Get a credit card if you don’t have one: Don't fall for the myth that you have to carry a balance to have good scores. You don't, and you shouldn't. But having and using a credit card or two can really build your scores. If you can't quality for a regular credit card, consider a secured credit card, where the issuing bank gives you credit line equal to the deposit you make. Look for a card that reports to all three bureaus.
Add an installment loan to the mix: You'll get the faster improvement in your score if you show you're responsible with bother major kinds of credit.: revolving (Credit cards) and installment (personal loans, auto, mortgages and student loans). If you don't already have an installment loan on your credit report, consider adding a small personal loan that you can pay back over time. Again, you will want the loan to report to all three bureaus, and you'll get the best deal.
Pay down your credit cards: Paying off your installment loans (mortgage, auto, student, ect.) can help your scores but typically not as dramatically as paying down or paying off - revolving accounts such as credit cards. Lenders like to see a big gap between the amount of credit you're using and you're available credit limits. Getting your balance below 30% of the credit limit on each card can really help, getting balances below 10% is even better.
Use your credit cards lightly: Racking up big balances can hurt your scores, regardless of whether you pay your bills in full each month. What's typically reported to the credit bureaus, and thus calculated into your scores, are the balances reported on your last statements. You often can increase your scores by limiting your charges to 30% or less of a credit limit' 10% is even better. If you 're having trouble keeping track, you can set up email or text alerts with your credit card companies to let you know when you're approaching a limit you've set.
Check your limits: Your scores might be artificially depressed if your lender is showing a lower limit than you actually have. Most credit card issuers will quickly update this information if you ask. If your issuer makes it a policy not to report consumers' limits, however - as is sometimes the case with "no present spending limit" cards - the bureaus may use your highest balance as a proxy for your credit limit. You may see the problem here: If you consistently charge the same amount each month, say $2000 it may look to the credit scoring formula like you're regularly maxing out that card.
Dust off an old card: The older your credit history, the better. But if you stop using your oldest cards, the issuers may decide to close the accounts or stop updating them to the credit bureaus. The accounts may still appears, but they won't be giving as much weight in the credit scoring formula as your active accounts. You might want to charge a reoccurring bill to one of those little-used accounts or take them out for dinner and a movie
Get Some Goodwill: If you've been a good customer, a lender might agree to simply erase that one late payment from your credit history. You usually have to make a request in writing and your chances for a “goodwill adjustment” improve the better your record with the company (and better your credit in general). But it can’t hurt to ask. A longer-term solution for more-troubled accounts is to ask that they be “re-aged”. If the account is still open, the lender might erase previous delinquencies if you make a series of 12 or so on-time payments.