How do you get your credit score up?
The most common mistake we see on credit reports with low scores is a low number of active accounts, sometimes even none. This is easy to solve.
Increase your credit score: Increase the number of good accounts
Most people will only work on fighting / removing derogatory information and they forget to build positive credit.
If all you have on your credit report is one account, and that account is negative, 100% of your credit is negative. On the other hand, if you had 4 other accounts, 20% of your credit would be negative instead of 100%. Get a new credit card (secured credit card if you have bad credit), become an authorized user, or both.
Increase your credit score: Become an Authorized User
One of the easiest ways to get positive credit instantaneously is to become an authorized user in someone else’s account that has a low balance, high credit limit on a credit card that has been opened for a long time. You will instantly inherit all their good (and bad) payment history. The results of this one little tool have been nothing short of remarkable.
It is important to know that the owner of the account will not lose any points on their score, or under most circumstances have any consequences to adding you as an authorized user providing you do not get a hold of that credit card.
If you don’t have a family member or friend that can help you out, there are companies that provide you with the service for a fee. Do a Google search for “authorized user tradelines” and see the results. The usual cost is around $500.00 to $600.00 per tradeline.
Increase your credit score: Get a new credit card
Another way is to Google “best-secured credit cards” and take your pick. Get two, don’t use one at all and do not spend more than $10.00 on the second card. Pay the entire bill every month. You can alternate the $10.00 spending every month in between the cards.
increase your credit score: Opt-out of credit offers.
Opting out of unsolicited credit offers via mail, phone calls, and email will rapidly increase your credit score, sometimes even 15 – 20 points. Of course, there is no guarantee on the increase, but certainly worth trying. Visit the FTC website and follow the prompts.
Increase your credit score: Reduce your balances or increase your limit, so you utilize no more than 30% of the high credit
This category considers both your installment loans (e.g. a mortgage or car loan) and your revolving accounts (e.g. credit cards, lines of credit). However, your revolving balances typically cause this category to fluctuate (positively and negatively) more than your installment accounts.
It is how much you owe compared to the credit card’s limit. If you have a $5,000.00 limit card and you owe $2,500, your utilization ratio is 50%. Add up all your limits on all your balances and divide your total balance by your total limit, and that’s your overall debt-to-limit ratio. The lower the overall ratio, the better the score.
• If you can’t pay down the debt, ask for higher credit limits from your credit card companies. Higher limits equal better debt-to-credit-limit ratios.
• Become an authorized user in someone else’s account positive credit card account (with their permission). This will allow the additional available credit to appear on your report and lower your overall utilization ratio–which could lead to score improvement.
• Pay down any cards that are over-the-limit until they are within the limit. This should help you avoid additional over-the-limit fees too.
• Pay down your balances so that no debt’s “utilization ratio” is higher than 30% – ever.
Once below 30%, start paying cards completely off one at a time. Don’t close them once they’re paid – ever.
• If financially possible, pay off your credit card balances to zero monthly. Alternatively, to less than 20%.
Remove Derogatory Accounts: If your debt is older than seven years.
If you have bad credit whereas the first payment default (and the last payment you made) is older than 7 years, the Fair Credit Reporting Act says it must be removed from your report – by law. I personally researched the statutes (I am not a lawyer nor a credit restoration agency) and I created this letter to write to the bureaus to clean up my own credit report:
CREDIT BUREAU NAME
CREDIT BUREAU PO BOX
CREDIT BUREAU CITY, STATE AND ZIP
YOUR CITY, STATE AND ZIP
YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER
Dear CREDIT BUREAU NAME,
Pursuant to the Fair Credit Reporting Act [15 USC 1681] Section 605 (a) (4) ; 605 (c) (1) and 605 (c) (2), the requirements relating to information excluded from consumer reports must be followed by the credit reporting agencies. In my report, there are a number of delinquencies that are still reporting which antedate the report by more than seven years, as evidenced by the creditor self-reported date of first delinquency. It is your obligation to delete the negative items, as follows:
NAME OF CREDITOR – account number. DATE was the last activity on the account, making this account older than seven years. Please remove.
Do this for each account that is older than seven years. Be aware that while you dispute items, you will not be able to secure a mortgage as all disputes must be closed before we pull your credit.
For Experian, the address is P.O.Box 2002 Allen, TX 75013
For Equifax, the address is P.O. Box 740241 Atlanta, GA 30374
For Transunion, the address is P.O. Box 1000 Chester, PA 19022
Get a copy of your credit report, see what is bad, get the address from the bureaus, and mail them a letter.
Remove Derogatory Accounts: Collections
This paragraph works really well with medical collections from hospitals or any collection where you have not signed anything. In the same letter format as outlined above, add to the above letter the collection account information with the following:
NAME OF COLLECTION AGENCY account number. This collection is not valid. Please provide documentation with my signature indicating that I have contracted or agreed for this company to perform any services for me.
On the other hand, if you have a small collection from a service provider (like a cell phone or cable bill), you can call them and apologizing profusely say that you were not aware that you owed them money, and to please delete the collection from your credit report upon you making a full payment for your “had no idea” debt. The key word is deletion from your score. If this collection is within the last 12 months, it will increase your score significantly (after the deletion). Within 4 years it will increase it as well.
You can shop for a mortgage and it will not hurt your credit
You have 45 days to do so, and it will only affect your score once. See more information coming directly from the CFPB: https://www.consumerfinance.gov/ask-cfpb/what-exactly-happens-when-a-mortgage-lender-checks-my-credit-en-2005/