Credit Score

Your credit score is your golden ticket to all kinds of financial events and offerings in your adult life. If you keep it well, it will grow and thrive and reward you with many good things like low interest rates and affordable loan terms. If you don't care for it, you can create a financial hurdle for your future in a variety of ways. The calculation of your score depends on many factors, including things like:

  • Length of credit history
  • Amount of credit used
  • Debt-to-income ratio
  • Balance-to-credit limit ratio
  • Negative/overdue/unpaid accounts

Key tips for understanding credit scores:

Your credit history doesn't just include credit cards. It also includes loans, personal lines of credit, judgments and other financial litigation matters, and other financial elements that affect your worthiness as a borrower in the eyes of lenders. Before the recession, getting credit was a lot easier and credit scores didn't have to be as high. Today, even though so many suffered in the past few years, lenders are looking for a lot more from borrowers before they approve their financing.

You can check your credit score any time that you want. Annually, you are entitled to a free credit report from all three credit bureaus, but this is just a report without a score included. To get your score, you will need to find a credit monitoring service that can give you your report and score. These services often cost money, but there are some instances where you can use a free trial to get a single copy of your score and report if you don't need the continued monitoring that they offer. It's helpful to check your credit score before you apply for a mortgage, car loan, or financial aid for college.

Advice on finding out your credit score:

Although each lender is a little different and the charts might vary, most scores sit on a standard rating scale. For reference, standard score ranges are:

  • 740-850: Excellent
  • 680-739: Good
  • 620-679: Average
  • 560-619: Poor
  • Below 559: Bad

Checking your credit score requires finding a site that offers reputable service, an easy signup and cancellation policy, and a valuable tool that you can utilize in checking and learning about your financial history. There are some credit cards that offer free credit scores for their members, but these are usually cards that include annual fees or that are specifically designed for users with bad credit. Make sure that you find the best monitoring tools so that you can get more from your credit score.

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