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Now What? Let's Crunch Some Numbers:

Determining Your Credit Score

Part 1

Step One: Determine Your Credit Score

So earlier we broke down exactly what goes into your credit score (if you didn’t read it, go back now and do so), but now we need to actually find out what your current score is.  There are a couple ways you can access this information:

 

  • Some credit card issuers will provide a free FICO score on your account statement.  Check your most recent statements to see if any of your card issuers include this service.
  • You can purchase your score through FICO itself.
  • You can access a free credit score through a provider like Credit Karma.

 

If you are unable to view your credit score through you credit card issuer, we recommend looking into a free provider before purchasing any services directly from FICO.  Do note, though, that you are typically limited in how often you can view your score for free through these providers, and that they will often try to sell you additional services such as fraud protection.  You are under no obligation to purchase these services.

 

Now that you have your score, let’s look at it more closely.  While there is no set-in-stone rule for what is a good score and what is a poor one, there are some industry guidelines that you can use to determine where you fall in the world of credit.  Keep in mind that these are very general and individual loan issuers will have their own standards for their products.    

 

No Credit

This means that you have no credit history – nothing has ever been reported to the credit bureaus about you.  Oftentimes you will be denied requests for credit due to your lack of history, so you may need to opt for a retailer-specific card, secured card, or co-signer in order to start building a credit history.

 

300-499

Scores in this range are considered very poor.  You will likely be denied any requests for credit at this point, so your primary goal should be to improve your score.

 

500-659

These scores are considered poor to average.  While you will likely be able to open a credit line with one of these scores, you may receive higher interest rates or a lower credit limit than those with a higher score.  For personal loans a co-signer may be necessary.

 

660-850

This range covers scores ranked from above average to excellent.  You will qualify for better incentives and rewards cards, have a lower interest rate, and be more likely to receive credit or a loan in general.

 

With this information in hand, you can begin to see where you fall on the credit score scale.  Adopting better financial habits and lowering your total debt will automatically help boost a low score, but there are several other practices that will help you get extra mileage out of your credit score.  

Coins

Want to read this later? Download this guide as a PDF or eBook.

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