A credit score is a numerical expression based on a statistical analysis of a person’s credit files, to represent the creditworthiness of that person. A credit score is primarily based on credit report information, typically sourced from credit bureaus. This number helps lenders and others predict how likely you are to make your credit payments on time. These credit scores (FICOs) were developed by Fair Isaac Corporation and are today’s most commonly used scoring system. FICO scores range from 300-850, with most people scoring in the 600-700 range. FICO scores above 700 are very good and are a sign of financial health. FICO scores below 600 indicate higher risk and could result in a higher interest rate.
Why Your Credit Score IS Important
Credit scores affect whether you can get credit and what you pay for credit cards, auto loans, mortgages and other kinds of credit. For most kinds of credit scores, higher scores mean you are more likely to be approved and pay a lower interest rate on new credit. Want to rent an apartment? Without good scores, your apartment application may be turned down by the landlord. Your scores also may determine how big a deposit you will have to pay for telephone, electricity or natural gas service.
Lenders look at your scores all the time. They look at your scores when deciding, for example, whether to change your interest rate or credit limit on a credit card, or whether to send you an offer through the mail. Having good credit scores makes your financial dealings easier and can save you money in lower interest rates. That’s why they are a vital part of your financial health.
How to Improve Your Credit Score
- Pay Down Past Due Accounts
- Pay Charge Offs and Liens within the past 24 months
- Check Your Limits and Distribute Balances
- Don’t Close Your Credit Cards, Keep Old Cards Active
- Call to Eliminate Late Payments from Your Credit Report
- Eliminate Collection Accounts
If your credit report is wrong
You can order a copy of your own credit report by contacting the three major credit reporting agencies.
Equifax 1-800-685-111 www.equifax.com
TransUnion 1-800-888-4213 www.transunion.com
Experian 1-888-397-3742 www.experian.com
The bureaus should provide instructions on how to read the report and how to dispute any inaccuracies it contains. Please note that every time your credit report is ordered, there are points deducted which could lower your overall score.