BOSTON (CBS) - You could be paying more on a loan, or actually be denied, because your credit score is lower than it really needs to be.
There is a way to get it fixed quickly, if you know how.
Interest rates are at historic lows so consumers like Deborah Davenport, who was looking for a mortgage, want to make sure they get the best rate possible.
But she couldn't qualify for the lowest rates because her credit score was too low. She consulted with a credit expert to see if she could get it bumped up fast.
He noticed that she had a $500 balance on a card with a $700 limit. That hurt her credit rating, even though it wasn't that large of a sum. The reason is that it upset her credit to debt ratio, making it appear high. That ratio is a key part of an overall credit score.
"So just by paying that $500 and now putting the card to a zero balance, it lowered my ratios," explained Davenport.
But she couldn't wait for the payoff to be reported to the three major credit agencies because that usually takes 45 days. She asked her lender to request what's called a "Rapid Rescore."
John Ulzhiemer of credit.com says "Rapid rescore is essentially an unscheduled update to the information on your credit report."
A mortgage lender, for example, would hire an outside company to do a quick update. "If you pay off a credit card or pay off a debt collection then through the process of rapid updating, they can have the information reflected in 24-72 hours," Ulzhiemer explained.
If it works, bumping your score up even a couple dozen points can make something like the dream of home ownership a real possibility.
Wayne Sanford of New Start Financial Corporation said, "It can take someone who can't qualify right now and get them to that credit score level where they do qualify for a mortgage, or it might get them to the level where they qualify for a better interest rate."
For Deborah, a rapid rescore meant big savings. "I am able to get better rates on other cards, and other types of loans. Even my car loan recently, I was able to get a very low rate."
A rapid rescore can only be requested by someone like a mortgage broker or loan officer. It generally costs about $30 and is required separately for each of the three credit agencies.
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