Sunday, January 25, 2009

How To Maximize Your Credit Score

To keep your increasingly important credit score as high as possible, we recommend the following advice by Larry Bettag, Vice President, Cherry Creek Mortgage, reprinted from

Here are 5 factors impacting your credit score (in the order of importance):

1. Payment History has a 35 percent impact. Paying debt on time and in full has a positive impact, and late payments, judgments and charge-offs have a negative impact.

2. Outstanding Credit Balances have a 30 percent impact. Debt ratio of outstanding balance to available credit is important. Keeping that below 50 percent is wise and below 30 percent even wiser. It is never a good idea to close an account; the debt ratio will go up and the number of seasoned lines will decrease.

Pay outstanding debt down as close to zero as possible and evenly redistribute the remaining balance among the open lines. The increased interest incurred by moving a balance from a zero percent card to a 23 percent card will be minimal relative to what the increased mortgage debt might be with a low credit score. Hitting the maximums of available credit can be very negative. It may be worth calling and asking the credit company to increase your available credit to lower the debt ratio, provided they can do so without a hard credit inquiry.

3. Credit History has a 15 percent impact. The length of time a particular credit line has been opened is important. A seasoned borrower is stronger.

4. Type of Credit has a 10 percent impact. A mix of auto loans, credit cards and mortgages is positive, rather than a concentration in credit cards only.

5. Inquiries have a 10 percent impact. Hard inquiries for credit will negatively impact the score. Auto and mortgage inquiries receive special treatment and 20 inquiries can be made in a 14-day period for auto or mortgage and will be treated as only 1 inquiry. The maximum number of inquiries that will reduce the score is 10. Any inquiries beyond that (11 plus) in a six month period will have no further impact on the borrower. Each hard inquiry can cost 2-50 points on a credit score.

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