Don't Change The Channel. Healthy Credit Is Not Just For Borrowers Anymore.
How important is your FICO score or credit score? As financial institutions swing hard away from the liberal lending policies of the past few years, they are scrutinizing borrows more closely. Lenders use your credit score as an indication of your credit risk. The higher your score, the more likely you are to make your payments and make them on time. Higher scores will receive preferential treatment in the form of lower interest rates. Paying attention to your credit score can save you more than money. It's important to understand that it's not just the lenders that use FICO to judge you as an investment. Car dealers, utility companies, landlords, insurance companies and even hospitals all use the same measuring stick. Any entity that is considering investing in you is using FICO. You may be surprised to learn that most employers will check FICO scores before making a hiring decision. Many avenues of your life are impacted by the health of your FICO rating.
According to our neighbors at Les Bois Federal Credit Union:
FICO or Credit Score is a 3 digit number ranging from 300 - 850.
720, or above, are considered good scores.
FICO scores are based on:
35% - Payment History
30% - Amounts Owed
15% - Length of Credit History
10% - Types of Credit Used
10% - New Credit
Credit Scores to US Population:
350 to 499 1%
500 to 549 5%
550 to 599 7%
600 to 649 11%
650 to 699 16%
700 to 749 20%
750 to 799 29%
Over 800 11%
How can you find your FICO score?
At annualcreditreport.com you can request a free credit report once a year.
How can you keep you good credit score healthy?
- Pay on time - Keep your payments current
- Keep debt to a minimum.
- Keep you credit card balances to 30%, or less, of approved limit.
- Ask your credit card company to increase your limit if you owe over 30% of your approved limit.
- Don't open new accounts you don’t need.
- Don’t close zero balance accounts.
- Credit check inquiries can add 5 points to your score, so don't open several new accounts in a short period.
- If you are shopping for a mortgage and several mortgage companies check your credit, it will count as one inquiry.
- Checking your own score will not count as an inquiry.
- If you find an error on your credit report dispute it. The Federal Trade Commission tells you how.
How can you build credit if you have none?
- Establish credit and maintain good credit for at least 6 months
- Apply for a credit card and manage it responsibly
- Develop a mix of credit types. Include installment credit, such as car loans, and revolving credit, such as credit cards.
- Keep debt to a minimum.
- Keep credit card balances low
- Don't open new accounts you don't need.