August 7, 2009

Help me Clark! How can I raise my credit score?

Posted: 09:53 AM ET


I was wondering what the best way is to raise my credit score. I rent an apartment, paid cash for my car and I don't have any credit cards. From what my credit report says, I'm out of debt but my score is still at 610. Since I've paid off collection accounts from a few years ago, my credit score has gone up about 90-100 points but for the past couple of years, it's stayed the same. How can I raise it safely?


You have a problem they refer to in the credit reporting industry as a thin file.

It seems every year, we're just around the corner from where payments for rent are going to count in a credit score. And that corner keeps moving away.

So the only smart way for you to establish credit is to get a secured card. With a secured card, you put up a deposit and then your charge limit is based on how much you have in that account. If you pay on time every month, you'll help establish credit.

And with a good secured card, after 18 monthly on-time payments, they will convert you to a regular card.

And then you're going to see that score go from just sitting at 610 to steadily higher - probably, with good on-time payments, into the upper 600s or low 700s.

Tune in to Clark Howard Saturdays and Sundays at noon and 4 p.m. ET on HLN.

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Filed under: Clark Howard • Finance • Living

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Lance   August 7th, 2009 5:04 pm ET

How would I get a secured credit card?

Sheilams   August 10th, 2009 2:22 pm ET

There are so many out there to choose from, could you suggest a few good secured credit cards?

S A   August 12th, 2009 10:26 am ET

I was late one day on $1169.50 on American Express, I was charged $51.86, that would be $19928.9 annually for ballance of $1169.50, it is
APR of 1704%. Yes seveteen hundred and four.

Is it legal?


Bill Bartmann   September 2nd, 2009 12:13 am ET

Excellent site, keep up the good work

robert   October 22nd, 2009 10:20 pm ET

I got what you said, i understand the requirement of a high credit score, there is one site named it helped me to raise my credit score, what would you say about this.

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About this blog

Clark Howard helps you become a wise consumer. We know you're busy, and that's why Clark's tips are quick and effective. He'll arm you with the information you need to make smart choices. During these tough economic times, Clark wants to help you save more, spend less and avoid getting ripped off!