Increase Your Credit Score By 50 Points, Here's What I Did!!

Updated: Jul 17

Person researching ways to increase their credit score
Joining My Fico was one of the best decisions I made when it came to increasing my credit score.

I started saving money after I realized I needed to make major changes to reach my goal of purchasing a home.

As I began to do this, I implemented some practical steps that I thought were putting me on the right track.

I joined a debt consolidation company to help me recover from bad money habits I developed as a young adult.

I joined a free credit monitoring site that allowed me to see my credit score as I began paying off debt.

I even created a budget that ended up helping me tremendously. I talk about this in my article, “Does A Budget Really Work?” and “Give Yourself A Raise By Saving Money, Even If You’re Broke!”

I felt confident that I was doing everything right. After about 4 months, I saw that my credit was rising and I finally had the score that I needed to apply for my home loan. So, I thought!

When I applied for my loan after deciding which banks I wanted to apply for (they say apply for at least 3, you can do this without it affecting your credit because it will only show up as 1 hard inquiry) I was told that I had a 610 credit score.

But I was looking at a 680 credit score on my credit monitoring account. I was signed up to 2 credit monitoring services. They both said I had a score of 680!

After going back and forth with the loan officer, because we both were confused, I took to the internet to see what was going on.

What I found was blew my mind! I then decided to:

  • Join My Fico to see ALL my credit scores (there are about 16 different scores).

  • Educated myself on ways to build my credit.

  • Asked a family member to put me on their credit card as an Authorized User.

  • Disputed inaccurate information on my credit and wrote letters to try to get late payments erased.

Join My Fico to see all your credit scores

I am not the type of person to give up when I really want something, so I decided to implement a plan that worked for me and helped me reach my goal.

I joined join My Fico so I could see the credit score that all lenders use. This way I could know exactly what was holding me back.

It was interesting to learn that each lender uses a different credit model to determine my score. Some were more lenient than others, I was doing great if I wanted to buy a car, but if I wanted to buy a home, I was not even close.

I wanted a good interest rate so a 610 was not going to cut it. I wanted an FHA loan. I chose this type of loan because I was a teacher, a first time home buyer, and was not happy with the things I had to do for some of these “Teacher Down Payment Assistance” programs.

According to Lending Tree author, Denny Ceizyk are: to qualify for a FHA loan you have to have a credit score of 580 or higher, BUT, if you settle for this, you will have to make at least a 10% down payment and you are going to have a higher interest rate, according to Rocket Mortgage author Victoria Araj.

That means that you are going to have a high mortgage each month and pay more money over time in interest for the home.

I didn’t want to do that. I wasn’t desperate for a home. I wanted to start making better financial decisions. So, I didn’t want to get a home at any cost just to say I was a homeowner.

If I wasn't careful, home ownership could have become a nightmare instead of a dream!

I wanted to learn about my credit, how to improve it, get the best rate, and have the mortgage that my family was comfortable with. I wanted this to be a relief to my family and not a burden.

I decided to wait and educate myself on what I could do to improve my credit.

Educate yourself on ways to build your credit

Young person is reading and getting educated on what is needed to make improvements.
Educated yourself on what you need to build your credit and get to work.

Everyone is different and everyone’s credit is different. When I saw my credit report I was able to have a complete look into my bad behavior over the years.

I was determined to make some changes. I am an Educator so educating myself just made sense for me. I personally did not want to pay a credit restoration company, because I just didn’t want to spend the money.

I learned some things that allowed me to increase my credit score on my own. I ended up increasing it by 100 points after about a year and a half. But that's another story!

I learned that I needed to pay off my old debt that I was planning to let fall off. When you do this though, make sure you get confirmation in a letter that they will delete it off your credit report. They don’t just automatically do this!

I did this because my goal was to buy a home before the pandemic was over because the rates were so good. I didn’t know how long the pandemic would last, but while I could do nothing I decided to do something!

I learned that I needed to do this because,

  • Old debt affects your Debt-to-Income ratio

  • Underwriters don’t like to see defaulted bills on your report, no matter how old

I talk about this more in my article, “Want To Buy A Home? 3 Things You Need to Know About Your Credit Score.”

I decided to just pay these things off. I am glad I did. Most people think that when you pay items off your credit score, your score will go down. While this is true at first , it will only go down a few points but next month it will rise.

Especially if it is a negative item. Your credit score is like a little beast that you feed over the course of your life, it likes to eat good debt like current on time payments. Not nasty old default bills and late payments. LOL!

So next I learned that I could ask someone I trust and that trust me, to let me be an authorized user on their credit.

Become an Authorized User

Two friends discussing it one friend will allow the other to be an authorized user.
Having a trusted family member or friend put you on as an authorized user will be a big help to getting you where you want to go.

Before I did this next step, you have to understand that I was already changing my bad habits and was showing that I had developed a positive “money mindset”.

I was not going to ask someone else to take a chance on me and I was not ready to do the right thing. My family and friends had seen the evidence of me making improvements and making better decisions with my money.

They saw me budgeting and saving for my home. So when I asked a family member to make me an authorized user on their account, they were happy to help.

I also explained to them that I did not want to have my own card. They could keep that if they chose too. I just needed the excellent credit to piggyback off to raise my credit score. The person I chose had a credit score of about 790.

I had never known the true benefits of becoming an authorized user on someone else's credit. It is a great way to build your credit without taking a new line of credit yourself. I hung on their credit until after I was ready to go back to purchase my home. I stayed on for about 6 months.

Another thing that I learned was that I had the power to dispute old and inaccurate information on my credit report.

Disputed inaccurate information and write letters for late payments

The last thing I did to build my credit to buy a home, because remember there's a difference depending on what you are trying to buy, is Dispute! Dispute! Dispute!

One person disputing with another, the person disputing is pointing a finger as the other hides himself with his hands.
Don't be afraid to dispute about the things on your credit report that should not be their. Advocate for your credit!

I knew I could dispute items on my credit but I did not know that it had such a negative affect on your credit.

I saw things on my credit report that I had actually paid off years ago and it was just not deleted.

All credit bureaus have slightly different information about your credit history that they carry, so I had to look at reports from each one carefully.

I was able to dispute things that were on one report but weren't on another report. I was able to dispute to update my balances on my credit cards, car note, and debt consolidation bill.

The credit bureau was really good about getting these things updated. I was able to see a tremendous change in my credit score.

Lastly, I saw my late payments that I had made on my car note. Now, I’m not complaining just explaining.

I missed three late payments the whole life of my car note. I know exactly what caused me to be late on those payments.

I was not just fooling around. One time I was in a bind as a single mother, and did not have the money at the time to pay my bills and take care of my kids' needs. I was not managing my money correctly. I'll admit.

The second time I ended up helping a family member with funeral expenses.

I wrote a letter to get the bank to forgive me those times and remove it from my report. But they told me “no”. Can you believe it?

I was mad at first, but then the bank made a good point when they emailed me back. They explained that I could have just told them at the time of the incidents and had I done that they would have not penalized me for being late.

I thought about this and it was true.

Sometimes when we are in a financial bind, we don’t want to ask for help or tell anyone because we feel ashamed. We think to ourselves, “why can’t I manage my money, I’m too old for this”. But that is why education is important.

I could have just asked at the time, made an arrangement with them and paid when I could. So of course, writing a letter to forgive late payments did not work for me.

But it could for you, so don’t knock it.

Doing these few things grew my credit about 50 points over the past 8 months. This time it was the right credit score. My consumer score was at a 700 and my mortgage credit score increased to a 670. This was only the beginning.

But, I was finally ready to apply for my home loan!


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