Credit Score: A Guide To Credit Scoring And Improving Your Credit Score

Posted by Nick Niesen on November 8th, 2010

Don't get excited guys, this is not that kind of score and its impact lasts much longer than 30 seconds. We are talking about credit scoring and credit score that is also known as FICO (Fair Isaac & Co.) score.

So what is credit scoring? You have heard of personality profile that dating services use to find the best match between people. Well, credit scoring is a mathematically calculated financial profile lenders use to match applicants with loans. Credit scoring is a way for lenders to determine how much risk is involved in lending money to you and based on that risk they may decide not to lend money to you at all or change the terms of the loans to match the risk.

Who uses credit scoring? Credit scoring has been around forever, that is since 1950s, and it was first used for issuing credit cards and auto loans. Now all sort of creditors including home mortgage lenders use it. But they also consider other factors such as your salary, your employment and your assets.

So what's in a credit score? Pick a number, any number between 300 and 850. That would probably be someone's credit score also known as FICO (Fair Isaac & Co.) score. In the eyes of potential creditors, scores closer to 850 indicate more credit worthiness, which in turn comforts these skittish creditors that you are more likely to pay your loan than a person with lower credit score.

The following are interpretations of what various FICO score ranges mean.

* Excellent: Over 750
* Very Good: 720 to 750
* Acceptable: 660 to 720
* Uncertain: 620 to 660
* Risky: less than 620

What impacts my FICO Score? This credit score number is a relative number and as much as possible objective. By relative, I mean that it compares your financial habits with others in similar situation. The first step is gathering information about how you treat money, do you pay your bills on time, how many credit accounts you have, what type, do you have any collection action against an account, how much total debt you have, and a bunch of other data.

Then the objective part kicks in by using mathematical calculation that do not care about how you look, what religion you have, etc. The lenders only want to know how likely you are to pay their money back in a timely manner and without hassling them.

The FICO score calculations consider the following factors:

Your payment history 35% : Do you pay your bills on time? Have you ever been delinquent, or are you consistently late? How about collection notices and bankruptcy? The answer to these questions account for about 35% of your credit score.

Total debt : How much do you owe lenders compared to the total amount you can borrow impacts about 30% of your credit score. If your credit cards are close to being maxed out, it may indicate looming financial problems and a possibility of default and it drops your credit score.

Length of credit history: Approximately 15% of your credit score calculation depends on how long you have had your accounts? Three days, six months, ten years? The longer credit history has a positive impact on your credit score.

Taking on more debt: Are you taking on more new debts? Even applying for too many new cards too quickly may be considered as financial difficulty and impacts your credit score in a negative way. This builds about 10% of your credit score.

Types of credit in use: About 10% of your credit score depends on the type of credit mix you have. High ratio of credit cards and installments loans in relationship to mortgages has a negative impact on your credit score.

Why do I need to check my credit report from each major credit bureau?

Despite normalization of credit scoring system that gives credit scores about the same value at all major credit bureaus, the information reported to these bureaus are not identical. So, one credit bureau may receive information that impacts your credit scoring one way and another credit bureau receives another set of information that impacts your credit scoring in another way.

The good news is that as of September 1, 2005, as an American, you can ask for a free credit report from each of the major nationwide consumer reporting companies once every 12 months.

Four simple tips to improve your credit score:

* Pay your bills on time, especially your mortgage and your installment loans.
* Borrow below your credit limits and do not max out your credit cards.
* Carry two or three credit cards only.
* Don't apply for several credit cards at one time.

* DISCLAIMER: Vishy Dadsetan, or My Favorite Shop, Inc. do not endorse any product or company. This article and website do not provide legal, insurance, or other professional services. If expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. Although Vishy Dadsetan has made every effort to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information contained in this site, he assumes no responsibility for errors, omissions, inaccuracies, or inconsistencies.

© Vishy Dadsetan

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Nick Niesen

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Nick Niesen
Joined: April 29th, 2015
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