Why is my credit score not going up?

why is my credit score not going up

Your credit score may not be going up because there are several factors that can play a role in your score. And so, even if you did something positive, such as making an on-time payment, there may be another action such as using a credit card that can essentially cancel out that positive action. Knowing about how these scores work can help you on a path to improvement. 

Continue reading to learn more about the most common reasons that a credit score may be halted. 

You May Have Negative Credit History

Adverse credit history can mean a few different things; here are some of the most common examples: 

Late Payments or a Loan Default

Late payments or defaulting on a loan or credit card can hurt your credit scores. One missed payment or default may remain on your credit report for up to seven years! This means that you will have to factor in this adverse payment history when trying to improve your credit in the future.


Although bankruptcy can mean debt relief, it can also mean a much lower credit score. It will remain on your credit reports for seven or ten years (depending on the type of bankruptcy filed). Bankruptcy is on the rise for Americans. Based on data from the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, there were 418,724 bankruptcy filings in the year concluding in June 2023, and increase from the previous year.1


A foreclosure occurs when you cannot pay your mortgage, and your bank/lender takes over the property. A foreclosure on your home can have a huge negative impact on your credit score and limit your ability to get a mortgage in the future. It will impact your credit reports for seven years.

A Collection Account

An account goes into collections when your lender/creditor uses a debt collection agency/debt collector to pursue owed funds. About one in five adults between the ages 18 and 24 within the U.S. currently have debt in collections.2 There are many ways to avoid this, something as simple as working with a lender for a new payment plan or making the last missed payments, etc.

However, if you are unable to work with your creditor, your account may go into collections. Collection accounts will significantly hurt your credit score, look bad to new lenders, and be a part of your credit history for about seven years!

And so, as you can see, having any of these things on your credit report will hurt your score and may work against your ability to fix it for around a decade’s worth of time. 

Your Credit Usage Is Too High

Your credit utilization ratio is the amount of available credit compared to the amount of debt you have. When looking at the standard FICO score model, it accounts for 30% of your score—the second highest! 

Revolving credit is usually the largest contributor to a high credit utilization rate, which can really stop your score from increasing even if you are doing other things to try and improve your credit. And so, try to pay off high credit card balances and loans faster. One easy way to do this is to make more than the minimum payment each month. If you lower your credit utilization rate, you will likely see a credit score increase anywhere from a few points to another credit score tier range! 

Another thing to think about is that closing a revolving credit account after paying it off can significantly hurt your credit score. For example, let us say that you had a credit card balance of $5,000 that you paid off, and you closed the account. Although your debt went down by $5,000, you just decreased your available credit by $5,000, which will negate debt payoff or even harm your score. 

Closing credit accounts is not what many people think about when it comes to hurting their credit score. Still, this is one of those actions that will harm your credit, without you even realizing it! 

Your Hard Credit Inquiries May Be Too High

When a lender, creditor, or other third party checks your credit report, it is considered a hard credit inquiry. Hard inquiries take down your credit score a few points each time they are conducted. And so, having too many credit applications in a short time can really bring down a credit score that you may have just improved on. 

You Credit Score May Not Be Going Up Because You May Be a Victim of Identity Theft

Identity theft happens when personal information like your birth date, social security number, addresses, driver’s license number, etc., are stolen. Thieves can then use this sensitive information to borrow money, open up a bank account, access new credit, and more, all under your name. 

They can do incredible damage to your score, even if you are taking steps to try and improve it. Unfortunately, one consequence of not checking your credit reports is not catching the early signs of identity theft. The good news is that there are ways to recover your credit after identity theft to get your finances back on track. 

Your Credit Report May Have Errors or Inconsistencies

Another thing that can halt your credit score is errors or inconsistencies in your credit reports. You can get a credit report from each of the three bureaus, and you should check them at least once a year. Here are some common mistakes you should look out for: 

Common MistakeDescription
Paid-off account listed as active or inactiveAccounts that are incorrectly marked as open or closed when they should be the opposite.
On-time payments listed as delinquentTimely payments incorrectly reported as late or past due.
Debt listed multiple timesThe same debt or account appears multiple times on your credit report.
Mixed up accountsMixing up your credit information with another consumer’s, often due to similar names.
Unrelated financial institutions or companiesInclusion of financial institutions or credit card companies with which you have no accounts.

If there are any errors in your credit reports, contact the corresponding bureau/bureaus to start the process of fixing credit report errors

Your Credit Mix May Not Be Diverse Enough

Your credit mix impacts 10% of your credit score altogether. And it can really mean the difference between a good credit score and an excellent credit score. But what exactly does having a good mix mean? It means having various credit types, which can sound counterintuitive because of credit utilization. 

However, if done right, it can be helpful for your credit score. For example, if you had $100,000 debt that consists of a mortgage, personal loan options, cash advance loans, credit cards, and payday loans, that would reflect much better on your credit scores than if it was all just credit card debt

Your Credit History Is Not Old Enough

The average age of your credit will definitely impact your credit scores. Older accounts on your credit history will help lenders see that you can be responsible with credit for many years—another important reason for keeping revolving accounts open after paying them off. Just like the diversity of your credit, the age of your accounts can make your good credit score excellent if you are doing everything else right! 


What is a credit utilization ratio, and how does it relate to my credit limit?

The credit utilization ratio is the percentage of your available credit, including your credit limit, that you are currently using. It’s crucial because it accounts for 30% of your FICO score. Maintaining a low ratio relative to your credit limit indicates responsible credit use and can positively impact your score.

How long does a bankruptcy stay on my credit report, and how do credit bureaus handle it?

Depending on the type of bankruptcy filed, it can remain on your credit reports for seven to ten years. The three credit bureaus record and report this information, which can lead to a credit score drop.

What’s the difference between a hard credit inquiry by credit card issuers and a soft credit inquiry?

A hard credit inquiry occurs when a lender, creditor, or credit card issuer checks your credit report, typically when you apply for credit. This can slightly reduce your credit score. A soft inquiry, often done by credit card issuers for promotional purposes, does not affect your score.

How can identity theft affect my payment history and credit score?

Identity theft can lead to unauthorized financial activities under your name, such as opening new credit avenues or borrowing money. These unauthorized activities can negatively impact your payment history and cause a significant credit score drop.

How can I correct errors on my credit report, and which of the three major credit bureaus should I contact?

If you find any errors in your credit reports, you should contact the corresponding credit bureaus (Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax) to initiate the process of fixing those errors.

Why do credit scoring models consider a diverse credit mix beneficial for my credit score?

Credit scoring models view a diverse mix of credit as an indication that you can manage different types of credit, such as revolving credit accounts, responsibly. It impacts 10% of your credit score and can differentiate a good score from an excellent one.

Is it beneficial to keep old credit accounts open, and how often do lenders report to credit bureaus?

Yes, the average age of your accounts impacts your score. Older accounts demonstrate long-term credit responsibility. Lenders report your payment history and account status to the major credit bureaus regularly, which can influence your free credit score.

Simple Things You Can Do To Improve a Bad Credit Score Fast

Let’s say that your credit score is in rough shape, and you want to try your best to improve it quickly. With a better understanding of how your credit score is impacted from the information above, you’ll be ready to tackle repairing your credit! Here are some easy, active ways you can try and improve your credit quickly:

  • Pay bills on time.
  • Get an annual report from each credit bureau to learn more about your credit accounts and personal money habits. 
  • Get a cosigner for new loan options while you improve your credit. 
  • Pay off debt and stop unnecessary spending. 
  • Limit hard credit checks, as multiple hard credit inquiries can hurt your score
  • Get your rent, utilities, and bills reported. 
  • Look into credit counseling
  • Get a credit builder loan or secured credit card. 
  • Consider refinancing your debt. 

In Conclusion With CreditNinja

In conclusion, if you’ve been wondering why your credit score isn’t improving despite your best efforts, there may be several key factors at play. Your score is influenced by several different factors that work together in the credit score algorithm. It’s essential to be aware of these factors and how they can either help or hinder your credit.

Furthermore, identity theft can be a silent but significant threat to your credit, as unauthorized activities can harm your financial reputation. CreditNinja wants to highlight that It’s crucial to regularly monitor your reports for any signs of identity theft and take corrective actions if necessary.


  1. Bankruptcy Filings Rise 10 Percent | United States Courts
  2. ‘Young adults are particularly vulnerable to delinquencies’ — 1 in 5 have debt in collections, new report finds | CNBC

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