Credit Building category


Avoid these mistakes and keep your credit score high

September 8, 2016 | Posted by Blair Warner | No Comments

good credit scores
Building a great credit score takes time, but, unfortunately you can destroy your score in what seems like overnight. One simple mistake can cost you up to 90 points. According to FICO, if your credit score drops from 770 to 675, the interest rate you could expect to pay on a mortgage would cost you an extra $24,722 on a 30-year $200,000 mortgage, due to an interest rate increase from of only a 1/2 point (0.50%).

Here are three of the biggest mistakes to avoid if you want to keep your score high— and your interest rates down:

1. Most importantly, make sure you pay every bill on time each month. Missing only one payment can cost you dearly. Missing a payment is defined as being 30-days late, or, said another way, missing a payment and not making it until the next month when you make two at once, called “catching up”. If you have excellent credit and become 30 days or more late on one account, you can expect to lose 90 or more points. For some people, the easiest way to avoid a mistake is to set up auto-pay with all of your creditors.

Most people are not surprised that a late payment can hurt their credit score, but they are often shocked by how many points you can lose for a single late payment.


Follow Upgrade My Credit on Twitter Tweet this: If you become 30 days or more late on ONE account, you can expect to lose up to 90 pts on your credit score.

2. Second, watch those medical bills closely. Unpaid medical bills are often quickly referred to collection agency and become a collection item on your credit report. Although many of these bills end up with agencies because of confusion during the billing process, the collection item reported to the credit bureau looks like a default. Take control, and aggressively follow up with your medical providers and insurance company. It is a good practice that if you think you owe the doctor or hospital money, do not wait for them to initiate calling you.

A collection item like this can take 70 points or more from your score. The balance does not have to be big. Even if the balance is relatively small it has essentially the same effect as a large balance.


Follow Upgrade My Credit on Twitter Tweet this: Unpaid medical bills are often quickly referred to a collection agency and become a collection item on your credit report.

3. Third, pay close attention to your utilization ratio. You may not be familiar with this technical term used throughout the lending and credit industries. To calculate utilization, divide the statement balance on your credit cards by your total available credit. For example, if you have a $1,000 balance on a $10,000 credit card, your utilization is 10%. People with the highest credit scores have a utilization across all of their accounts below 10%. It is recommended to be below 30% utilization ratio at minimum. Higher than that you begin to reap the biggest damage to your credit score. Have you heard of “maxing out your credit cards”? That is basically 100% utilization ratio. If you have only one credit card and use the full limit every month, your 100% utilization ratio could be costing you 90 points.

Pay down your balances and keep old credit cards open to ensure your utilization stays low. It is worth repeating: Keep your revolving (credit card, etc.) utilization ratio lower than 30%, and preferably 10%.


Follow Upgrade My Credit on Twitter Tweet this: Pay close attention to your utilization ratio on your credit report. Go here to learn how to avoid a high ratio.

Hope this has helped. Here are some more articles you might be interested in:

By Blair Warner, Sr. Credit Consultant, Chief Editor

3 Simple, Yet Important Credit Tips

April 2, 2015 | Posted by Blair Warner | No Comments

You Need to Know these 3 Tips for Managing or Repairing Your Credit

3 Credit Tipsby Darren Robinson, Guest Contributor

Want to buy a house? Don’t miss these 3 valuable tips anyone can do for building great credit in order to qualify for the best mortgage rates!

When it comes to securing financing for a new house or an existing property, getting a great mortgage rate is at the top of all of our lists. This is probably because even a small difference in your mortgage rate can make a BIG difference to the total interest you’ll pay over the lifetime of your mortgage and overall amortization.

The truth is that getting a great mortgage rate often comes down to having great credit.

But did you know that having no credit can be just as damaging as having bad credit?

Did you know that credit reporting agencies don’t verify the information that is given to them? Or did you know that your credit can affect more than just your ability to qualify for loans? In fact, it can affect many of your everyday purchases, from cell phones to insurance to public utilities!

So if you’re looking for tips to improve or repair your credit, read on for valuable advice and recommendations to manage your credit and improve your financial situation you can start today!

First, always make at least your minimum payment on time on every loan, credit card or other debt you owe.

You may think that you can miss a month and then pay extra the following month—but that’s not how the credit card companies operate (or calculate interest). Instead, your required payment will be considered late or delinquent. Most companies will report even one missed payment to the credit reporting agencies – and this can damage your credit score. So make at least the minimum payment on every loan, no matter what, to keep your credit healthy and in good standing with any debtors you have, as well as have the best chance of a high FICO credit score.

Related Article: How Are FICO Scores Determined

Second, set up pre-authorized payments so your bills are paid automatically.

As I mentioned above, missing even one payment can affect your credit. Debtors don’t care if you intentionally or accidentally forgot to make a payment. They only care if you make your payments on time, every time.

Maybe you simply forgot to pay a bill because all of your bills are due on different days and you don’t have an organized system to keep track of them. In that case, setting up pre-authorized payments can be a lifesaver.

If you prefer not to use preauthorized payments, setting a reminder on your cell phone or computer can be another great way to make sure your bills are always paid on time. Paying your bills becomes effortless so you never miss a due date. You’ll also save money by avoiding unnecessary interest charges.

Lastly, request a copy of your credit report at least once a year and review it thoroughly.

In Canada, you can contact one of two credit bureaus (Equifax or TransUnion) directly to request a free copy of your credit report. In the U.S. you can go to http://annualcreditreport.com to get all 3 credit reports from Equifax, Transunion and Experian.  Verify the accuracy of ALL information, including your personal information, loans, credit cards, etc.

Take note: Credit bureaus don’t verify the information they get from your creditors so it’s up to you to make sure all the information is accurate! Otherwise, you could get a nasty surprise since inaccurate information or information about a loan you don’t recognize could signal that someone may have opened an account in your name, or even possible identify theft.

Address any inaccurate information as soon as possible so that you can be on your way to improving your credit.

For more tips on managing and repairing your credit you are in the right place. Upgrade My Credit is here to help. To get straight forward advice and tips so you can qualify for the best Barrie mortgage rates, visit my website or give me a call.

By Darren Robinson, Mortgage Broker

Darren Robinson is a Barrie mortgage broker, dedicated to offering the best mortgage strategies. He helps people qualify for difficult mortgages and loans. Visit his blog for home buying tips and mortgage renewal tips or call him at 705.737.6161!


Build Credit With a CD-Secured Loan

December 7, 2014 | Posted by Blair Warner | No Comments

You have to have credit to get credit

No matter how much you may not like debt, even if all you ever want to do is buy a house someday, or a new car with credit, you have to already have credit to get the new credit. I am asked all the time “what is the best way to build credit?”. The best way is to have at least a couple of open credit cards with at least a 12-month history. If you don’t have any credit, or your scores are too low you can get a secured credit card. However, an often overlooked very effective method of building credit is by getting a CD-secured loan. The best part of this method is you don’t actually go into debt to do it. CD Loans from Banks What is a CD?

I suggest going to your bank where you have an account with a financial banking history, first. If you prefer to go somewhere different, then credit unions are usually the most CD-loan friendly. When my 18-year old daughter wanted to start building credit she went to our local Educational Employees Credit Union (no affiliation), opened a checking account, then proceeded to get a CD-secured loan. Search the internet for credit unions in your area, or ask around for for the best options. In order to save time, pick up the phone and call, asking if they offer CD-secured loans, and what their requirements are.

Here is how it works:

1. Find out the minimum amount required for opening a CD. Every place is different. For the purposes of building credit it doesn’t matter how big the CD or loan is, just that you make your payments on time. In my daughter’s case she only needed $500 to open a CD, actually opened two of them.

2. After the CD is set and the certificate in your hands, walk directly over to the loan department and tell the loan officer you want to open up a CD-secured loan. She will know what you are talking about. Borrow the same amount of the CD, dollar for dollar. The CD secures (backs) the loan in the case of default and since it is almost like cash and at the same bank as the loan, easy to liquidate in the case of default – which you are not going to let happen, right?

3. Take the loan proceeds and put it in an account at the same bank with auto draft set up for making the loan payments. Again, the loan officer and any banker will know how to set that up for you. It is a common procedure. At the end of the loan term your loan is paid off, and you still have the money in the CD earning interest. Granted, these days, CD rates are not very attractive, but remember, the purpose is to build credit.

Tip: You can ask the loan officer to amortize the loan for 3 years with a balloon note (when the loan note is due) for 12 or 18 months in order to lower your payments if necessary. Keep in mind, though, that this means the loan will still have a balance at the end of the loan term. (Definition of amortization)

The key to this method of building credit is that you don’t go into more debt, per se. You are using your own money to build credit. Also, the interest rate is only 2% above the CD rate. For example, if you are earning 1% on your CD, you only pay 3% on your loan.

Note: This type of loan is an installment loan. Go here for a definition of an installment loan. There are only three types of loans: installment, revolving and mortgage. FICO likes to see all three on your credit report for a good mix of credit.

There you go. If you need to build better credit, new credit, or even recover from a bankruptcy, a CD loan is one of the best ways to add credit history showing you can pay back an installment type loan. Good luck!

By Blair Warner, Sr. Credit Consultant

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