Know Your FICO Score
FICO measures credit-worthiness. Underwriters have determined that people with low FICO scores default on loans with far greater frequency than do their higher scoring peers, so they use three credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union — to determine your score in several ways:
1. Delinquencies: A 30-day late payment is less risky than a 90-day late payment.
2. New credit: Your score drops when you open several credit accounts in a short period, as you may be unable to meet new credit obligations.
3. A long credit history is better than a newly established one.
4. A consumer with “maxed out” cards may have trouble with payments.
5. Public records: Tax liens and bankruptcies jeopardize a healthy FICO score.
6. The use of consumer credit counseling agencies may lower scores.
7. Small balances, no late payments show responsibility.
8. Too few revolving accounts: If you fail to use credit, there is no way to evaluate your ability to manage it.
9. Too many revolving accounts may mean overextension.
10. Really important! Credit scores affect interest rates. Some lenders establish lower interest for high FICO scores and vice versa.