The Easiest Way to Improve Credit Scores

My credit used to be really, really bad. I wasn’t responsible with credit cards & loans and didn’t really care about the impact anything would have on my credit score. I went bankrupt and still continued to incur more debt. I’ve become debt free multiple times, but I’ve finally learned my lesson. The last few years, I’ve been working hard to reduce debt and improve our finances.

My husband (otherwise known as Honey) was in the same crappy credit boat as me, except he never went bankrupt.

Now that I’m officially a real-life grown-up, I can see why it’s important to have good credit and have finally achieved it with hard work and determination. It is entirely possible to go from a credit score in the 500’s to the 700’s, if you put in the work.

Alternatively, you can also receive the same results another way. Since I’ve always been in charge of our finances, everything has been in my name (bills, credit cards, loans etc.). So my husband’s credit score was stagnant and his credit report was pretty much empty, even after mine began to flourish. So I did the easiest thing I could think of to improve his credit.

I added him onto one of my credit cards with the longest history and BAM! It worked like a charm, all of the sudden…he had credit history with no flaws. Now this can go both ways, if my credit was horrible and I added him on my credit card, it would damage his credit. This should only be done when you’re attempting to share good credit history, otherwise it’s just mean.

Why I Chose to Add Him to That Particular Card:

  • The account was the oldest one I had
  • In the last 3 years, there haven’t been any late payments at all
  • In the last 3 years, I have never gone over my credit limit or faced any penalties

If you are planning to do something similar, make sure to check your credit report first. That way, you’ll know exactly where that particular account stands. Also, don’t forget that payment history is one of the biggest factors used in determining credit scores. So it might be more beneficial to choose a card or account with 100% on-time payments even if it’s not the oldest account your have on record.

One of my goals for 2012 was to add my husband onto my accounts so that I could improve his credit. Thankfully, just adding Honey onto one of them managed to achieve that goal; so I’ll just stop there and enjoy checking it off.

With my luck, I’d add him on to a couple other accounts and his credit score would plummet. Better safe than sorry; my goal was accomplished, so for now the one account is perfectly fine. In case you’re curious, his credit score was in the low 600’s and when he checked it the other day at Credit Sesame and it was 762. Pretty awesome. :-)


What have you done to improve your credit score?

About Jen Perkins

Likes: saving money, being debt free (aside from our house), zombies, travel, getting money, blogging and dogs. Dislikes: debt, being broke, bunnies, wasting money, not having enough money to travel the world and paying interest. Facebook  ♥  Twitter  ♥  Google+  ♥  RSS


The Easiest Way to Improve Credit Scores — 24 Comments

  1. That’s quite a substantial improvement. It almost sounds too good to be true though. I’d be tempted to also check his FICO credit score since that is the one that lenders actually use. This little trick may improve his credit score on the free credit score sites, but the FICO credit score might be smart enough to see that he wasn’t on that account during the good payment habits.

    • It does sound too good to be true; I couldn’t believe it was so easy. I’d love to check his FICO score, but I don’t want to pay for it. The last time I got my FICO score, it was right on track with my free credit score, so I’m assuming it should at least be really close. I guess I won’t be 100% sure until we check though, but I’m feeling pretty good about it. :-)

  2. That is an extremely interesting way to improve your credit – I never knew that!!

    If my score doesn’t jump up pretty soon I might talk to my wife about this option. She has perfect credit and I’m still recovering from stupid decision 5 years ago. Mine is in the high-600s but I definitely should be in the 7’s by now!

    • Those stupid decisions sure like to haunt us. :-( That’s pretty awesome that your wife has perfect credit, it could definitely help your score out. :-)

  3. Wowza 762! Credit scores are silly, really. They’re not a number I care to worry about, since sometimes the things you do to “up” your credit score are the opposite of the things you should do to stay frugal, minimalized, and streamlined.

    • It is kinda silly when you have to have access and use credit to show that you don’t need it. I only worry about it because we want to buy a house one day, it can affect how much we pay for car insurance, and if something bad ever happens and we have to get some kind of loan.

  4. My husband was in the same boat and we got a joint credit card and his credit improved somewhat, not as much as your husbands did. I also got him a credit card is his name he’s been putting gas on every month. I hope that helps his score go up.

    • Yeah, it’s pretty weird how much it can improve it. Do you keep the balance really low on the joint card (and his new card)?

  5. I’m not sure this helps but even though I take care of paying our bills (he just gives me money for them), I made sure that some of them were in his name. I’m hoping that the fact that I don’t pay them late helps his credit score – he used to always pay them late just because he’d forget about them.

    You have a great solution here! When we’re married, I’d definitely want to have both our names on a credit card that I pay off so both of our credit scores can improve together.

  6. That seems crazy in some ways. I mean, it’s great for you personally, and I’m happy that you have learned your personal finance lessons, but it really makes you question the validity of the whole system!

    • I understand what you’re saying, but then we would also have to question the other weird aspect of it. Like the whole “using credit” and “having credit available to show that you don’t need to use it”, so that you can be approved for home loans and such.

      There’s so much weirdness out there, but I’m happy that if we get a home loan, we won’t be punished for past mistakes anymore. There’s definitely no going back to my previous financial-self. 😀

  7. Wow, I didn’t know that adding a spouse to a credit card would enhance the spouse’s score. I was always under the impression the opposite happened. Good to know

    • Yeah, I’d always heard about people inheriting their spouse’s bad credit too. Nice to know it can go both ways. :-)