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Understanding the Factors in Your Credit Score

by on June 10, 2008

Everyone knows that you need to have a good credit score if you want to get good loans. With a good credit score, you can get favorable interest rates and great rewards on credit cards. You can also qualify for higher loan limits and get approved for big loans such as home mortgages. With a bad credit score, you face limitations on what loans you can get and the ones that you do qualify for tend to come with terms that are definitely not in your favor. Well, this is important stuff to know but it’s useless to you if you don’t actually understand what your credit score is and how to make yours better.  Understanding all of the different factors that contribute to calculating to your credit score is the place to begin.

The first thing you should know is what a credit score is. Basically, it’s a number that is assigned to you which is intended to sum up your entire credit history. It factors in all of the details of your credit ranging from how much outstanding debt you have to own often you’ve been late on payments in the past.

Using a calculation for this information, it results in a number that is called your credit score. A low number means that you have a bad credit score and a high number means that you have a good credit score.

The next thing that you should know is that there is more than one way to arrive at this number. Your credit score is almost always synonymous with your FICO score, the most common method use for getting your credit score. However, there are other ways of calculating the credit score that might be used. In particular, each of the credit bureaus has its own method for calculating your credit score. For most people, it’s enough to be concerned solely with the FICO score since this is the credit score that most lenders are going to use. However it’s good to be aware that there are other credit scores out there and that you might want to see what yours is through these other places.

When reviewing your credit score, you may find it difficult to determine whether your score is high or low. Using the FICO scoring method, your credit score will range from 300 to 850. This can be very leading because it makes it seem like somewhere around 550, the midway point, should be an average credit score but that’s not the case. Instead, an average credit score is between 650 and 799. If you have a credit score in this range, you should be able to qualify for good terms on most loans that you’re seeking. If you have a credit score higher than this, you are considered to have excellent credit and shouldn’t have any trouble getting great loans. If your credit score is lower than 650, your ability to get good loans goes down considerably.

So now you know that you’ve got a bad credit score. What can you do about it? The credit score is based on five different factors which you can improve on in order to get a better score in the near future. Those factors are on-time payments, debt-to-credit ratio, how long you’ve had a credit history, the type of credit you have and the number of credit applications you’ve filed recently. To improve your score, you need to pay down on your debts and avoid late payments and new credit applications.

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