The Credit Score
In the late 1980’s, the FICO Score (you can accredit it for the analytics company of the same name) was designed to calculate how trustworthy a borrower was, keeping financial institutions in the know. Today, companies like Equifax and Transunion help sort through massive piles of payment information and generate reports that speak to your trustworthiness in that all-important three-digit number: the credit score.
With time, you’d expect things to have changed drastically in how these scores are generated. But despite decades of evolving consumer trends pivots, the credit score remains, more or less, the same. It takes into consideration your debt history, your current debt level, recent debt, the type of debt you’ve accumulated and how long you’ve been stuck at a level of debt.
So what are the lesser known facts and truths about credit scores and reports? Why do these little truths matter in the long run? If you’re searching for that next solution to help boost your rating, every bit of actionable financial management information helps. Be sure to absorb these truths about credit scores and reports and you’ll see improvement sooner than you think.
1. It’s a pretty common misconception, but checking your score won’t actually affect your credit rating.This myth has seen a large amount of traction, but its largely unfounded in reality. When creditors request a credit check to ensure you’re trustworthy within their degrees of acceptability, your score may be slightly affected, however paying one of the credit score companies to see your own score won’t be detrimental to your score in any way.
2. Your score, even after insolvency, foreclosure or bankruptcy, can be improved. There’s hope, even after demoralizing financial loss. Your numbers aren’t set in stone, and although they may make obtaining a low-interest loans or a particular living arrangement difficult, your score will improve as you continue to practice healthy, credit-building habits, such as paying bills on time, keeping credit card debt low, keeping your financials in check in case something unexpected arises and more.
3. Your credit score, and report, may not be completely accurate. Although it doesn’t happen particularly often, creditors can make mistakes when it comes to your past payment history. If you notice anything on your credit report that doesn’t quite make sense, be sure to send an inquiry immediately. Many believe that what creditor reports are without error and beyond their comprehension. It might surprise you, but you have the power to dispute claims, and, with evidence, you can remove these inaccurate fragments in your credit history. Noticing any payments marked as late or unpaid and cross referencing with you own data and history might just give you the score you deserve.
4. You have access to a free report, no matter what you’ve heard. It’s always nice to have information on-demand, which is why credit report companies charge you for a digital copy of your report. That $20-$40 charge can be circumvented if you fill out a form, attach two pieces of government issued ID and wait for your report to come to you. With you’re hoping to track your report over a shorter period of time, this method is likely the most optimal, although there are many plans that allow for unlimited access to your credit report and score (for a monthly fee, of course).
5. Reaching your credit card’s limit canimpact your credit score. It might not come as a surprise to some, but maxing out your credit cards (and carrying large amounts of debt for long periods), can impact your credit score. Exceeding your limit and carrying multiple cards can cause damage to your score, but this unpopular fact often catches people by surprise. In a recent report, a maximum drop of 45 points could be expected from reaching your limit on cards over longer periods of time.
6. Your credit score doesn’t define you as a person. It’s hard to be labeled as a number, especially if you’ve struggled in the past to escaper insolvency or bankruptcy. Creditors can see improvements in your history as you begin a new leaf, however these things take time to boost your report past sub-prime levels. Don’t let a low credit score discourage you; just like all financial decisions, looking to the future and enduring the present as best you can with mindfulness will lead to security later on. Don’t let a number define you; improve your score for yourself and your family as something you owe to yourself and those closest to you.