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:

What Your Credit Score Means

Rank 

Exceptional

Very Good

Good

Fair

Poor

 

Ratings

800+

740-799

670-739

580-669

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.

Three tips for tip-top scores

According to FICO,® you can do three things 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. To learn more, visit 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 usa.gov. For tips on reducing debt and investing in your future, contact your Edward Jones financial advisor.