Credit Reports and FICO Scores
Establishing credit is essential in modern society, as it is generally required for borrowing money. We’ve built this resource to help you to learn more about your credit, credit reports, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, FICO scores, credit repair, and other credit issues.
Important Credit Information
- Credit Repair: How to Help Yourself – From the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
- The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) – from the FTC. FCRA links and info
How to Get Your Free Credit Report
Under Federal Law, all U.S. citizens are entitled one Free Credit Report every 12 months, from all three nationwide credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. To obtain that free report, you must go to AnnualCreditReport.com. This is the Only Official free reporting service authorized by the 3 agencies.
Credit Reporting Agencies
Identity theft is a major problem that we all face. Monitoring your credit file can help alert you to fraudulent activities like when someone tries to get credit in your name – so you can act before serious damage is done.
Lenders use credit scores such as the FICO to calculate interest rates and credit limits. FICO is a score based on mathematical formula developed by the Fair Isaac Corporation. It is the most widely used score in the U.S.
There are several important determinants of your FICO:
- 35% punctuality of payment in the past
- 30% capacity used, i.e., ratio of current revolving debt (e.g. credit card balances) to total available revolving credit (e.g. credit limits)
- 15% length of credit history
- 10% types of credit used (installment, revolving)
- 10% amount of credit obtained in the recent past
The above percentages are approximate. Current income and employment history do not influence the FICO score. Generally, FICO scores range from 300 – 850. Scores at the higher end of the scale reflect a better credit rating.
Improving Your Payment History
- Pay your bills on time. Delinquent payments and all collections can have a major negative impact on your score.
- If you are having trouble making ends meet, contact your creditors or see a credit counselor. This won’t improve your score immediately, but as you begin to manage your credit and pay your bills on time, your score will improve over time.
- If you have missed payments, get current and remain current. The longer you continue to pay your bills on time, the better your score will be.
- Pay off your debt rather than moving it around. The most effective way to improve your score in this area is by paying down all of your revolving credit.
- Keep balances low on credit cards and other “revolving credit.” Having large amounts of outstanding debt can affect your score negatively.
- Don’t close unused credit cards as a short-term strategy to raise your score.
- Don’t open credit cards that you don’t need just to increase your available credit.
General Credit Info:
(Click image to Enlarge) – Source
For more tips on improving your credit, visit improve your score from MyFICO.com.