Credit Reports & Scores
Improve Your Credit Score by 40 points, fast
Jan 17, 2023 6 min read
- Imagine your credit score rising by 40 points.
- That kind of meaningful improvement is achievable if you focus on making changes that really make an impact.
- The Score40 Quiz is a unique — and free — tool that gives you a personalized action plan that’s geared to your specific situation.
Take the Score40 Quiz to Start Improving Your Credit Score by (up to) 40 Points
It’s easy to read a blog here and a checklist there, gathering bits and pieces of advice about how to improve your credit score. But it’s harder to know exactly whether the actions you choose to take will really make a noticeable impact in a timely way — one that gives you more control and better options when it comes to accessing credit.
Where should you start and what tools can you use to focus on changes that matter? It’s always good practice to review your credit report from the three main credit bureaus first to determine where you stand. Then, with that information in hand, take advantage of the Score40 Quiz to get concrete steps to improve your credit score — plus a realistic estimate of how much your score may rise. Here’s how it works and why it can deliver meaningful results.
What is the Score40 Quiz?
The Score40 Quiz is a quick, interactive quiz that’s designed to analyze the answers you give to 10 questions about information in your credit report. By the end of the Q&A, you’ll get a free, personalized action plan that may increase your credit score by up to 40 points.
We created the Score40 Quiz to help people better understand how they can improve their credit. Designed primarily for people who currently have credit scores below 700, the quiz can also be helpful for people with scores between 700-760.
How does the Score40 Quiz work?
To give everyone actionable information they can really use, we studied a random (and anonymous) sample of one million credit reports of people who have a credit file with TransUnion and a VantageScore® 3.0 credit score. Then, we fashioned a set of easy-to-answer questions based on credit history factors that can most influence credit scores, including:
- Number of active credit accounts, which could be anything from credit card accounts and car loans to a line of credit or a personal loan.
- Number of credit cards.
- Months since the most recent 30-day or longer past-due, late-payment status.
- Total dollar amount of third-party collection accounts.
- Utilization rate of credit cards.
- Time since an account has been charged off or closed because missed payments have turned into nonpayment.
- Time since the last hard inquiry, whether it was from a credit card issuer, landlord or lender.
After that, we categorized and grouped possible answers in all kinds of different combinations to paint a picture of how credit scores change based on these overall factors.
By answering 10 questions based on these influences, our tool gets a good idea of where you currently stand. It then prioritizes the actions you can take to improve and gives you a clear sense of the impact they should have on your score.
What can you expect from taking the Score40 Quiz?
By taking the Score40 Quiz, you’ll get a personalized improvement plan — not just a paragraph of general tips that don’t take your specific situation into account. Here’s what you can expect:
- A detailed breakdown of every question you answered.
- Information about your answers to each question and why those items are important.
- Explanations and best-practice recommendations based on your responses.
- An estimate of how much your score may improve — which could be up to 40 points.
That potential 40-point increase is meaningful because it could put you in a whole new credit space. Going from a score of, say, 620 to 660 could elevate you from having some credit access with high interest rates to having most credit access with more moderate interest rates, according to our analysis of the relative cost borrowing versus credit scores.
Examples of Score40 Questions & Credit Improvement Action Plan Sample
Curious about the types of credit questions and answers that lead to your credit score action plan? Here are some examples to check out, as well as a sample action plan you can expect.
The first question in the Score40 Quiz asks for a tally of how many active credit accounts you currently have. And if you’re ever not sure exactly how to answer a question or want more clarification on what it’s asking for, look to the right and click on the tip. It’s always available to describe things in more detail so that you’ll know your answer is the most accurate it can be. Here’s a sample answer from the quiz:
Scenario #1: Say you have four current credit accounts — a credit card, two retail cards and an auto loan. Here’s what your screen would look like by choosing the last answer (3 or more) and clicking the tip:
Question 8 asks you to identify when you last had a hard inquiry on your credit report. A hard inquiry is a record of when your credit report was pulled for a lender based on an application for credit. For example, maybe you authorized credit inquiries because you were applying to rent a larger apartment. Or perhaps you applied for a new credit card with a cash-back feature earlier this year. Both scenarios would result in a hard inquiry. Here are the timelines you can choose from for an answer:
Scroll down and your results page will also provide a quiz breakdown so that you can understand the details behind each question you answered, plus personalized recommendations to improve that factor contributing to your credit score.
For example, Question 6 asks “What is the utilization rate for your revolving accounts?” Let’s say your answer was 50-69%. Your results page will suggest these tips:
- Lowering your credit utilization rate by even 5% may give your credit score a boost.
- A best practice is to work on reducing the account with the highest utilization rate first, as this may benefit you the most.
In addition, the analysis will include a chart, like the one below, that will show you how the level of credit utilization corresponds to having prime credit.
Get Started Now!
Building a credit score that works for you is an important goal to reach and a meaningful achievement to maintain. The Score40 Quiz can help you take a strategic step toward better financial health — and more affordable and available credit. Get a custom-made plan that can send your credit in a better direction by taking the quiz today.
About the author
Nathan Foley questions everything — and thinks you should too. As Elevate’s resident mathematician, he pores over datasets to find the truth amid the fluff and translates insights into ideas for improving personal financial resilience.