Credit scores are used by many – from mortgage lenders to auto dealers – to decide how much they’re willing to trust you to pay them back. Boosting your credit score will allow you to secure better interest rates, which saves you money.
For this reason, it’s important that you know what your credit score is, understand how your credit report works and do everything you can to increase your credit score, including paying all of your loans, utility and credit card bills in full and on time each and every month.
A credit report is a reflection of your financial activities while a credit score is an analysis of your creditworthiness based on credit history and current credit and loan accounts. Fair, Isaac & Company (FICO) is the standard measure of credit scores and helps a lender gauge the likelihood of a loan being repaid. Credit scores range from 350 to 850 points. The higher the score, the more likely you are to obtain loans at low interest rates. With lower rates, you can receive significant savings over the life of the loan. A score of 700 and higher is considered excellent, while borrowers with scores below 620 will find it more difficult to get the best rate on a loan.
The following Score Boosting Strategies should help you on your way to improving your credit score:
- Maintain a low “credit utilization” or low percentage of available credit issued for each card.
- Build and maintain a lengthy credit-use history and don’t close out your old credit cards.
- Refrain from opening new charge accounts, particularly at holiday time for extra discounts.
- Have an assortment of loans, including auto loans and mortgages – showing creditors you are credit savvy and pose a lower payback risk.
If you have a credit card or multiple credit cards and are carrying a balance from month to month, review your credit report periodically. Credit reports can sometimes omit important bill payment information and may contain errors or accounts that have been opened fraudulently. You can obtain your free credit report from all three credit reporting agencies and information about your FICO score by mail, from www.AnnualCreditReport.com or by calling 877-322-8228.
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