Besides that adage that our parents and grandparents used to tell us, is there any merit to that statement? You bet there is! Your credit score is a very powerful little number. It wields a great deal of influence in some very sensitive areas. So make sure it is in top condition! Here are a few basics.
Just for the record, FICO stands for Fair Isaac Corporation, a company that provides analytics and decision management technologies to its clients. 300 – 850 is the range of the FICO score. 60% of people fall between 650 and 799. FICO’s methods utilize past figures and facts to assess credit worthiness. The scoring is based on these percentages: 35% is payment history, 30% is amounts owed, 15% is length of credit history, 10% is new credit opened, and 10% is type of credit used (revolving, mortgage, etc)
There are new credit scoring agencies out there such as Scorelogix, that use a different set of risk factors to determine and predict if the borrower will be able to repay the debt in the future. Factors such as job and job stability, income and income sufficiency, and the current state of the economy are used to assess a borrower’s ability to repay going forward.
There are a number of reasons your credit may get checked. Applying for a mortgage of course is one. Since the mortgage crisis, banks are far more cautious. Their rules have changed, and so assessing a client for the ability to repay is far more involved than in previous years. Others that may run a check are: insurance companies, credit card companies, landlords, and even some employers. Many of them will use the FICO system along with a Scorelogix type of system to assess applicants. With all this scrutiny going on, it’s more important than ever to be diligent in your payments!
A credit score can make the difference between a lower interest rate on a loan and a higher one. It can make a difference in the credit limit on a credit card. Insurance companies may base your risk factor on a credit check. Landlords and employers also can use a credit check in their decision making. Things like foreclosures and Chapter 13 bankruptcies will stay on a credit report for 7 years and ding the score from 130-250 points! 30 and 60 day delinquencies can ding you starting at about 60 points. The tricky part to remember is that every time your credit is checked, it will ding your score by about 10 points. So if you are shopping for a mortgage, or applying for a credit card, keep this in mind.
Making payments on time is key to a good credit score. If you are experiencing financial challenges, be sure to contact your creditors to let them know – often they can help with repayment modifications. The Federal Trade Commission is another resource for information on credit and ways to improve your score. Go to http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/credit/cre03.shtm
When it comes to your credit remember Take care of it, and it will take care of you! Give credit where credit is due!