(Courtesy of Alison Lopes, Dominion Lending)
Planning ahead to ensure your credit is healthy before applying for a mortgage can translate into a better mortgage rate and product – which can save you significant money throughout the term of your mortgage.
Following are five steps you can use to help attain a speedy credit score boost:
1) Pay down credit cards. The number one way to increase your credit score is to pay down your credit cards. Revolving credit like credit cards seems to have a more significant impact on credit scores than car loans, lines of credit, and so on.
2) Limit the use of credit cards. Racking up a large amount and then paying it off in monthly instalments can hurt your credit score. If there is a balance at the end of the month, this affects your score – credit formulas don’t take into account the fact that you may have paid the balance off the next month.
3) Check credit limits. If your lender is slower at reporting monthly transactions, this can have a significant impact on how other lenders may view your file. Ensure everything’s up to date as old bills that have been paid can come back to haunt you. Your best bet is to pay your balances down or off before your statement periods close.
4) Keep old cards. Older credit is better credit. If you stop using older credit cards, the issuers may stop updating your accounts. As such, the cards can lose their weight in the credit formula and, therefore, may not be as valuable – even though you have had the cards for a long time. You should use these cards periodically and then pay them off.
5) Don’t let mistakes build up. You should always dispute any mistakes or situations that may harm your score. If, for instance, a cell phone bill is incorrect and the company will not amend it, you can dispute this by making the credit bureau aware of the situation.