If you are dealing with financial problems it is important you be aware of and to understand the meaning of your credit score. Your credit score is one of the most important factors affecting your financial health. Once you understand how your credit score is created and used, you can take the steps necessary to improve the number lenders use to evaluate whether or not you are a good lending risk.
Not a Single Number
One of the most surprising things people learn is that they actually have several different credit scores. As crazy as it might seem, each of the three main credit bureaus has its own proprietary scoring method. Furthermore, each of the bureaus might provide more than one score to a potential creditor. In some cases, a lender will pull your scores from at least two different providers and compare the results.
Knowing what is on each of your credit reports is extremely important. One time per year or just prior to applying for a loan, ask to receive copies of your credit reports and evaluate the information included on each. If anything is incorrect, get the mistake fixed before moving forward with your loan application.
For tips on getting a mistake removed from your credit report, see this informative article from ABC News.
Changes Can Come as a Surprise
There are many things that can affect your credit score in addition to taking on more debt. Each of the following affects your credit score, so by monitoring your activity, you protect your score:
• Utilization of open credit cards
• Percent of on-time payments
• Number of derogatory marks
• Age of open lines of credit
• Total number of accounts
• Total number of hard credit inquiries
Unfortunately, even small drops in your number can make a big difference if you are trying to get your credit back on track. If your score is relatively high, there’s probably no reason to worry about small changes. However, it is important to note any changes that are significant and keep track of what you can do to prevent any negative changes.
Credit Scores are Not the “End All Be All” of Lending
Granted, lenders will judge you by the three digit number that is your credit score, but they will also take other factors into account. Their goal is to determine if you are a good risk. They want to lend to you – it’s how they make money – but if they are afraid they will not be repaid, they are not going to take the risk. Rejection from a lender is nothing personal it just means your credit portfolio was cause for concern.
It might take some time, but eventually things drop off your credit report and your score improves. Your goal is to be diligent about making payment on time, keep your balances low, and make responsible decisions with borrowing money.
If you are concerned about your credit situation or you feel your debt is driving you into a downward spiral, we can help. Contact the Law Offices of Robert M. Geller at 813.254.5696 to discuss your situation and determine what you can do to create a brighter financial future.