Practical Tips for Improving Your FICO Scores

many people don’t know is that recently the credit bureau changed how they handle credit inquiries and so now when you shop for a mortgage, even if multiple lenders review your credit they will all see the same scores and information so long as the last credit inquiry is within 14 days of the first.

TIPS FOR IMPROVING YOUR CREDIT SCORE

In addition to the logical things that affect your credit score, like late payments, collection accounts, and number of accounts open, number of inquiries, etc., there are 3 areas that DO affect your score. The bureaus will tell you this does not; however, when I removed this information from my report, my score improved about 25 points. Another reason, you do not want this on your report is for your security & privacy protection.

Your Address.

Tell the bureaus that you do not want this information to be listed on your report or that is not accurate and to remove all address information. Trans Union is cool about removing this. Experian will give you some flack but if pressed they will remove most addresses. Equifax, you will have to write a letter and may have to send several times to get them off your record. I removed a total of 21 years worth of addresses from my credit record! It was in fact a walk down memory lane for me.

Your Employment History.

For privacy reasons remove all employment information, both current and previous. Tell the bureaus that you do not want this information to be listed o your report or that is not accurate and to remove all employment information.

Alias Names.

Finally and most important, your AKA (Also known as) Names. Make sure that you only apply for credit using one version of your name, and that only one version of your name is listed on your credit report. For example, you could have your name listed as follows:

John Smith
John D. Smith
John Doe Smith
Jonathon Smith
Jonathon D. Smith
Jonathon Doe Smith

Typo’s

When exploring these 3 items on your report, you may notice that the credit grantors may have mistyped, or misspelled your address name or employer, creating additional listings on these fields. Remember a computer creates your score, and just looks to count how many entries there are for these items.

Resistance From Credit Bureau Associates

You may get some resistance from the bureaus when requesting these items to be removed. You must be firm and adamant that for security and privacy reasons, you do not want this information published on your credit report. You may have to speak with a supervisor.

“Street” Tips & Aggressive Tricks

#1) When you are added as an authorized signer on another person credit account, their credit history will sometimes show up on your report in as few as 3-5 days. Make sure to get added to an account that has excellent payment history for a long period of time, and most of the credit is available (not maxed out). You can get as many of these types of accounts added to your report. If you have 2 bad accounts, you might want to get 4 to offset & overcome the negative histories.

#2) If you have some collection items to pay off, negotiate with the collection company & see if they will give you a letter that says the account will be deleted instead of satisfied. Remember, the collection agents mostly work on commission and might be able to cut you a deal. A collection agent is not supposed to be able to offer this, so you may have to hang up and try to talk to a different person on a different day to get this deletion. You might want to offer a little more than what is required. The deletion is well worth its weight in credit score compared to a paid or satisfied collection item. Make sure you get this in writing (fax or mail only, email does not count)

#3) call your old closed accounts and see if you can get late payments removed. It is worth a few phone calls. Remember hang up and call back until you get a person that can help you get what you need.

When You Shop For Your Mortgage Your Credit Score Can Drop

Pick one bureau that you like working with and purchase a credit report with all 3 bureaus & scores listed. Currently I like ordering the 3 in 1 credit report thru truecredit.com. When shopping for a mortgage with several mortgage companies, each time your credit is pulled, your score can drop as much as 2 or 3 points. These inquiries stay on your report for two years. Before making a decision on which lender you will use, do not let anyone pull your credit report. But what many people don’t know is that recently the credit bureau changed how they handle credit inquiries and so now when you shop for a mortgage, even if multiple lenders review your credit they will all see the same scores and information so long as the last credit inquiry is within 14 days of the first. This was done to make sure that the consumer could fairly shop different mortgage lenders understanding that banks and mortgage companies need to review your credit before making an offer to lend.

Consumer Statement on Your Credit Report

Before granting any credit, please call “your best phone number” to confirm and validate my authorization. This little sentence can help prevent identity theft. Usually you will have to request this kind of statement to be added in writing, but it is well worth the trouble.

Credit Monitoring Service

Whenever something good, bad or different happens to your report, you will be notified by email with a credit monitoring service. All three bureaus offer this service & I have enrolled in all of them. This is another tool to help prevent identity theft and help you keep up to speed with what is on your report.

National Credit Repository Consumer Assistance Directory
CSC Credit Services / Disclosures
P O Box 619054 Dallas, TX 75261-9054
(800) 759-5979
http://www.csccredit.com/

Experian / Attention: Consumer Assistance
P.O. Box 2104 Allen TX 75013
(888) 397-3742
http://www.experian.com/

TransUnion / Attention: Consumer Assistance
P.O. Box 2000 Chester, PA 19022
(800) 916-8800
http://www.transunion.com/

Fair Isaac Credit Score Hotline
(800) 777-2066
e-mail CBHelp@fairisaac.com

This article was written by ricardocobos

Since relocating from Northern Michigan in 2007 I have lived in Garner (27529) with my wife Melanie and our four children. I am a local market expert in southern Wake County in the following communities: Garner (27529), Fuquay-Varina (27526), Holly-Springs (27540), Apex (27502), and Raleigh (27603) which spans from downtown Raleigh to Willow Spring including Lake Wheeler.
Call or email me, I’m here to help!

Ricardo Cobos (919) 526-0183

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