Boosting Your Credit Score

Your credit score plays a big part in your financial life. Your interest rate and cost of insurance is affected by your credit score, so taking time to raise your score can save you money.

When lenders talk about "your score", they generally mean your FICO score. FICO is a credit score developed by Fair Isaac Corporation. FICO scores range from 300-850, and most people score in the 600s and 700s. FICO credit scores above 700 are very good and a sign of good financial health. FICO scores below 600 indicate high risk to lenders.

About 35% of your FICO score is based on your payment history. A solid record of on-time payments can make a big boost to your credit score.

About 30% of your FICO score is based on how much you owe and how much of your available credit you are using. The more you owe compared to your credit limit, the lower your score will be.

About 15% of your FICO score is based on the length of your credit history. A longer history will increase your score.

About 10% of your FICO score is based on new credit. If you recently applied for or opened new credit accounts, your credit score will weigh this against your past credit history.

About 10% of your credit score is affected by some minor factors including the mix of credit types (credit cards, auto loans, installment loans, mortgage and personal lines of credit).

Want to raise your credit score? Here are some tips that will help you raise your credit score:

  • Review your credit score for accuracy. If you spot an error, contact the reporting agency. The three agencies are: Equifax (EFX) (800-685-1111); Experian (888-397-3742); and TransUnion (800-916-8800).

  • Pay your bills on time.

  • Pay down your credit cards.

  • Don't apply for credit cards you don't need.

  • If you have missed payments, get current now. Stay current.


You can find out the estimated range for your FICO score using BankRate.com's FICO Score calculator:
http://www.bankrate.com/brm/fico/calc.asp

The most important thing you can do today is to check your credit score, and if it is not above 700, start working to make it better. You can do it!


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