Your Credit Score
What it means, how it is calculated, and how to improve.
A good credit score can get you the best interest rates on all kinds of loans. A bad credit score can cost you thousands of dollars over the duration of a mortgage.
Do you need to improve yours? How can you?
How your score is determined.
When lenders reference your credit score, they’re most likely talking about your FICO score. (FICO stands for Fair Isaac Corporation, a leading monitor of consumer credit.) Your FICO score can range from 350 to 850, 850 being best. FICO scores are calculated from five factors: your payment history (which counts for 35% of your score), the amounts you owe (30%), the length of your credit history (15%), the types of loans and credit cards you have (10%), and any new credit (10%).
Good and bad breaks.
If your FICO score is 720 or higher, you’re in good shape. If it’s lower than that, be prepared for some frustration. Most mortgage lenders have firm “break points” – if your score is 699 and the break point is 700, that slight difference could mean half a point on a mortgage.
How can you raise your score?
You can bump up your score through certain tactics. Pay down your credit card debt to $0 and your score can go up by as much as 20 points in 60 days. Also, get a copy of your credit report and look for errors: “late” payments that you really paid on time, accounts that aren’t yours, old debts that shouldn't be on your report today (negatives are supposed to be taken off your report after seven years, bankruptcies after 10 years). Don’t just cut up credit cards without paying down the debts on the accounts. Having multiple credit cards can actually help you; it’s better to have four cards at 20-30% capacity than one card that’s maxed out.
If you’re applying for a mortgage, ask your lender if they are a customer of a rapid rescoring service. You could have your credit score rescored in about 72 hours, and if you’ve recently improved it, rescoring could save you big money. Rescoring will cost you about $50 per credit account that needs to be scored.
These are the views of Peter Montoya, Inc., not the named Representative or Broker/Dealer, and should not be construed as investment advice. Neither the named Representative or Broker/Dealer give tax or legal advice. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Please consult your Financial Advisor for further information.