How I Got My FICO Score Up to 850

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Most people know that your FICO (also known as your credit score) is super important. It can determine if you can get a mortgage, car loan and even a job. Believe it or not, some employers will check a candidate’s credit score before they make them a job offer. Most major credit card companies now offer all their customers their FICO scores for free. The better credit score you have, the better (lower) interest rate you can get on loans. Due to my credit score, I was able to get a 30 year fixed mortgage with a 3.12% interest rate. Doing the below is how I got my credit score to 850.


Pay your bills on time…even if you can only make the minimum payment

This one is a no brainer and an absolute must if you want a better credit score. I pay every bill on time and in full. This includes your monthly mortgage, credit cards, cell phone and utility bills. For your credit card bills, even if you can’t pay it in full, at least make the minimum payment on the due date. I have set up an automatic Bill Pay service with my bank so all of my bills get paid automatically and on time. Having all these bills can be overwhelming and people may just throw their hands up and give up on paying them.  But do not do this because you will definitely regret it later.  I have written a post related to the automatic Bill Pay service. Go check it out .

Do not cancel your credit cards unless they charge an annual fee

When you cancel a credit card, it dings your credit score. If you are trying to get out of debt and you paid off one of your credit cards, just hide it or cut it up so you won’t be tempted to use it. But do not call and cancel the card. Now you should always have a credit card handy for emergencies, so don’t cut up your emergency credit card.

A few years ago I was in a retail store and they were offering an additional 25% off if I applied for their store credit card and charged the item on the card.  Of course I took advantage of the deal because I really wanted this jacket.  So I charged the one item, got the discount and when I got the bill, I paid it off in full and never used the credit card again.  I never cancelled the card either. It’s sitting safely in my home and will probably never be used again.  If I cancelled the card, it would have taken a hit on my credit score.


I do not have any credit cards that charge an annual fee because I hate paying this fee. Unless your credit card is offering you huge benefits and you actually use the benefits often, only then I would feel paying the annual fee is justifiable. In the past I have had credit cards where I paid an annual fee, but after I felt like I was no longer using their benefits, I went ahead and cancelled them. Now I know this dinged my credit score, but paying a hefty annual fee for basically nothing was not worth it.  Which leads me to the next step.

Call your Credit Card Company and ask for a Credit Limit Increase


This tip is for people that really know how to control their spending. If this is not you, then ignore this step. Your credit score is in part based on what is called your debt to credit ratio. You will want to increase your credit limit amount on your cards and of course decrease your debt. For the few major credit cards that I do use, I have called them all up and asked for a credit limit increase. I’ve always been approved for them. Having more credit limit will definitely boost your credit score.


Like I said earlier, I did not want to pay anymore annual fees for my credit cards. So what I did was I opened a new credit card that did not charge an annual fee and I transferred the balance over. Then I cancelled the credit card that charged the annual fee. I asked the new card for a credit limit increase (which they gave me) so it would offset the credit score ding I got for cancelling the card that charged the annual fee.

If you have a bad FICO score and can’t get approved for a credit card…Apply to a Credit Union   

For those trying to rebuild their credit and you are unable to get approved for a credit card, then you should apply to a credit union (also known as secured credit cards.)  Click here for a list of the top rated credit unions.

Unfortunately, these secured credit cards usually require a deposit or an annual fee. And there is no way to get around them. If you want to build up your credit, you will need to prove your credit worthiness with these credit unions. But don’t give up hope. In time, your FICO score will improve. You just need to pay every bill on time going forward.

Now you know how I got my FICO score up to 850. Let us know if you have any other helpful tips on the subject.



    • CJ

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