Call for Action has received a number of requests from consumers for more information about credit scoring and why it affects your interest rates. Bottom line, a good credit score depends on your credit report and any discrepancies on it can be devastating.
Applying for a mortgage? Credit card? cell phone? car loan? Chances are the interest rate you'll be charged will depend on your credit score.
"a high score means low interest rate a low score means a very high interest rate."-Steve Bucci, Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Southern New Englad
There are five major factors that make up your credit score.
1. your payment record
2. how much you owe (debt)
3. how long you've had credit with one company
4. the types of accounts you have (gas card, store card), varying types are favored
5. keeping the amount of cards you have under control (not having any credit cards is not favored)
A credit score ranges from 300 to 900 points, if you're score hits below620, you're not eligible for the lowest interest rate and that could mean you pay thousands of dollars more in extra interest payments.
"Inaccuracy's are a big problem..."-Bucci
Because credit reports do have discrepancies, it's important you check yours at least once a year, ignoring it could cost you. "So if you pull it once a year that gives you the opportunity to clear up any discrepancies before you go out and apply for a loan that way there are no surprises."- Steve Bucci
If you live in Massachusetts you can obtain your credit report once a year for free. In Rhode Island there is a $7 fee. When you request your credit report, make sure you ask for your credit score, if you don't ask, you may not get it.
Experian www.experian.com (866)200-6020
Trans Union www.tuc.com (800)680-7289
Equifax www.equifax.com (800)525-6285
**Massachusetts residents: unless you ask for a FREE credit report, you will be charged! Make sure you say "I'd like to exercise my option for a free credit report!"
Also, here is the website to get your credit score (there may be a small fee for this)www.myfico.com