San Diego County



March 24, 2015

How to Improve Your Credit Score

If your credit is between 500-600, you are likely worried about how that might impact your ability to purchase a car or home in the future.

Have faith! There are steps you can take to improve your credit score. But, be aware that this is a rebuilding process. It will take time. What you are actually doing is improving your credit history, which is reflected in your score. And a history isn’t built overnight.

So, here are 3 steps to improve your credit history, which will help improve your score: 

Correcting Errors

It’s possible that there are mistakes on your report. Unfortunately, it happens. If something is misreported or factually wrong, you have the right to dispute it. This should lead to the removal of wrong information from your report. 

Here are a few common mistakes:

  • Someone else’s information on your report: Many mix-ups happen because of name, social security numbers or addresses. Sometimes this leads to the wrong information being reported on your history.
  • Outdated Information: Certain items may still be on your report that have been closed or past their deadline for removal. Not everything stays on your credit forever, such as a foreclosure. A foreclosure should be removed after 7 years.
  • Wrong Payment Status: Your report should show when you make your payments on time. Sometimes the report doesn’t accurately show your payment status.

To fix these problems, start by pulling a free credit report. Then, make sure that all the information in the report is accurate. Annual Credit Report is a great resource to help you pull your credit report for free. 

If you need help pulling a report, settling credit score disputes or reading through your credit report, call the Virtual Counselor Network. We will connect you with a free counselor to answer any of your questions or help removing incorrect information on your report.

Decrease Debt to Credit Ratio

One of the factors in your credit score is your debt to credit ratio. This is comparing the amount of debt you have against the amount of credit you have been approved for.

The easiest example is a credit card limit. That is an amount of credit that you have been approved to use. So if you have a credit card balance of $18,000 on a card with a $20,000 limit, that is a high debt to credit ratio.

A good rule of thumb is to use no more than 30% of the credit limit. With the previous credit card example, that is keeping your balance below $6,000. 

Springboard and Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Orange County can help Southern Californian residents create a plan to pay down debt.

Pay Bills on Time

At the end of the day, your credit report tells lenders how likely you are to pay back loans. So if you continually pay your bills on time, it will show that you are very likely to pay their loan back on time. It makes you less risky to lend to.

If you aren’t up to date with all of your bills, work to become current. Over time this will show positive practices in your history, which will help increase your score.


If you are worried about your credit score, consult with a professional to develop a tailored plan to help improve your credit history. At the Virtual Counselor Network, we can connect you with a free counselor who can give you advice based on your specific needs.

We are your FREE resource for finding help with any questions you may have about life’s transitions. This includes questions about how to repair your credit, paying down debt and managing your money.