5 Ways to Increase Your Credit Score If You're Already Above 700
Want to improve your already good credit? I sat down with Color My Credit to get her secrets for getting a higher score.
I hate to flex, but I have always had good, great, or excellent credit.
Part of it is being extremely cautious about my credit utilization from the start. For example, at 19, I called my bank crying when I couldn’t make a payment. To me, this was the end of the world. To the kind—almost fairy-godmother-like—woman on the other end of the phone line, it was just another day on the job. Did you know they will extend your due date if you can’t make your payment? (Same with the IRS.)
The other big part of it is living within my means which wasn’t always mentally easy (hello, lifestyle inflation).
You don’t need to make a ton of money to have good or even excellent credit. And you don’t have to look at your credit every day, month, or even year to be in excellent status. You just have to be realistic with yourself when it comes to your spending.
Does that mean I never splurged? Nope. I definitely did and even skated by for a few months, just making minimum payments. But, when I did get any extra income, the first thing I would do, even before setting aside savings, was pay down any extra credit card balance.
Over the years, my credit has fluctuated. Sometimes I felt like it was out of my control. Other times, I knew what I did and what I had to do to bump things up.
Really, what I’ve found is that the difference between good, great, and excellent credit is a series of pretty fine lines and, often, moving targets. But my conversation with Alisa Glutz, author of Color My Credit, (watch and listen below), helped me understand some of the things I was doing that were making a difference along with things I didn’t even realize were affecting my score.
Just getting started?
Before I dive in on what’s worked for me, if you’re reading this but you don’t have a credit card or credit history, make sure you first check out my video about building credit from scratch on the Think Save Retire YouTube channel.
Which credit building activities help people with good credit get excellent credit?
If you already have good or great credit (in the upper 600s or 700s), chances are you’re probably following all the common advice out there by:
- Paying your loan, debt and credit card payments on time every month
- Keeping your credit utilization under 30% (total credit and per card)
- Setting up identity protection and credit monitoring alerts for inaccurate reports
- Being strategic with your number of accounts and using good credit cards
These four steps can definitely get you excellent credit over time. And, without really trying all that hard, these are what worked for me over the years. I always made minimum and additional payments on my loans and credit balances and have rarely ever gone above 10% credit utilization. I’ve signed up for free monitoring and additional identity coverage as add on services with my other insurance measures. And finally, I am a fan of a thin, compact wallet keeping my number of cards and open lines of credit to a minimum.
I refuse to carry a wallet larger than this one.
But, number five didn’t come to me until I interviewed Alisa. There was one thing she said (at around the 55:09 mark in case you want to jump ahead) that just made too much damn sense not to share. It also may have been the most empowering tactical steps someone, like me, who loves to control their own destiny, can try out.
The Real Recipe for an 800+ Credit Score
Okay, so I won’t say there are any guarantees you’ll see your score jump to 800 overnight—I don’t think anyone is truly qualified to claim that and if they claim they are, run! But I did think this was pretty genius when I heard it:
It takes a little investigative work, but what Alisa advises everyone is to start by looking at when your credit score gets reported to bureaus.
Each credit card you have follows a monthly schedule (like the moon for my witchy finance friends out there ;-) …) and if you take a few moments to understand the timing for each of your cards you can use that timing to make that card work for you.
Really, it takes just a few minutes depending on how many accounts you have open. You can find this in any credit monitoring app or tool you use, but here’s what it looks like in Credit Karma when I looked up one of my credit cards:
(Full disclosure: I edited out the sensitive info from this image for my own privacy and security. #Boundaries)
Once you know the days of the month credit bureaus receive reports about your activity, you can follow what Alisa refers to as the “bye (or no buy) week.” If you’re familiar with sports, you’ve probably heard of a “bye week” before. It’s where a team takes a week off to rest while the other teams are still playing. (I remember learning about this the hard way the first time I played Fantasy Football and forgot to draft a backup when my first round running back’s team had their bye week.)
A credit card bye/no buy week is where you make sure you’ve paid your card balance down to no more than $20 a few days before that card’s monthly reporting date. So for the screenshot I shared above, I would probably want to pay that balance down by the 17th or 18th of each month. Then, I’d bench that card for 2-3 the days before and after that report date.
From there, you can build a rotation schedule for your cards, so you’d maybe want to have at least two or three to work with for the strategy.
And that’s it! As basic as it sounds, and as annoying as it may be to admit to your inner-high-school-self, due dates matter and can make a difference.
More unique tips from my interview with credit historian, Alisa Glutz
Alisa Glutz is the author of the book, Color My Credit, and star of the Color My Credit TikTok channel where she shares free advice and case studies about credit building and repair with 300k+ followers and counting. But these are not your typical credit boosting tips and Alisa is no ordinary finance expert...
Alisa got her start in her career in the Los Angeles comedy world. She brings a comedian’s insight and ability to connect on a deeper level to all things credit, finance, real estate, and life—no easy feat.
I call Alisa a “credit historian” because within seconds of meeting her she told me the origin story of how credit came to be something we all have to worry about. Before that, I had thought credit had existed since Mesopotamia or at least the Great Depression. And as crazy as it is, I was entertained THE ENTIRE TIME. Riveted in fact!
Trust me, you don’t want to miss out on this interview:
Key Interview Timestamps:
- 01:13 – Why even a one-year-old needs to track their credit
- 01:46 – What parents can do to help kids with money decisions and what did Melissa’s parents do right?
- 03:30 – How schools can get kids thinking about financial planning in a fun way
- 14:11 – 2008 scams to beware of in future recessions + the pros and cons of college
- 15:34 – How did Melissa end up in Oregon?
- 25:53 – The origins of the credit scoring system in the United States and why your real score may be higher or lower than Credit Karma or Mint reports
- 29:05 – Thoughts on Dave Ramsey and what happened after the crash
- 36:09 – How Alisa ended up in Hollywood, then lending, and now on TikTok
- 49:52 – Alisa’s feelings about “the cash envelope method”
- 55:09 – Recipe for an 800 Credit Score (Alisa’s “bye-no-buy week” method)