17 Jun

Will Checking My Credit Lower My Beacon Score?

General

Posted by: Robert McCaw

The Beacon score or credit score determines the probability that you will pay your bills on time and in full. Beacon scores are sometimes referred to as FICO scores and both names are from the credit bureaus that developed the scoring. Keeping track of this important number is vital. Inquiries to your score are recorded and tracked on the credit report.

Credit Inquiries

Every time that you, allow a creditor or potential lender check your credit report, a record is created of the event. This record appears on the top of the credit report. There are two types of inquiries, soft and hard. A soft inquiry occurs when you pull your own credit report. Credit card companies also pull soft inquiries when marketing pre-approval offers. A hard inquiry happens when submitting loan or credit card applications. A hard inquiry is one that is triggered by the applicant; a lender cannot process a hard inquiry without your permission. There is a process to have non-authorized credit inquiries removed from your report.

Affects on Your Score

Soft inquires do not affect the credit score. A consumer can pull their own credit score as many times as they wish without repercussions. Hard inquires affect the score slightly. These inquires are included in the calculation done for credit scoring. Usually they account for 10% or less of the overall score. Multiple inquires that occur in a 14-day span are counted as just one inquiry. This helps those who are credit shopping (mortgages, personal loans etc…) and need to have their credit pulled several times. Multiple inquiries are rarely the reason that people are denied credit unless the score was borderline to start with.

Recording Inquiries

Recording the number of inquires a consumer has on the credit report allows potential lenders to see how often a consumer has applied for new credit. This can be a sign to someone facing credit difficulty. Too many inquiries could mean that a consumer is deeply in debt and is looking for loans or new credit cards to bail themselves out. Another reason for recording inquires is identity theft. Hard inquires not made by you could possibly be an identity thief opening accounts in your name.

Time Frame

Inquires are required to remain on the credit report for at least a year. Most creditors, however, disregard any that have been on the report for over six months. Hard inquires remain on the report for two years. Soft inquires only appear on the report that you request from the credit bureaus and will not be visible to potential creditors. Hard inquires appear on all credit reports. All inquires disappear from the report after two years.

Who Has Access

Only individuals with a specific business purpose can check your score. Creditors, lenders, employers and landlords are some examples of approved business people. The inquiry only appears on the credit report that was checked. For example, if a landlord uses Experian to check the creditworthiness of an applicant, the credit check will only appear on Experian’s report, not TransUnion or Equifax. To limit the number of soft inquires made on your credit report, contact the credit reporting agencies and request that they remove your name from marketing distribution lists.

Conclusion

Having a few inquiries in a period of a couple of weeks while determining whether to work with a specific Mortgage Broker will (in most cases) not have a negative impact on your credit score.  Certainly, it will not have a lasting impact.

Check your own score annually at least @ www.equifax.ca

Working with an independent Mortgage Broker typically results in one inquiry on your Bureau which the lender partners of that Broker will use.  Thus more than one ratehold can be placed with more than one lender without negative credit consequences via a Broker.  (this is sometimes done to address the possibility that a lender may not like the type of property you are considering, i.e. leasehold – then a Plan B is nice to have)

 

17 Jun

Advice for credit challenged clients

General

Posted by: Robert McCaw

 

In today’s economic climate of tighter credit requirements and increased unemployment rates taking their toll on some Canadians, there’s no doubt that many people may not fit into the traditional banks’ financing boxes as easily as they may have just a year ago.

 

 Your best solution is to consult your mortgage professional to determine whether your situation can be quickly repaired or if you face a longer road to credit recovery. Either way, there are solutions to every problem.

 

 Mortgage professionals who are experts in the credit repair niche can help credit challenged clients improve their situations via a number of routes. And if the situation is beyond the expertise of a mortgage professional, they can help you get in touch with other professionals, including credit counsellors and bankruptcy trustees.

 

 If you have some equity built up in your home and still have a manageable credit score, for instance, you can often refinance your mortgage and use that money to pay off high-interest credit card debt. By clearing up this debt, you are freeing up more cash flow each month.

 

 In the current lending environment, with interest rates at an all-time low, now is an ideal time for you to refinance your mortgage and possibly save thousands of dollars per year, enabling you to pay more money per month towards the principal on your mortgage as opposed to the interest – which, in turn, can help build equity quicker.

 

 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 so you’re only using 30% of your limits. 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.

 

 Some financial institutions don’t even report your maximum limits. As such, the credit bureau is left to only use the balance that’s on hand. The problem is, if you consistently charge the same amount each month – say $1,000 to $1,500 – it may appear to the credit-scoring agencies that you’re regularly maxing out your cards.

 

 The 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.

 

 If, however, you have repeatedly missed payments on your credit cards, you may not be in a situation where refinancing or quickly boosting your credit score will be possible. Depending on the severity of your situation – and the reasons behind the delinquencies, including job loss, divorce, illness, and so on – your Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional can help you address the concerns through a variety of means and even refer you to other professionals to help get your credit situation in check.