ScoreMaker

scoremaker If somebody told you how to increase your credit score 50 points, would you be interested? 

True Business Solutions is hoping you will be. It’s got a new product called ScoreMaker that provides personalized step-by-step instructions on how to boost your credit score. 

Higher credit scores can come in handy, especially when you’re applying for a mortgage.  In many cases, a better score will be the difference between you qualifying for a mortgage at a good interest rate, or qualifying period.

ScoreMaker works like this:

  1. Your mortgage broker pulls your credit report
  2. ScoreMaker analyzes the report data in seconds
  3. ScoreMaker tabulates the amount by which your score can be improved
  4. You decide if the potential score increase is sufficient before buying the report
  5. If you purchase the report, ScoreMaker outlines a series of specific steps you can take to improve your score.

ScoreMaker ScoreMaker makes two types of suggestions:

Short-term score enhancement recommendations (which take effect in 45 days or less)

Long-term score enhancement recommendations.

Recommendations involve things like paying down debts by specified amounts, resolving credit disputes, utilizing dormant accounts, and removing old or inaccurate items from your bureau.

The product’s scoring recommendations have been derived from thousands of backtests of actual credit report data.  In fact, ScoreMaker claims their scoring algorithms are 94% accurate (meaning they closely correspond to Equifax’s Beacon score model).

In the weeks ahead, ScoreMaker will be rolling out two big improvements:

  1. A simulator that tells you how to get a particular score in the cheapest possible way.
  2. An online interface to make ScoreMaker more accessible (presently it’s only available to MorWeb users)

A customized client report costs $49.95, which is a pittance if its suggestions help you qualify for a mortgage, or get a better rate.

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For more information, see:  ScoreMaker

  1. $50 seems rather steep, esp. since this product seems like it would be geared more towards those with lower credit scores.
    It would be interesting to see an example report in full to see what type of advice they are giving. I do note that a lot of free sites and forums give general score-building advice, which in the long run might be equally effective… if that advice is actually followed that is.

  2. If you’re working with a good broker whose worth their salt, then they should be able to tell you how to improve your score. ie. pay your bills on time, and pay your balance down to 50% the limit. We obviously won’t know exactly how much the score will improve by, but we know it will go up.

  3. I would just like to know what my score is. I sent away for my report, but they don’t tell you your beacon score.

  4. I’d be interested to hear what people have to say about a few related items.
    I recently applied for a Line of Credit, and my Big-5 Banker pulled up my Beacon Score as well as another “Credit Score” that ranked out of 100 (I think?). He noted that he doesn’t really rely on Beacon score too much because it is somewhat volatile compared to the “Credit Score”, which is more a reflection of long term credit use.
    First, does anyone know what this other Credit Score is, what it is based on, or how to find out what your score is (besides asking your banker).
    Second, he said that my credit score (and Beacon) were both great, but that I should lower the credit limits on my credit cards to reduce my Debt Service Ratio (DSR). I have no balance on any of my cards, but apparently the *limit* is what matters for DSR ratios, not how much of the limit you actually use (which is reflected in Beacon & Credit Score).
    So the question is: is it worth lowering my Beacon Score (which is what will happen if I reduce my credit limits because this will mean that I will be using a higher % of my limit) in order to improve the DSR.
    Obviously this depends on context and particulars, but has anyone else run into this dilemma of Beacon/Credit score being opposed to DSR?
    Yeesh. Does that make any sense at all?

  5. I worked for a Big 5 bank (then Big 6) for 30 years and was a front-line lender for 25 of those years. When the first CBL (computer based lending) models were developed they included an internal customer score which was based on non-credit related factors. Things like yrs. at present residence, yrs. at job, # of jobs in past 5 yrs, # of residences in past 5 yrs. # of years at present bank, etc… were used to determine a credit score for lender use only.
    As far as DSR ratios are concerned, if you are not using your C/C but still have a large “available limit”, you should not be penalized for it. Some lenders will look at your credit limit on a card and “plug-in” a potential use of the card limit along with a minimum 3% mo. payment on that amount. I don’t agree with that process and don’t use it myself as a mortgage advisor…. but there you are.

  6. Sounds like a great product.
    I’ve used the product offered by Equifax in the past (it gives you some personalized tips on what to do to improve your score).
    I have this idea that in many ways we will come to be valued as human beings in large part by our credit scores in the future.
    A low credit score can already be used to deny you insurance (low scoring people tend to file more big claims). It can cause landlords not to rent to you, it can cause employers not to hire you and I believe that in the US, the computer scoring model that identifies the terrorism threat you pose on an airplane incorporates credit scoring.
    Best to learn how to play this game for so many reasons…

  7. @ Bob:
    You banker if full of ___.
    You beacon score does not factor available credit, it looks at used credit. IE: You TDS is based on money you owe, not money you might owe. In fact, useing a higher percentage of you available credit it bad for your score. So lowering the limits on your revolving credit products would do more harm than good.
    If I were you, I would find a new banker who knows what h(or she) is talking about…
    [Edited. Please watch the language. Thanks.]

  8. Apparently they have little to no history… I don’t think the Americans like people who pay cash for their tickets either.
    How any of this accurately predicts anything is beyond me, but other people think it does, so it’s best to be aware of it.

  9. Oops. According to Wikipedia:
    “Among the complaints about the No Fly List is the use of credit reports in calculating the risk score. In response to the controversy, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officials said in 2005 that they would not use credit scores to determine passengers’ risk score “.
    Looks like not paying my bills won’t stop me from getting into the US after all…

  10. Actually, each FI has different guidelines in this regard, and some do factor in a % of your credit limits for debt servicing instead of your balances. This is a more conservative approach than just using balances, and that’s an underwrting decision each lender makes – someties based on the profile of the individual applicant.
    As to how it impacts your credit score, yes a higher % of balances is an issue. A balance below 10% of your available limit is ideal and will have a positive impact. Balances above 75% will have a negative impact. Going over your limits will have an even greater negative impact.
    At the end of the day, reducing your credit limits on existing trades is a decision to make in order to qualify for another credit instrument. Typically, it would be done to qualify for a lower interest product that will be used to consolidate other, higher interest debt.
    ps – I would always recommend you stay away from people who refer to other people as ‘full of sh*t’

  11. Blair,
    Actually, Blair, you are misinformed. Most large lenders do include *potential* credit when calculating your TDSR
    (see: http://www.thecredittoolbox.com/total-debt-servicing-ratio-tdsr/)
    There is some variation, but generally, as Al said above, they count 3% of your *available* credit along with all of the credit you are actually using. From their perspective, you are riskier because you could, in principle, go on a tear and max out all of that credit. This is why some people with great credit scores are sometimes surprised at car dealerships when their application for credit comes back denied.
    http://anybadcredit.com/car-loans/tdsr-and-car-loans/
    As for Beacon scores going down when you reduce your credit limit . . . that’s exactly what I said above.
    There is a balance, and there can be such a thing as too much credit.

  12. Does this really work in Canada? Isn’t every mortgage in this country backstopped by the Canadian Government and therefore there’s no risk to any of our banks for any default whatsoever. So other than banks trying to make more money, they certainly aren’t worried about default – so give everyone your best rate.
    Why bring a product like this to Canada when noone cares about score inherently in our whole system. Go to the USA, no?

  13. I have been in the mortgage business a long time. Probably a lot longer than some of you whipper snappers. Can’t remember the last time I saw 3% of someone’s available limit factored in their TDS. That is not a common lender practice by any means.

  14. Brokers know what makes a score go up but most don’t know how much. Knowing how much is sometimes more important.
    A lot of times a client will have a 570 to 580 Beacon. I’ve had lots of cases where I might need to get that to 600 or 620 by a specific time, so the client can get a better rate. I think there is a use for something that tells you how to get the most credit score increase with the least effort/cost.
    I don’t know if this product works but if it does, it’s worth $50 IMO.

  15. I recently canceled a credit card with a $30,000 limit, but no balance. It caused my rating to drop from 770 to 740. Nothing else had changed. Any idea why that would be?

  16. Part of your score is based on credit utilization. When you lower a limit or cancel a card, it means you are using more of your available credit. That hurts your score.
    Your credit also depends on the age of your accounts. Longer is better. When you close a card it could reduce the average age of your accounts.

  17. Nat. Mtg.
    It is, perhaps, not common for mortgages, but is common for other forms of more “revolving”-type credit (e.g., car loans, lines of credit).

  18. Ray – even though banks are backstopped, they don’t want to write business that isn’t profitable in the long term. This is for two primary reasons – 1 – the bank has to protect its investment grade in the bond market, and writing mortgages that go into default (even though they are fully guaranteed) is not perceived well, and -2 – is in the short term, a bank incurs additional costs in disposing of real estate that the default insurer does not pay for : such as fraud, employee staff costs, and certain expenses incurred while disposing of the real estate.
    No bank or trust wants to write bad mortgage business in Canada – they can’t afford to. The ones that have attempted to do this have either run out of investors or working capital.
    The US market was different only in that the lenders and insurers knew it would never last, and chose to ignore basic fundamentals for short term gain.

  19. Equifax costs about $24 to pull yourself. Transunion is slightly cheaper but it is VERY hard to actually receive the report. Both these reports are useless unless you know how to read them. Even if you know how to read them, it’s virtually impossible to know exactly what to do in a short period of time for maximum results.
    I personally tried out Scoremaker this week and was blown away with how well it actually worked. Being able to see if it’s actually worth it to purchase the report is a godsend. Through its instructions it showed me a few tricks that brought the clients score up 91 points in about 45 days. I personally have been reading these reports for over 4 years and learned a few things.
    This program gets my two thumbs up. A $50 cost is pennies when this could save you thousands in interest expense.

  20. You get what you pay for.
    Most lenders don’t use Trans Union so you are taking a chance relying on their score.
    There can also be big differences between Equifax and T.U. scores.
    BTW, T.U. is only a $1 cheaper.

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