What are the best methods to increase Your Credit Scores?
There are several viable methods which will work if you don't have enough accounts showing on your credit report, and you therefore have low scores or no scores; or if you have some derogatory credit on your report and you need more good credit to help offset that.
And PLEASE NOTE that - all these methods take time, which could range from 10 days to 90+ days, with the exception of the 'Quick Rescore' technique explained below; AND it's important to also keep in mind that any of these methods can TEMPORARILY lower your scores (such as, when you open any new credit such as the 'Installment Loan' option below, your scores may go down a bit until there are two or three payments posted on your credit for that new account or any new account.) The methods are:
First, you can ASK any of your credit card companies to increase your credit limit; as a credit limit increase will always lower your "credit utilization" rate. AND of course, paying down your balance on all your credit cards will increase your scores by a decent amount; and the magic number is to get your balance(s) below 30% of your credit limit(s). Ideally, do both of these immediately!
It is also possible that paying off any Collection accounts you may have, in full or by a negotiated partial amount, can actually increase your scores, despite all the internet commentators who say to never pay off a collection. HOWEVER, do NOT do this until Andrew has run the 'WHAT-IF' simulator, to see what the likely result would be. IE, it depends on several variables, including whether the Collection as reported is recent, etc.
Next, to add additional accounts - one of the best 'secured credit cards' is Capital One. They will set you up with a new credit card that will have a credit limit equal to the $$$ amount that you deposit with them, which will be held to guarantee the credit card monthly payments - and that's why it's called a Secured Credit card. Please note that, it is essential that you make the monthly payments on time, as otherwise your credit scores will go down rather than up! (The security deposit will be held until you have established a good payment history with them, and then they will return it. They will also increase your credit line later as you demonstrate a good payment history.)
There are two companies that will verify your rent payments going back 24 months, and report that to both Equifax and Transunion. Check them out and pick which one you like - it does sound like the 'Accelerator' is a bit faster, as they say their whole process can be done in less than 14 days:
This is the sign up page for Rent Accelerator:
This is the sign up page for "Rental Verification":
And this is their Home page:
Utility Bills - Experian has a program to add your utility bill payments to your Experian Credit Profile; and this can be used for any account that you pay every month. That link is: https://www.experian.com/consumer-products/score-boost.html
A method that is a bit more "heavy duty" is to add a Secured Installment Loan to your credit report. This plan is offered by Austin Capital Bank in Austin, TX. This is basically a 'forced savings' plan where they will set you up with an installment loan in the amount you choose, ranging from $1,000 to $10,000; and then you will make monthly payments which will be reported to all three bureaus as on-time payments on an installment loan. This option does cost you money, as they are charging about 5% annual interest on whatever loan amount you select, so definitely READ all about their programs and the rules, before you proceed with this option. Their web site is:
Another technique that can increase your scores by a large amount very quickly, is to have yourself added as an "Authorized User" onto someone else's credit card account. (PLEASE DISCUSS this with Andrew before doing so, as there are several ways to do this.) And certainly, you would only consider doing this with someone you know extremely well or your immediate family - as they will be trusting you to not make any charges on their credit card account and you will be trusting them to continue to make on time payments on that account. This is a bit of a controversial technique, and at various times the credit bureaus have tried to shut down this option; and if you pursue this, you (the credit card holder) will first need to verify with that credit card company, that the monthly reporting will also be made on your SS number in addition to their monthly credit reporting for the primary account holder. Here are two articles with some of the Pros and Cons:
And last but definitely not least - there is a method called a "Quick Rescore," which is a very quick update to any item on your credit report, that is ordered by Andrew Taft from Advantage Credit, which is a dedicated mortgage credit report vendor, that serves as a liaison between Loan Officers and the big three credit bureaus. A simple example would be that your credit card is maxed out, which will always pull down your scores, so you make a payment and then rather than waiting up to 45 days for that to appear on your credit report - you send Andrew a copy showing the payment you made, which will then be updated to your credit report using the Quick Rescore method, in just a few days.
A Quick Rescore can be used to update almost anything that is on your credit report - assuming you can provide either documentation showing what the correct reporting should be, or you get a letter/email/fax from the creditor, detailing what the updated information should be. And please note that - any of your creditors IS ALLOWED to excuse any negative credit they are reporting on you, such as late payments; and often they will if you ASK. This can be an extremely powerful technique, and Quick Rescores have been used to accomplish 100++ point increases in credit scores in a matter of days, many times! Discuss this with Andrew!
IN ADDITION to the above methods, you can definitely file disputes yourself with the credit bureaus; and you can also hire a firm to do that on your behalf. However, PLEASE discuss with Andrew before you begin any communication with the credit bureaus, whether directly or through a firm working on your behalf, as it's also true that a lender will NOT approve your mortgage application if there are 'consumer disputes' showing on your credit report!
PLUS.... there is yet another method that can make a huge difference when you are trying to get qualified for a mortgage to buy your Ideal Home, and that is - use this occasion to ask your employer for a pay raise! Discuss this with Andrew first - ie, over the years, Andrew has done mortgages for hundreds of clients, and he can give a pretty good assessment as to whether you may be a bit underpaid right now at your present job! Think of it this way - you may be struggling with the difference of a relatively small amount like $100 or $200 a month in the mortgage payment, and therefore you give up on your Ideal Home because the mortgage payment on it might be that much higher per month beyond what you wanted to achieve; and yet it may be the case that your employer would easily give you a $3000 per year raise, if you just asked! And definitely, the opportunity for you to capture your dream home and be comfortable with the monthly payment, is just about the best occasion to take up the compensation/salary/pay raise subject with your employer.
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