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He adds: “As I grew older, I became more aware of how good credit opened opportunities for advancing and enhancing my life. So I continued to work on getting an ever-better score. After a while, it not only became a goal but … a total obsession.”
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FICO, which was once named Fair Isaac Corporation, is the corporation that compiles and computes your credit score. You can start building your credit when you turn 18, and it will stick with you for your entire life. Those without a credit history are said to have no credit history (instead of a score of zero); the lowest score you can have is 300, and the upper limit is 850.
Our Credit Trends show you how you compare to other Credit Karma members. See where you stand and compare credit scores by state, age and email domain. While these comparisons are fun, they’re also an interesting way to gauge the overall credit health of Credit Karma members.
After reading this blog I can see that the average American has no clue as to how credit and credit scores work. If you don’t know how something works it is very hard to fix, or improve, it. No wonder the country is in such a poor financial shape.
Consider your credit score a “Debt Score”. Your score really reflects your ability to STAY IN DEBT, and of course, pay bills on time. When the data breach at Target happened, I checked my balances often and was actually downgraded 20 to 30 points on my fico score for accessing my bank balance too many times. How silly is that. Credit scores are a joke. Work hard, save hard and pay with cash. Over a lifetime, the average joe would save $1000’s if not $10’s of thousands in interest charges.
Alternatively, consumers wishing to obtain their credit scores can in some cases purchase them separately from the credit bureaus or can purchase their FICO score directly from FICO. Credit scores (including FICO scores) are also made available free by subscription to one of the many credit report monitoring services available from the credit bureaus or other third parties, although to actually get the scores free from most such services, one must use a credit card to sign up for a free trial subscription of the service and then cancel before the first monthly charge. Websites like WalletHub, Credit Sesame and Credit Karma provide free credit scores with no credit card required, using the TransUnion VantageScore 3.0 model. Until March 2009, holders of credit cards issued by Washington Mutual were offered a free FICO score each month through the bank’s Web site. (Chase, which took over Washington Mutual in 2008, discontinued this practice in March, 2009.)[27]Chase resumed the practice of offering a free FICO score in March, 2010 of select card members to the exclusion of the majority of former WAMU card holders.
Lower your credit utilization ratio – If your credit utilization ratio – the amount you owe compared to your total available credit – is too high, it will negatively impact your credit score. To lower your ratio, you can pay down the amount you owe, or call the credit card issuers to request a higher credit limit.
Where are you getting the scores? If it is a free credit score from Credit.com, it should have letter grades that show you which factors are helping your scores and which may be holding it down. That would tell you where to focus your efforts. It’s also a good idea to check your free annual credit reports
I’m seeing a lot of young people with this type of credit. A high score doesn’t always equate to good credit, or even if you have a high score, lenders will not always pick up for a loan. Young people tend to have hyper inflated scores because in reality, they have no credit. 1 year of paying off your card is not good enough. Lenders don’t really start taking you serious until you have had quite a few years under your belt. It took me about 3 years to get a good visa card from my credit union with a limit of $7500, and only then they did it after I had several installment loans that I paid off, and an auto loan. In the same way, not using your credit but having several open accounts is also bad. Lenders will the potential debt you could get into, and if you have 10 cards with $1000 limits each,  you have the potential debt of $10,000 and they actually take that into consideration when they look at your debt to income ratio. The best way is to open maybe 2 cards (major cards not store as they have high interest rates) and use them only occassionally being sure to pay them off in 1 month.
Americans are entitled to one free credit report in every 12-month period from each of the three credit bureaus, but are not entitled to receive a free credit score. The three credit bureaus run Annualcreditreport.com, where users can get their free credit reports. Credit scores are available as an add-on feature of the report for a fee. If the consumer disputes an item on a credit report obtained using the free system, under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), the credit bureaus have 45 days to investigate, rather than 30 days for reports obtained otherwise.[26]
To take the right steps to boost your score, you need to start by understanding the basics of credit scores. The FICO credit score is the most widely used score in lending decisions and ranges from 300 to 850. A FICO score of 750 to 850 is considered excellent, and those with a score in that range have access to the lowest rates and best loan terms, according to myFICO.com, the consumer division of FICO. A score of 700 to 749 is good, and those with a score in this range will likely be approved for loans but might pay a slightly higher interest rate. A score of 650 to 699 is considered fair, and those with a score in this range will pay higher rates and could even be declined for loans and credit, according to myFico.com.
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Whole thing seems to be a scam to me. I have credit cards, two mortgage payments, car payments – never missed – never late and my credit score drops because I shop for better rates. My thought … someone does not want to do business with me – fine by me but so far when the question comes up – I demand the interest rate of the day and somehow they always come through when I threaten to walk. Home loan #1 3.2, Home loan #2 4.2 – will redo it when the value of the property increases, car loan #1 1.9, car loan #2 1.9. Yes I have a card that is loaded to capacity because I transferred others to it because it’s 0% interest. So my thought is – let the reporting agencies play their games – I’ll keep playing mine
Considering these things, your credit score is one of the most important numbers in your life. It can affect every action you take, from the house you live in to the car you drive. Taking steps to improve your 798 credit score is the best way to save money and make your life easier down the road. There’s no excuse to not improve your credit score!
Having negative information on your credit report, such as late payments, civil judgments, or too many hard inquiries, can make it more difficult to get approved for credit cards and loans with favorable rates and terms. The good news is that this negative information will be automatically removed from your credit repot after a set time period.

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Even if you have no plans to borrow right now, good credit can come in handy in case of a medical emergency or in the event you want to buy a house or car and need to finance it. But if credit cards make you uncomfortable, you don’t need them for good credit. Good luck to you.
It doesn’t matter what your credit score is these day . Mine is 715. I think it’s all biased ! I’ve been struggling for 14 years since my husband passed away & on a decent fixed income. I’ve never been late paying any of my utility, rent. or loan obligations needed to survive. I’ve purchased 2 cars, both were payed off a year in advance. I had to recently purchase a used car that turned out to be a lemon because I could not be approved for a new car because of my credit score. What ! They should change the point system. Not everyone wants to get in debt to get out of debt. I surely don’t. So much for freedom of speech & the home of the free. We are living under American communism ruled by capitalist. So how free are we? So much for what the American Flag stands for & what our forefathers came to America for to have a better life !
If you score is high enough on the GMAT to get into your top-choice graduate school, do you need to take the exam again in an attempt to raise your score further? Likewise, if your credit score is already excellent, what is the benefit of making it perfect and what would be the cost of doing so?
Until Credit Bureaus are truly regulated and focus on cleaning up their error riddled database consisting of anyone using unverified methods of submitting often false or mis-represented credit information to all three credit bureaus. These bureaus have a financial incentive to focus on selling those, who simply want their credit corrected, overpriced worthless monitoring products while making the effort of correcting false reported info difficult and based solely upon “their members” verification. The FCRA needs amended to overhaul the entire credit reporting system and place oversight under ONE entity with power to significantly fine up to $5 mil in egregious errors that are robbing consumers of billions of dollars and lining the pockets of both the creditors and the bureaus. Republicans are blind to the real underlying issues and the current regulations simply need to be enforced.
Some of these have different credit score ranges, so while VantageScore 3.0 and FICO scores run from 300 – 850, there are others that may run from 501-990 or 360–840, for example. You can generally find out what score’s in use by looking at the sheet or site on which the score is being supplied.
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For some outside perspectives on just how realistic reaching the top of the credit-score scale is and how fruitful of an accomplishment that would be, we posed the following questions to a panel of personal finance experts. Meet them and see what they had to say, below.

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