A high credit score can make your life a lot easier. Alternatively, a low credit score can make your life a lot more difficult. So how do you go about improving that score? And how do you do it fast?

First, understand that your credit score is based on the information in your credit report. Your payment history is one of the most important factors used to calculate your score. On top of that are considerations like the age of your credit history, the types of credit you’re using, the total debt owed, the type of debt owed, and the amount of credit available to you versus the amount you’re borrowing.

While ultimately your score is built over time, there are things you can do to give yourself a considerable boost if your score is quite low.

1. Ask For a Higher Limit on Your Credit Cards

What you are looking to do here is increase the amount of credit available to you. At the same time, you should not use any more of that credit. This way, there is a lot more credit available to you than you are using, which boosts your score.

If you have a credit card you’ve always paid on time and your income is stable, you can call the company to ask. The worst they can do is say no.

2. Consider Getting a Small Loan

You need more positive payments on your credit history. If that’s true, consider personal loans for bad credit borrowers. In this case, you need to be very confident you’ll make your payments by the due date since on-time payments are going to improve your score.

3. Dispute Any Errors On Your History

If you have multiple missed payments, you may be less likely to bother disputing any errors on your history. However, you definitely need to. Every negative mark on your report adds up to create a bad credit score. Disputing any credit report errors can help things improve, even if that error is just saying the limit on your credit card is lower than it actually is.

4. Get and Use a Secured Credit Card

Secured credit cards are specifically meant for people with no credit or who need to rebuild their credit history. These are people who would be turned down when applying for the more traditional unsecured credit cards. Essentially, you put down a specific amount of money, typically a few hundred dollars. This money is used to secure the credit line the financial institution gives you. The amount you put down sets the amount you’re allowed to spend each month. The best practice when using this card is to use less than 30% of the total at any given time and to pay it off at the end of each month.

5. Diversify Your Credit History

What kind of payments do you have on your credit history? Credit cards are known as recurring payments because they go on indefinitely. A loan incurs installment payments until you pay it off. One way to improve your credit score is to build up a history of both kinds of payments.

Keep in mind that it is absolutely essential you never miss a payment. A missed payment will lower your score. If you want to improve your credit, only take on new payment accounts that you know you’ll be able to manage.