Maximize Your Credit Score

These days, many things are affected by your credit score, including mortgage rates, car and property insurance, auto loans, bank account charges, and even utility expenses or deposits required.

The three major credit repositories are TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian.  Most mortgage lenders use the FICO (Fair Isaac Corporation) versions for your mortgage score so typically your credit score at that is available is the same one your mortgage lender or broker will see.  Equifax Beacon 5.0, Experian/Fair Isaac Risk Model v2, and TransUnion FICO risk score 04.  You can access all of your data for free once a year at Then, it will link you with your TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian scores.  You will have up to 30 days to review this report and update any of the information, as well as dispute incorrect data through their system.  Keep in mind that many mortgage lenders won’t lend to customers with open disputes. If you are in the process of doing a home purchase or a refinance, talk to your lender or loan officer before initiating a new dispute.  They can walk you through the process regarding what is needed for your situation, or whether you need to pursue current or past disputes. 

Disputes can also be handled directly through most lenders.  At Skyridge Lending, LLC, we have the ability to update incorrect items through a process known as a rapid rescore.  This can be done through each of the credit repositories directly, but usually takes up to thirty days to update.  The rapid rescore process averages about seven days and can be done in as little as three, depending on the situation. 

Payment History

Your payment history makes up the largest percentage of your credit score: 35%.  This includes things like collections, charge-offs, tax liens, and judgments, as well as how your credit is paid.  Nothing is reported in this system until it is over thirty days late; so although you may have been late from time to time, it should not be reported to your credit as “late” unless it is over thirty days.  Something to note: if you have a collection account that shouldn’t be on your credit, it still damages your credit score for roughly two years from the last reporting date, even once you’ve paid it.  We recommend you request a deletion letter from the collection company or the original creditor once you’ve paid a collection so it no longer hurts your score. 

Debt Level

Next is your debt level. This is one of the easiest things to update to increase and maximize your credit score.  Debt utilization makes up 30% of your credit score and includes your revolving or open-ended credit, such as credit cards.  Even if you pay off the debt every month, if it reports in the cycle each month as having a balance that is over 33% of your credit limit, it will pull your score down.  We recommend that you either keep your balance below 33% of the limit, or check to see what date the balance is reported each month to the credit bureaus and pay it down to under 30% before that time.  We’ve seen credit scores increase by over 50 points by simply adjusting how credit cards or revolving debt are managed. This is particularly important to maintain when pursuing a mortgage application. We heavily advise our customers to refrain from making large purchases on credit throughout the length of the loan process. 

Credit History

Credit history or length of established credit makes up 15% of your credit score.  Opening lots of new accounts or closing old accounts can hurt your score at times because of how it changes your credit history.  We recommend that people don’t change this while in the process of doing a mortgage or anything where they are trying to maximize their credit score in a short amount of time.  For people with limited credit, it is usually good to establish some new accounts, and over time this will help increase credit scores.

Types of Credit

Types of credit makes up 10% of the score.  Two basic types of credit are revolving (credit cards) and installment loans (mortgage or auto loans that are on a set repayment).  Having both types of accounts on your report is better for your overall credit score because it indicates you have experience managing various types of credit.  It is even better if you have loans for different types of assets, such as a car or a home, in addition to credit cards, plus a student loan or personal loan. 


Lastly is inquiries, making up 10% of your score.  Each time you submit an application that requires a credit check, an inquiry is placed on your report that shows you’ve made a credit-based application.  Soft pulls from accounts you already have in place, or from someone like a utility company not offering you a loan, don’t affect your score negatively.  Typically, you can have up to three hard inquiries (from loan companies) in a 30-day period without it negatively affecting your score.  These affect your score the most for 120 days and don’t hurt you at all after 12 months.  After 24 months, they no longer appear in your credit reporting history.  Be careful when talking to a mortgage lender or auto lender to make sure they aren’t pulling your credit with many different companies, as this can hurt your score in a short amount of time.  Most lenders should be able to give you a basic quote without pulling your credit initially.  If you have two or three companies, verify that they aren’t pulling your credit until you’ve narrowed it to one company. Otherwise, you risk lowering your score before you’ve even begun the loan process.  

Below are two credit repair companies that our clients have used.  We have no affiliation with them, nor have we received compensation from them. We have seen them help clients in certain situations.  Our company is highly knowledgeable about credit repair in relation to mortgage qualifications, so we encourage you to talk to one of our loan officers before initiating credit repair with one of these companies. There are often times when minor things need to be updated and/or quick fixes that don’t require full-blown credit repair.  We believe anyone can improve their credit history and scores – it just takes effort and time in most cases, as well as a solid plan. 

Contact us today if you have further questions specific to your situation. 

Credit Fix Hero

Credit Fix Hero uses aggressive strategies and conventional dispute methods to ensure maximum results in restoring your credit.

Lexington Law

Lexington Law is available to help meet your credit score goals. Their credit repair services can help you work to remove the inaccurate or unfair negative items listed on your credit report.