5. Go online to dispute an item on your credit report. Some experts advise consumers to dispute a possible credit report error by registered mail, and to include evidence. But, let's face it, many never get around to making copies, hunting down a stamp and heading to the post office. All three major credit bureaus offer the option of filing a dispute online -- and it can be faster and easier, experts say. (Do you know your credit rating? Get an estimate with MSN Money's calculator.)

"The first thing to do is pull a copy of your credit report from all three bureaus. You can do it free once a year at AnnualCreditReport.com," says O'Neal. "Look at each one and see if there's anything you don't recognize. If you have any questions about information on your reports, you can file a dispute online. You can track it online, too, so it's a lot quicker."

6. Just say no to too many inquiries. When you're buying those cool new sunglasses and the cashier asks if you'd like to get a 10% discount by signing up for a store credit card, just say no. "Whenever you take new credit, you get a ding on your credit score, so don't apply for new credit cards all the time," Epstein says. In fact, she recommends applying for new credit, at most, twice a year.

7. Get a late payment removed from your credit report. In the "it-can't-hurt-to-ask" category, it sometimes pays to call a creditor and ask to have a late payment removed from your credit report. "I always say, 'Just ask,'" says Borkowski, who recommends asking for the hardship department whenever you call a credit card company to make such a request.

"A lot of times, general customer service might say they can't help you, but the hardship department -- or its equivalent -- might," Borkowski says. "They make a lot of money from the person who misses a payment every now and then but carries a big balance. They like to keep those customers."

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8. Play what-if with your credit score. Each consumer's credit history is different, so Epstein recommends spending a few minutes at the consumer website Credit Karma. The site offers a peek at your credit score -- though it's not the widely used FICO score -- and offers a simulator that allows you to see how different actions you could take would likely affect your score.

"I use it all the time. I see whether my score is going up or down," Epstein says. "You can also go in a week after you've done something you think might have impacted the score, and you can see the change."

It is often repeated that, when it comes to credit scores, there are no quick fixes. However, if you follow these tips, you could see a big improvement in your credit score -- with just a small investment of time.

This article was reported by Allie Johnson for CreditCards.com.