CHICAGO (CBS) — You have to have a better credit score today – at least 40 points higher than just two years ago – to even be considered for a loan, apartment rental or even some jobs; 680 is now the minimum.
CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker reports on what can you do to raise your score quickly.
Luis Chavez works long hours to fulfill his dream of starting his own business, buying a home and getting a new car.
Chavez says that “right now if interest is too high, I’m not going to do it.”
With his current score of 657, if he bought a $25,000 car he’d qualify for an interest rate of 11.3% and pay $548 a month. To get the best deal he needs at least 720, which gets him a rate of 4.6% and a monthly note of $468 – saving $80.
“I’m just doing the best I can to build my credit” says Chavez.
Helping him is financial coach Delilah Diaz,
Diaz advises that “everywhere you go you have to apply for credit, it’s based on your credit score.”
She offers clients three quick tips for raising their scores 10 to 15 points.
Number one: find a relative with excellent credit and become an authorized user on their credit card. She said that will give you credit on your credit report if any credit monitoring services check, whether you ever use the card or not.
Number two: Let’s say you owe a balance on five credit cards – you should transfer everything to one card.
“Lenders are going to see it as she has 80% of her credit cards still open. She’s not using them. She’s not putting herself in debt,” Diaz said.
Number three: dispute any errors you find on your credit report. That’s what Tucker did.
She called Macy’s to dispute a late payment and asked, “How long will it take Macy’s review department to look at it and get back to me?”
By the next week, the late payment was gone and Tucker’s Transunion score had jumped from 780 to 791.
Diaz cautions that Peoples Gas and similar companies are “the first ones to ruin your credit.”
Why? Because the gas utilities report whether you pay your bill every month, so the moment you’re late it’s a red flag.
Shopping for a car could also bring your score down because dealers send your information to several banks.
Diaz said you could have your credit score drop 20 points just by applying for a car in one stop.
Chavez hopes that, by the time he’s in the market for a car, his score will be high enough to get the best deal.
“When you get a good credit score you know you have opportunities, doors open up for everything,” he said.
To cut down on inquiries, bring your credit report/score with you when shopping for a cell phone, a house, an apartment rental or a car.
To find your score, try the following websites: