repair services at BadCredit.org

Contacting the credit bureau yourself and getting errors fixed may take some time and effort, but it’s definitely worth it.  Doing it yourself can result in a higher credit score in the long run without paying fees for someone else to handle it for you.

Pay Utilities and Rent on Time

Of course, paying your bills on time is a great way to maintain a good credit score, but only if those on time payments are being reported to the credit rating agencies.

Most landlords and utilities don’t do this.

So if you want to make sure your on time payments are being reported, contact your landlord and utility companies and request that they report every on time payment you send.  This could help your credit score increase significantly once the credit bureaus have a record of on time payments to consider.

ECredable

Ecredable is a company that helps you build a good credit score without having to use credit cards and loans to do it.   Ecredable records payment information from utility bills, life insurance payments, phone bills, cable bills, and other payments not usually considered in a traditional credit score.

From that information they build your AMP (All My Payments) credit score which is just as legal and valid as any credit score from a traditional credit bureau.

The beautiful thing about the Ecredable AMP score is that you’re making the typical bill payments you always make, without resorting to debt to build a credit score.

Keep Credit Card Balances Low

30% of your credit rating is based on your level of debt.  One way to improve your credit score is to pay down your credit cards and other debt to a lower level.  Of course, I believe having no debt is best.  But if you do have credit card debt, keep it at a low level compared to the max amount available on each card.

For instance, if you have a credit card with a $5,000 max, keep the balance at $500 or less.  Do this with all your credit cards to maximize your score with the eventual goal of getting out of debt for good.

Manual Underwriting

I’m a firm believer that you don’t need a credit score for any reason.  No matter what you need to do financially, it’s just not necessary to go into debt and build a good credit score so you can qualify to take out more debt.

Why would you want to get into that financial death spiral?

If you need to take out a reasonable mortgage on a house, you can take advantage of manual underwriting if you have no credit score.

Instead of letting a computer decide your mortgage fate based on your credit score, manual underwriting actually utilizes a human being to assess your finances to see if you can qualify for a mortgage.

There are a few basic criteria you’ll need to meet to qualify for manual underwriting, but a credit score is not one of them!

Be Patient

Whether you’re trying to build your credit score to a higher level or trying to get rid of it for good, you have to realize it takes patience.

The world of credit scores rarely moves quickly, but with a bit of diligence and a lot of patience you can achieve the outcome you’re looking for.

Other Things You Can Do

As I said earlier, I don’t like credit scores and truly believe you don’t need one to get by in life.  I don’t care what the gurus on TV say, true financial freedom comes from having no debt.

So if you want to achieve the kind of financial freedom that fundamentally changes your life for good, here’s what I recommend:

  • Decide that you don’t want to live like the average broke person who believes a credit score is necessary
  • Get in the habit of doing a monthly budget
  • Keep an emergency fund handy

Question:  What’s your opinion?  Do you think I’m crazy for wanting a zero credit score? Leave a comment and let me know…

About Dr. Jason Cabler

7 Responses to “How to Increase Your Credit Score Without Using Credit Cards”

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  1. Avia says:

    I was not concerned with having a pretty credit score until we sought a rental, after decades in the same place. We didn’t have debt or credit cards, and saw no reason to have them. Then I found out that credit matters when one is looking to rent. I don’t know how a zero score would have worked, since I had better than that, but it was a little bit of a challenge to prove enough income since I don’t have a standard job. Managed to do that, too. After a while, I decided to apply for credit cards when there were cash incentives to do so, and have gotten an 800+ credit score in the process. We pay the cards in full, still see no reason for debt. I can’t imagine that we would ever buy a house without actually buying it outright.

    As for negatives of having a good credit score and credit cards, I think it would be if one had medical debt or was targeted by bill collection agencies. I’ve read that the latter hit people up who never had the supposed debt. If such collectors saw a good credit report and associated credit lines, I think it could be possible that they would assume that their target would hit those credit cards to make them stop the threats. To put it another way, I think credit reporting agencies and credit reports compromise privacy.

  2. Interesting, I’ve never thought about (or heard of) debt collectors focusing on people with high credit scores. Makes sense though, as those people might have more ability to pay and get that hassle out of their way.

    As for renting without a credit score, it can still be done. You should have them contact previous landlords to prove a good payment history, keep pay stubs to prove income, etc. and most landlords wouldn’t have a problem with that. They might even want your more as a renter when they know you’re debt free and manage your money well.

  3. Syed says:

    Excellent topic. Some people can’t or shouldn’t have too many credit cards, so it’s important to do what you can to get the best credit score possible. Credit score is not everything but it is a good idea to have as high of a score as you can.

  4. Holly says:

    I think it’s crazy how credit scores are scored. In some ways, you are penalized for not carrying debt and not using credit frequently.

    • A credit score is really an “I love debt” score. Therefore if you don’t use your available credit to their liking, your score can get penalized for it. My eventual goal is to have no credit score at all!

  5. Lisa says:

    Thanks for this! I’m saving this for reference for myself and in case anyone asks me why I’m giving up credit altogether!

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