What is a rapid rescore, and how can it benefit you?
Rapid rescore occurs when a borrower asks a lender to accelerate the credit reporting process so the borrower can apply for a time-sensitive loan.
Let’s say you order your credit report and don’t like what you see. For example, you may have late payments that you need to take care of, or your credit utilization is too high. As a result, your FICO® score is fair instead of very good or exceptional, and you risk being classified as someone with bad credit.
Your first step is to repair your credit by disputing any errors or suspicious items you find in your credit report. Then begin rebuilding your credit by addressing the factors that affect your credit score:
But what if you know you’re going to need a major loan quickly — say you’re thinking about home refinancing, a mortgage, or an auto loan — and you worry about qualifying?
The problem is that it can take a while for a credit update to appear: Updates can take 30 to 45 days, and that’s longer than you might want to wait to be approved for a loan. Credit activities can be reported at different times, so it might take even longer than 45 days for all your credit information to affect your credit score.
That’s where a rapid rescore comes in. It’s a way to speed up the process legitimately. But, unfortunately, you can’t request a rapid rescore yourself; you have to ask your lender to order one for you.
The objective of a rapid rescore is to provide new (and positive) information that can get your FICO score higher than the minimum to qualify for the loan you want. Of course, the better your score, the more likely you’ll be able to be eligible at a lower interest rate, too.
As part of the rapid rescore process, your lender will have to pay the credit reporting agencies to quickly include the new information.
You, the borrower, get the ball rolling by ordering your free credit report — which you’re entitled to annually under the Fair Credit Reporting Act — from annualcreditreport.com. Your lender may be able to help you by letting you know what areas you need to address to boost your chances of getting a loan.
It’s important to note that a rapid rescore doesn’t remove negative information from your credit report: Negative items can only be removed if they’re errors. Of course, you can dispute these errors yourself or pay one of the many credit repair companies to do it. Still, it’s a different process than a rapid rescore.
By contrast, instead of dealing with old information on your credit report, a rapid rescore will speed up the process of adding new, positive information to your credit file.
A rapid rescore can be helpful if you’re on the borderline between qualifying and not qualifying for a loan or if you’re not sure which way a lender’s decision is likely to go.
You should request a rapid rescore to be sure you will qualify and do so quickly. A rapid rescore can give you a cushion when you apply for a major loan — and it will give the lender confidence that you’re not on the cusp of being a bad credit risk.
Of course, you want a rapid rescore to improve your credit, but you also need to be aware that it may do the opposite. This is why it’s so useful to know what’s on your current credit report — and what may be added during a rescore. It may not all be positive.
For instance, say you were less than 30 days late on a payment the last time your credit file was updated, but you still haven’t made that payment. You may, therefore, have become delinquent since your credit report was last updated. (Payments less than 30 days late don’t typically show up on your credit, but payments more than 30 days past due will.)
If this has happened, it will show up on your rapid rescore and actually hurt your credit.
The upshot is that you need to be aware of everything that’s happened since your credit report was last updated, not just the steps you’ve taken to boost your score.
As mentioned above, your credit reports are updated when lenders provide new information to the nationwide credit reporting agencies for your accounts. This could occur once a month or every 45 days. Lenders can report to the credit bureaus differently than that, so elements of your credit report can be updated at different times.
This is why credit takes time to build, and why building credit is valuable over the long term, even if you get a loan after using a rapid rescore.
The lender will need to agree to your request, which involves paying the agency or agencies for the rapid rescore.
The fee for requesting a rapid rescore can be from $25 to $40 per item you want to be rescored with each credit bureau.
So, if you have three credit card balances that you want to have updated (for example), it could cost as much as $360 to ask for a rapid rescore on each one from each credit bureau.
But that doesn’t mean you’ll have to pay. In fact, you won’t. Mortgage lenders who offer this service do so free of charge because they can’t legally charge a fee. The Fair Credit Reporting Act prohibits them from charging their clients to correct or dispute credit report information. As a result, some may not offer the service.
It depends. As mentioned above, it won’t cost you anything, so if you’re confident all the new information in your credit history is positive, it’s probably worth a try.
If you have the cash to bring accounts current, then the lender could provide that proof to the credit reporting agencies to help improve your credit score.
Suppose there’s an error on your credit report. In that case, you can avoid waiting for the credit reporting agencies to fix the error (30 to 60 days). Instead, have it done much faster by asking for a rescore after successfully resolving the error.
Before asking for a rapid rescore, be sure there won’t be any new negative items appearing on your credit report. For example, missed payments you’d forgotten about or hard inquiries from a credit application could make the rescore worse.
Keep in mind that only a lender can ask for a rapid rescore. You can’t do it yourself. So if someone comes to you offering you a “rapid rescore service” directly without involving your lender, don’t trust it. Such offers are almost certainly scams.
But correctly done, a rapid rescore can quickly result in a higher credit score, potentially allowing you to qualify for mortgage loans, home loans, personal loans, and the like.
A rapid rescore is probably a good idea if you're sure your recent credit history is all positive and you need to improve your credit quickly.
Our goal at Self is to provide readers with current and unbiased information on credit, financial health, and related topics. This content is based on research and other related articles from trusted sources. All content at Self is written by experienced contributors in the finance industry and reviewed by an accredited person(s).