Help to increase credit score

Help to increase credit score
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I moved to the US in September 2018, and only recently got a credit score, which is now 639, it would be great if I could get it above 700 by the end of January 2019…

I have two credit cards totalling 25k, both are 12 months at 0% on new purchases - I thought by using these credit limits with 0% and keeping more cash for a down payment on a mortgage would be a good idea - However, I’m now thinking it’s better to pay most of this balance off and have less for a mortgage down payment?

If I was to pay off say 15-20k, would this make such a significant impact on my score to get me a better mortgage rate?

I also bought a couple new cars which has a balance of 70k, I can double monthly payments (1.5k to 3k per month) on this debt if it’s going to help my score also?!

Any advice would be much appreciated!



Hi Steve, welcome to NerdWallet (and the U.S.!).

If I read your question correctly, you owe $25K on two 0% credit cards and make payments on two cars. You’re doing the right things to build credit: You are making on-time payments on both installment loans (autos) and revolving accounts (credit cards). A great credit score takes both types of credit— and, alas, some time to build as well. The length of your credit history is also a factor, and it’s the one you have the least control over.

Double payments on the cars won’t improve your score any more than single payments would.

If that $25,000 credit card balance represents a significant chunk of your available credit, then paying it down (ideally, you want to use less than 10% of your available credit; if you can’t hit that, aim for less than 30%).

I am curious as to how you got two high-limit 0% credit cards with a limited credit history though.

Lastly, I want to stress that it doesn’t take a large amount of debt to build credit. You don’t need to buy two new cars; you could take out a small credit-builder installment loan. You don’t need two big credit card balances; you could charge small items and pay them off monthly and get the same result.

And the car loans and big credit card balances may be a negative factor when you go to get a mortgage; you may have a great credit score but the amount you can borrow (or at what rate) might be limited by a high debt-to-income ratio.


Hi des,

Thanks and thanks for the advice - My company has an agreement with advancial FCU, so I was able to get a bank account and credit card with a 15k credit limit, also managed to transfer my Amex credit from the UK, so they gave me a 10k - Not sure what else might have contributed…

I’ve just now settled most of my credit card debt, I’ll probably zero one card out and keep a small balance on the other one.

With the auto loans, I’ll over pay on one of the two loans to pay it off quicker, not only to reduce interest, but to reduce debt for when I apply for the mortgage…

I think I’m starting to get my head round the way it works over here…

Thanks again