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Credit Scores

Everything from buying a car, getting a loan, or obtaining insurance is controlled by our credit score.  Each of the three major credit bureaus uses a scoring method for rating their consumers.  Equifax calls it a BEACON Score, Trans Union the EMPIRICA Score and Experian the FAIR ISAAC, or Credit Bureau.

These scores range from a low of 300 to a high of 850. Our average client has a score from the mid-500 to the mid-600 level.  Less than half a percent of the population has a score above 800.  The following is a list of what the credit bureaus base a client's score on:

  • 35% of a credit score is based on bill paying habits.  A timely payment history will maintain a high score, but any late payments will subtract points.  A string of 30-day late payments is worse than one 60-day late.
  • 30% of the score is derived from the amount owed in comparison to the available credit limit.  Keep balances at or below 30% of the available credit limit for maximum points.
  • 15% of your score is based on length of credit history.  Keeping an old card even at a higher rate could help the score.  Points are given to those who use credit cards actively and responsibly.
  • 10% is based on the mixture of types of credit.  The most points are gained from the combination of a mortgage, car or school loan (installment) and credit card (revolving) accounts is good.
  • 10% is founded from the pursuit for new credit.  Looking for a mortgage loan will not cost you, but applying for new credit cards every month will.

A majority of lenders use Credit Bureau scores as the method to estimate an applicant's credit risk.  People with high Credit Bureau scores are likely to repay loans and credit cards more consistently than those with low Credit Bureau scores.  Although Credit Bureau scores are remarkably predictive, no one can predict with certainty whether or not an applicant will repay a credit account.

Accurate negative information can generally be reported for 7 years, but there are exceptions:

  • Bankruptcy information can be reported for 10 years.
  • Information reported as part of an application for a job with a salary of more than $75,000 has no time limitation.
  • Information reported because of an application for more than $150,000 worth of credit or life insurance has no time limitation.
  • Information concerning a lawsuit or a judgment can be reported for seven years or until the statute of limitations runs out, whichever is longer.
  • Default information concerning U.S. Government insured or guaranteed student loans can be reported for seven years after certain guarantor actions.

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