Better credit = better refi rates

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Want to take advantage of today’s low refinance rates? If your credit isn’t great, your chances of qualifying for a good rate aren’t either. The facts are simple: The better your credit, the better your refinance rate.

You could probably take a guess about your credit rating, but you’ll want to have more than a vague idea before you apply for a new loan. You should review your credit report at least annually, even if you’re not looking for a new mortgage. But it’s especially important to look at your credit report before trying to take advantage of today’s tempting refi rates.

You can get your credit report in one of three ways:

  1. Get it online. is the only authorized source of free annual credit reports under federal law for consumers online. However, you can also get additional credit reports online for a fee from the three major credit reporting agencies, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.
  2. Get it by phone. Call (877) 322-8228 for your report.
  3. Get it by mail. Complete an Annual Credit Report Request form and send it in via mail to the address on the form.

Although each of the agencies is required by law to provide you with a free annual credit report through the Annual Credit Report Request Service, these reports do not include your credit score — one of the most important factors in determining refi rates. You can order a credit score with a credit report on the Web or over the phone for a fee.

Mistakes may occur in credit histories. If you find an error, report it to the credit agencies immediately.

If your credit score isn’t where you need it to be to secure the best refi rates, you can work to boost it by:

  • Paying all of your bills on time.
  • Paying down your credit card debt.
  • Keeping your credit lines open.
  • Increasing your credit limits.

Although you can’t improve your credit score overnight, these steps will have you on your way to better refi rates.