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What’s Your Number?
Chances are you have been affected in some way by this poor economy. If you’ve recently lost a job, been trapped by credit card, student loan or other debt, your credit score could also be causing you a major headache.
The best-known and most widely used credit score model in the United States, the FICO score is calculated statistically, with information from a consumer’s credit files. A FICO score is between 300 and 850, with 60% of scores near the right between 650 and 799 According to FICO the median score is 723. Generally a score below 600 is considered poor. Know your number because it’s a reflection on you!
There are at least four factors to consider when understanding your score, good or bad:
- Past delinquency: If you fail to make payments in the past, it could signal future behavior. Truth is, the credit bureaus don’t care about the reasons. That’s the truth!
- Irresponsible use of credit: If you are someone who maxes out credit cards, has several near-the-limit cards and only paying the bare minimum, you are considered a greater risk than someone who doesn’t look at the high credit line as a license to print money.
- The age of the credit file: Simply, if you have had credit for longer period of time (mostly in good to great standing), you are considered less risky.
- Type of open credit: Someone with only a secured credit card is generally riskier than someone who has a combination of installment and revolving loans.
You should know you are entitled to free annual credit report, it’s like a permanent record of your credit history . You can request your report online at www.annualcreditreport.com, which is the only authorized source for consumers to access their annual credit report online for FREE. Or, call 877-322-8228 for more information.
If you prefer snail-mail, complete the form on the back of the Annual Credit Report Request brochure, and mail it to: Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA, 30348-5281. One more caveat: you’ll be able to order all three credit reports at one time.
If you want to purchase your credit report and credit score, shop around first. The prices vary between the three credit bureaus. Coming up soon we’ll have details on how you can protect your credit score, even if it’s not so hot.