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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

How is Your Credit Score Measured?

By Pat Johnson

While there is no guarantee that past performance is indicative of future behavior, this is the model lenders have employed with respect to credit worthiness. They use your credit score, which is a summary of your past loans, as a measure of how likely you are to repay your debts.

There are three main credit reporting agencies. They collect all of the details of your credit accounts and compile them for easy reference. The data includes payment history, balances, and number of accounts. Then lenders can access this information as part of their loan adjudication process.

You are entitled to a copy of your credit report once a year at no cost. This is not the same as obtaining your credit score, which the bureaus will charge you for. You can write to the reporting agencies to request your copy.

You may sometimes encounter your credit score being referred to as your FICO. This is because the Fair Isaac Corporation was among the first to create a credit scoring system. Lenders use this system differently in their adjudication of risk, but it is certainly near universally applied to some extent.

As much as the credit bureaus endeavor to maintain impeccably accurate records, occasionally mistakes do happen. For this reason it is very important to check your credit report regularly. If you do discover any errors or omissions they are easier to fix the sooner they are identified.

Because your credit score it so vital in being approved for credit, it is critical that you do your best to safeguard it. Above all else make every effort to pay your debt obligations on time. Nothing brings your credit score down faster than late payments.

There are a few more things you can do to help yourself in this area as well. Lenders frown an applicants that have a great number of open accounts on their bureau and more so if they are maxed out. They also do not like credit seekers so you should try to keep bureau inquiries to a minimum. It is difficult to bring your score back up once it falls, so do you best to keep it in good standing.

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