Resolutions: 3 steps to improve your credit score
News from The Boston Globe:

You didn’t get into a credit mess overnight, so don’t expect to get out of it quickly. It will take time to bring your credit score up, but don’t let that deter you.

Credit scores are an integral part of life, yet the ratings remain a mystery to many. Nearly 60 percent of respondents to a Visa Inc. survey incorrectly believed that employment history was factored in; almost 59 percent mistakenly thought the interest rates on their current debts played a role.

The most commonly used scoring system is produced by FICO Inc. and uses a range between 300 and 850. An individual can have several FICO scores. That’s because the company creates a separate formula for scoring various types of lending – mortgages, credit cards, auto loans – as well as other financial transactions, such as insurance.

All FICO scores weigh factors like payment history, amounts owed, length of credit history, how much new credit a borrower has sought recently, and the types of credit used (mortgages, credit cards, auto loans, and so forth).

These details are on your credit report, compiled by credit reporting agencies. There are three main ones; Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.

It’s important to know how the scores lenders use vary from the “educational’’ scores peddled by the credit reporting agencies and other companies, said Liz Weston, author…………… continues on The Boston Globe

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Soft checks for loans and credit cards: Avoid damaging your credit score
News from This is Money:

By Tara Evans

Last updated at 11:21 AM on 19th January 2012

Some comparison websites and lenders are offering customers ‘soft’ credit searches when applying for loans and credit cards. These promise to not leave a footprint on your credit rating – but how do they work? And are they reliable?

Whenever you make an application for a credit card or loan it leaves a mark on your credit score.

Applications typically make up about 10 per cent of your credit score – so making a large number of applications can have a negative impact on your rating.

Assured: Multiple applications for credit can damage your score – we explain how new ‘soft’ checks help you find the most suitable product.

James Jones of credit reference agency Experian says: ‘Every application that is made leaves a footprint on your credit report. If you’re making a lot of applications in a short space of time then this can have a negative impact on your score.’

However, some comparison sites and lenders have introduced a ‘soft’ check feature to give customers an indication if they’re likely to get accepted for a product.

The majority of fi…………… continues on This is Money

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