The Complete Guide To Boosting Your Credit Score 57 Points (or more)
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Are you looking to fix your credit? You've come to the right place!
As a mortgage loan officer, I get a lot of credit related questions, so in this post, I'm going to give you a roadmap to get your credit fixed so you can get approved for a mortgage, credit card or whatever else you need.
Note: Just because I'm giving these tips doesn't mean I'm against credit repair. As a matter of fact, I often DO refer people out to a credit repair company. If this is something that you need, I recommend My Credit Guy.
What Credit Score Do You Need To Get Approved?
Before I show you how to boost your score, let's look at what score is needed for a mortgage approval.
Here are our minimum scores that we use at PRMG. Unlike most of our competitors, we do almost all of our mortgage loans at federal minimums.
FHA: 580 for 3.5% down or 550 for 10% down
Other Things To Keep In Mind
Just because you have a score listed above that does NOT guarantee approval. That's just the first thing we look at before factoring debt ratio, work history, mortgage history, bankruptcies, foreclosures and savings.
Also, keep in mind that there are 3 different credit agencies: Trans Union, Equifax and Experian. Most mortgage lenders, including us, use the middle score when deciding on mortgage loan approval.
The Credit Karma Score Is Meaningless
Many people mistakently belive that the score that they see on Credit Karma is the final word. That's not true at all.
This is because there are multiple credit scores depending on what type of credit you are applying for. Credit Karma uses the Vantage 3.0 score, which is different from a mortgage FICO score.
Here's a video from MyCreditGuy.com with more info about this.
Inquiries Are Meaningless
Credit inquiries are not nearly as important as you may think that they are. This is one of those misconceptions that has gotten out there about how credit scoring actually works.
Here's a video with more info about this.
Here's What The Credit Bureaus Are Actually Looking At
Your credit score is based on multiple factors. The following videos explain what these factors are and how they work.
How To Actually Fix The Credit
Now that you understand the factors, let's look at how to fix it.
Before you can fix your credit, you need to understand what factors are driving down your score and the effects of various actions that you can take to fix it.
Sadly, most of the publicly available tools out there don't do a very good job of telling you how to boost your credit score.
Luckily, in the mortgage business, we have access to the Credit Xpert Score Simulator report and can easily show you what's dragging down the score.
Unfortunately, due to privacy concerns, I can't share the report with you, but here's an actual screenshot of the current score and the projected score once everything is done.
In this particular case, there's a lot that needs to be done which is why it will take up to 4 months. In many cases, credit can be fixed much more quickly.
This report is not available to the general public, but I can run this for you FREE OF CHARGE when you inquire about applying for a mortgage with me.
Reach out to me at email@example.com to get a report for yourself.
Protest Your Bad Debts
When trying to fix your credit, it's very important to get the collection accounts removed from your credit report. Some will get removed and some won't, but every little bit helps.
There are several dispute letter templates that you can find online, but this is the one that we have found works best.
RE: (insert card name and number)
To Whom It May Concern:
The above referenced account is not mine, nor have I ever had an account with them nor been late with them.
Please remove from my bureau and send me an updated copy of my credit report.
Your Social Security Number
You need to mail this out to the credit bureau that reported the account as being late.
The addresses are:
P.O. Box 2002
Allen, TX 75013
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19016
Equifax Information Svc. LLC
P.O. Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374
Be sure to sign the letters and use blue ink and mail each letter in a separate envelope.
Should You Pay Off The Collections?
You may be wondering if you need to pay off the collections that are currently being reported on your credit report.
In some cases, paying off the collection account can boost your score, sometimes it won't. That's one of those things that I can find out when you request your Score Simulator report from me.
Here's a video with details about this.
Get More Credit.....But Don't Use It
One of the best ways to boost your credit score is by getting new credit cards.
Here's the key though....use them VERY sparingly.
Like get a pack of gum every month and that's it!
You do want SOME activity so it will report, but don't build up the balance.
If your credit is really bad, you may need to start with a secured credit card. Secured credit cards require a deposit and because of this, are very low risk cards for the card issuer.
If you are able to get some credit cards, another great option is a store card like Target or Wal Mart or a gas station credit card. These cards have easier credit requirements than a traditional credit card.
Be An Authorized User
Another great technique to boost your credit score is to become an authorized user. This is done by getting someone who trusts you, typically a family member, to add you to their account.
When you call into customer service to get added, make sure you give your social security number to the representative and request that the account history be reported to the credit bureaus.
Make sure you get added to an account that has a good credit history, is paid on time and has a low balance relative to its credit limit.
Pay Down Your Balances
If you have credit cards that are at or near the credit limit, be sure to pay those down. These are killing your credit score. Ideally, you want the balance to be less than 30% of your credit limit.
Consolidate Your Debt To An Installment Loan
If needed, look into getting a debt consolidation loan, sometimes called a personal loan. This can help boost your score because installment debt is looked at way more favorably on a credit report than a maxed out credit card.
Here are some personal loan companies that can work with bad credit. Be sure to review all terms and fees before signing up since some of them have very high interest rates.
Credit Builder Loan
You may also want to look at getting a credit builder loan. These loans are short term savings accounts that act report to the credit bureaus like a loan.
You make a payment every month and at the end of the term, typically about 6 months, you get your money back.
These types of loans are typically done through smaller banks. I know Mainsource Bank had them for a while, but they were recently bought out by First Financial so it may not be available any more. Self Lender is a good online option for this as well.
Get Your Rent Reported
A great way to boost your credit if you are renting is to get the rent payment to report on your credit report. Rental Kharma is a company that can help you do this. It's only $8 a month and well worth it!
If you need to improve your credit, it can be done much more quickly than you realize. If you need any help, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.