California Wildfire

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Keeping Score: A Look at Credit Ratings

Credit Report Score form

How important is your credit score? If you want to borrow money, it can mean the difference between an affordable option and no option at all. If you buy a house or a car, or your child is applying for a credit card for the first time, chances are a lender will request a credit score before making a decision.

One of the most well-known credit scorers is FICO® (Fair Isaac Corporation). It uses a range of 300 to 850 to score credit risk:

Rank
Range
Exceptional
800+
Very Good
740 - 799
Good
670 - 739
Fair
580 - 669
Poor
Below 580

Don't assume that just because your score falls in a certain range, a lender won’t talk to you. Everyone’s rules are different: One lender may approve only customers with the highest numbers, while another may offer a lower interest rate depending on your score.

3 Tips for Tiptop Scores

According to FICO®, there are three things you can do right now to help your credit score:

  1. Check your credit report. The three credit reporting companies – TransUnion, Equifax and Experian – are required to give you a free copy of your credit report every 12 months, but you must request it. For more information, visit www.annualcreditreport.com.
  2. Set up payment reminders. Late payments can have a large impact on your credit score. Payment reminders or automatic payments can help you stay on track.
  3. Reduce the amount of debt you owe. It helps to keep your balances as low as possible on your credit cards. Pay off debt rather than moving it from one card to another, and carry only as many cards as you need.

For more information on credit ratings, visit www.usa.gov/credit-reports. For tips on reducing debt and investing in your future, contact your financial advisor.

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