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24 Jan

Credit Scores – How do you score?

General

Posted by: Jenni MacDonald

All the recent mortgage changes translates into needing a strong credit score more than ever.  Most Lenders rely on the “Equifax” score.  Equifax calculates a daily “risk” score out of a maximum score of 900.  Using Creditkarma.ca, will access a TransUnion score which is not used by many lenders but is a good way to monitor activity.  Establishing a score of 700 or higher is considered an excellent score and opens the doors to the better interest rates and bank approvals.

PAYMENT HISTORY

This factor determines about a third of your score.  Even a one day late payment can negatively influence your score and shows on your bureau for 6 years.  It’s more important to pay the minimum payment on time than to pay a larger amount late.  Setting up all of your accounts on pre-authorized payments for the minimum amount will ensure that you will never have a late payment.

The MOST important advice I can give is to avoid having anything sent to COLLECTIONS.  No lender will provide a mortgage to someone with an unpaid collection.  Each one decreases your score by about 80 points.  If you are having a dispute with your cell phone or internet provider, pay the bill and then argue about it later!!!

AMOUNT OF CREDIT USED

Amount of usage is another large factor in determining your credit score.  The more of the limit you have used, the lower your score will be.  Keeping your balance under 30% of the total available amount will help your score increase.  If you are in a hurry to improve your score, consider calling your credit companies for a limit increase.  The secret to this trick: DO NOT use the increase !!

OTHER FACTORS

Your Beacon score is also calculated by AGE OF YOUR ACCOUNTS, TYPE OF CREDIT you have and  NUMBER OF ENQUIRIES on your bureau in the last 12 months.  Lenders want to see at least 2 different kinds of credit established for at least 2 years for a total limit of at least $2,500.  A combination of credit cards, loans and lines of credit are desirable.  If you make numerous calls looking for credit from different companies you will lower your score and is a red flag to lenders.  Keep in mind, if you close an account, your score could drop by almost 100 points!!

To have a closer look at your credit situation, make an appointment or apply online at jmacdonald.ca .  Start the year off strong!