What is a credit rating and why is it important?
There are lots of factors in determining credit ratings.
300 - 599
Your credit is poor and needs some work. Good news: we can help! Keep reading for some improvement suggestions.
600 - 649
This is fair credit. History of debt repayment will be important to demonstrate your solid sense of financial responsibility.
650 - 719
This is considered good to lenders. You may not qualify for the lowest interest rates available, but keep your credit history strong to help build your credit health.
720 - 900
You have very good credit! You should expect to have a variety of credit choices to choose from, so continue your healthy financial habits.
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Breaking down the numbers.
"What does this score on my report mean?"
The rating numbers go from 300 to 900. The higher the number, the better. For example, a number of 750 to 799 is shared by 27 per cent of the population. Statistics show that only two per cent of the borrowers in this category will default on a loan or go bankrupt in the next two years. That means that anyone with this score is very likely to get that loan or mortgage they’ve applied for.
So what exactly are the cutoff points? TransUnion says someone with a credit score below 650 may have trouble receiving new credit. Some mortgage lenders will want to see a minimum score of 680 to get the best interest rate.
The exact formula bureaus use to calculate credit scores is secret. Paying bills on time is clearly the key factor. But because lenders don’t make any money off you if you pay your bills in full each month, people who carry a balance month-to-month (but who pay their minimum monthly balances on time) can be given a higher score than people who pay their amount due in full.
This isn’t too surprising when you realize that credit bureaus are primarily funded by banks, lenders, and businesses, not by consumers. ¹
Factors used in determining a credit score
A good record of on-time payments will help boost your credit score.
Balances above 50 percent of your credit limits will harm your credit. Aim for balances under 35 percent.
An established credit history makes you a less risky borrower. Think twice before closing old accounts before a loan application.
When a lender or business checks your credit, it causes a hard inquiry to your credit file. Apply for new credit in moderation.
How long does 'bad credit' last?
Bad credit information or delinquent credit accounts — generally stays on your record for six to seven years.
However, the exact length of time is also dependent on the credit bureau. Equifax Canada counts from the date the debt is first assigned to a collection agency.
How long does it take to repair my credit rating?
Conservatively speaking, you can expect improvement within months but it will take one to two years to materially correct most problems.
Too often promises of full recovery in 12 months are made, which is not realistic for the majority of people.
Be wary of companies or individuals promising a “fast-track” return to good credit. Remember the old saying; allow us to paraphrase – “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!”
If I have gone bankrupt in the past, can I still apply for an auto loan?
Absolutely! We encourage applying for a car loan if you have sub-prime credit.
You need a fresh start and the team at Approval Genie are capable of providing just that. Discharged or not discharged, you have the opportunity to engage a path back to good credit status.
How do I rebuild my credit?
The best way to rebuild your credit after a mistake like a collection or a charge-off is to get some positive information on your credit report.
If you still have active credit cards or loans, continue paying them on time. The same thing goes for accounts that aren’t reported to the credit bureaus.
Establishing a new “trade line” is important when you have suffered from bad credit. Ironically, the only way you can start building your credit, is by obtaining new forms of credit. An automotive loan is one of the strongest forms of credit that can help you tremendously improve your credit rating.
One of the preferred methods of demonstrating good credit habits is with an approved auto loan from a reputable lender or financial institution.
Other proven methods of improving your credit rating and score:
- Keep balances low on credit cards and other revolving credit: high outstanding debt can affect a credit score.
- Pay off debt rather than moving it around: the most effective way to improve your credit scores in this area is by paying down your revolving (credit cards) debt.
- By having a mix of different credit products, such as a credit card, car loan and line of credit (just remember to keep the amount being borrowed to 35% or less)
- Once your larger debts are paid down and you can soundly budget for the costs of owning a vehicle, consider an auto loan.
What is “second chance credit”?
Second chance credit is an industry term used to describe credit products being granted to those whose credit is bad.
If you have had a bankruptcy, consumer proposal or multiple payment defaults, this would most likely be applicable to you. Only certain lenders are set-up to work with those individuals who fall into this category as the risk of non-payment or default is perceived to be high due to past history.
Don’t worry though – we have a portfolio of second chance lender partners that we work with on a daily basis so we are fully equipped to assist you if you fit into this category.
What is the best way to improve my credit score?
Here are a few proven ways to improve your credit score:
- Use your credit intelligently – don’t have more than 35% of your total available credit outstanding (i.e. if you have a credit card or line of credit with a $10,000 limit, don’t carry a balance of more than $3,500)
- Manage your payments – always make your payments on-time, paying at least the minimum amount due
- Keep credit accounts open and in use – the longer you have an account open the better it is for your score, especially if you are showing a strong history of on-time payments. This way even if you miss a few along the way, it doesn’t affect you as much
- Don’t close everything – in most cases no credit is worse than bad credit as lenders are not able to gauge what you will do if they provide you a loan
If I have a good credit rating should I still apply?
We have access to rates from different sources that differ in terms, amount to finance, vehicle model and year.
We can analyze and select the best rates tailored to your buying situation.
Shop us! We want to earn your business by saving you money.
How do I know that my information is safe?
We are a fully licensed Canadian credit approval company.
We have a strong history of banking with Canada’s largest financial institutions, which also requires us to maintain a strict relationship with the RCMP, including rigorous background checks.
We pledge to uphold the highest standard of safety and privacy regarding the handling of your personal information.
Our business depends on it!
All of our dealerships and advisors are fully certified by OMVIC.
Sources & Citations
Articles referenced for educational purposes: