Q: What is the range for a credit score?
A: Credit scores range between 300 to 850. A score of 700 or above is good. A score of 740 or above is excellent. On average, people have a score between 600 and 750.
Q: How is a credit score determined?
A: Your credit score is generated each time it is requested by a lender according to the credit scoring model of their choice. The information that impacts a credit score varies depending on the scoring model being used. There are a variety of elements that can affect your credit report, such as payment history for loans and credit cards. This includes the number and severity of late payments, the total number of credit accounts, type and age of accounts, credit utilization rate, total debt, how many new credit accounts you’ve recently opened and number of inquiries into your credit report.
Q: How can my credit score be improved?
A: Information (such as late payments and delinquencies) remain on your credit report for 7-10 years. In the FICO scoring model, your payment history is one of the most important components. When you bring your accounts current and pay your bills on time, it can have a positive impact on your credit score. It's important to keep your credit utilization rate (the sum of all your revolving debt divided by the total credit available to you) below 30% of your total income. That is because a high credit utilization rate can negatively impact your credit score. In addition, credit scoring models often factor in the age of your oldest account and the average age of all of your accounts, rewarding those with longer credit histories. Therefore, it could be better to leave an account open once you’ve paid it off rather than closing it.
Q: How can I build my credit?
A: If you have limited credit or are unable to demonstrate that you have sufficient income to support your debts, you may need a co-signer to qualify for a loan. Having a co-signer on a credit card, with responsible usage, is a great way to help establish credit. You can also open a Secured Personal Loan to help build your credit.
Q: How can I get a free credit report?
A: It's highly recommended that you check your credit report regularly to stay informed of your current standing. Checking your own credit score doesn’t lower it. It creates a different kind of inquiry, known as a soft inquiry. This check on your credit isn’t considered when calculating your score, so there’s no harm in checking it. Each year, you can request a copy of your credit report for free from each of the three credit bureaus: Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. Get yours at annualcreditreport.com or call 877.322.8228.
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