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What’s in a Credit Score?

By: Larry Goldberg

Your credit score is basically a three-digit number that tells lenders how likely you are to pay your bills and pay them on time. Your credit score is composed of a number of things, such as how well you’ve paid your debts over time, the number of credit card accounts and other loans you have available at one time, and if you’ve been reported for having paid your monthly bills late.

Credit scores range from 300 to 900, with a majority of people having an average credit score between 600 and 800. The higher number credit score that is attributed to you, the better your chances of obtaining a credit card, a new car loan, or a home loan, just to cite a few examples.

Check credit score should be at the top of your priority list before applying for a new loan. Your credit report helps determine if you are a good financial risk to repay a loan. Federal law now mandates that every person is entitled to a free credit report once a year.

Statistics show that about 35 percent of your total credit score relates to how you’ve paid your debts in the past. About 30 percent of your score relates to how much debt you currently have outstanding. Fifteen percent of your credit score is related to the length of your credit history; that’s important as well. Ten percent looks at the question, how many credit applications have you replied to in a short period of time? It’s never a good idea to send in applications for more than one credit card at a time. The remaining ten percent looks at your mix of credit card usage and any installment loans you may have. An average credit score of around 700 will net you a positive outcome with your lender and will most likely assure you of a lower interest rate.

If your credit report indicates you owe payments to several different lenders, that might be an indication that you are already stretched to the limit and it would be unwise to give you another loan opportunity.

It is wise to check credit score reports at least once a year. The higher your credit score, the lower your interest rate is likely to be. A lower interest rate can make a huge difference in the amount of interest you pay on your loan, whether it’s a credit card, a car loan, or a home loan. A higher credit score means you are a good candidate for a loan because you have proven to pay your debts in the recent past.


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