Forum Rules (Everyone Must Read!!!) (updated: 04/28/2015)

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Anatomy of a Credit Score

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  • Anatomy of a Credit Score

    Wonder how credit scores are created and how to increase your FICO scores? Here are the answers from MSN Money at

    Anatomy of a Credit Score
    By Toddy Gutner, BusinessWeek

    During a shopping spree a few months ago, I opened several retail credit-card accounts to take advantage of an immediate 10% discount on that day's purchases. Surely this familiar offer was risk-free as long as I paid my bills on time, right?

    It wasn't until I reported this story that I found out my credit score could have been negatively affected by the spate of new accounts I opened in such a short time. I had no idea.

    Many people are ignorant of what their credit score is, how they can hurt or help that score and how it can be used against them. Some 49% of 1,013 consumers polled in a 2005 survey by the Consumer Federation of America and Fair Isaac did not understand that credit scores measure credit risk. Fair Isaac created FICO, the most widely used credit-score formula.

    Lenders have used these scores for years to determine whether to grant you a loan and at what interest rate. "Credit scores are very powerful predictors of consumers' future (bill-paying) performance," says Mike Fratantoni, a senior research director at the Mortgage Bankers Association. But with the rise of technology that can automatically assess consumer creditworthiness while you wait, FICO scores now are requested by insurance companies, cell-phone providers, utilities, landlords and even prospective employers. That's a reason to make managing your FICO score a priority.

    Recipe for a credit score

    But first, just what is a credit score? To calculate a score, Fair Isaac uses 22 pieces of data collected from the three major credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). The lowest possible score is 300, while the highest is 850.

    The final number is a composite of individual ratings in five categories:
    - Payment history (35% of the rating)
    - Length of credit history (15%)
    - New credit (10%)
    - Types of credit used (10%)
    - Debt (30%)

    Income is not a factor. "A person can have a very high income and never pay their bills," explained Craig Watts, public affairs manager for Fair Isaac.

    Fair Isaac calculates a FICO score based on the data provided by each credit bureau. It's not uncommon to see up to a 50-point differential between ratings. The reason: Bureaus collect data at different times of the month, and one bureau may have inaccurate information.

    The higher the score, the lower the risk you are to a creditor -- and the less interest you'll pay. Only 13% of the population has FICO scores of 800 or above; the median is 723. There is no single cut-off for loans, however, and cut-offs employed vary from industry to industry. Generally, borrowers with scores above 740 receive the best rates.

    To see how a change in your FICO score affects how much you'll pay, consider this example. On a $350,000, 30-year fixed mortgage, you'll pay 6.24% in interest and $2,153 a month if you score between 720 and 850. If your score drops to between 620 and 674, your interest rate jumps to 8.05%, and your monthly cost rises to $2,581. You will pay an additional $154,131 over the life of the loan, according to a calculator on

    Keep an eye on your score
    I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice nor a statement of the law - only a lawyer can provide those.

    06/01/06 - Filed Ch 13
    06/28/06 - 341 Meeting
    07/18/06 - Confirmation Hearing - not confirmed, 3 objections
    10/05/06 - Hearing to resolve 2 trustee objections
    01/24/07 - Judge dismisses mortgage company objection
    09/27/07 - Confirmed at last!
    06/10/11 - Trustee confirms all payments made
    08/10/11 - DISCHARGED !

    10/02/11 - CASE CLOSED
    Countdown: 60 months paid, 0 months to go

  • #2
    Thanks! Great post!


    • #3
      Ways to Improve Credit Score: Common Sense Methods to Improve Credit Score

      Ways to Improve Credit Score

      Common Sense Methods to Improve Credit Score

      How to improve credit score? In our previous article on Understanding FICO Score, we touched on five main factors that affect your FICO score. These are :

      Payment History
      Amounts Owed
      Length of credit history
      New Credits
      Types of Credits Used

      There have been lots of articles written on how to improves your credit score. According to, which is run by Fair Isaac, the firm that invented FICO, there are just a few basic things to do. Most are pretty common sensical.

      With regards to payment history, make sure you just simply pay your bills on time. If you are late once, do not be late again. Stay current on all payments. Any collection accounts stay on your credit report for 7 years. Hence, just to reiterate, be current on your bills.

      With regards to amount owed, keep your balance low relative to your available credit. Hence, if your credit limit on all your credit cards is $20,000, carrying a balance of $2,000 is preferable than carrying a $15,000 balance. MyFICO also suggests paying off your debt rather than moving it around. They also suggest not to close unused credit cards as this may lower your score because it affects your utlization rate - ie amount of balance you carry versus your available credit. Closing your unsed credit cards lowers the available credit you have. However, opening too many new credit cards simply to increase your available credit limit may also backfire.

      For those with a short credit history, MyFICO suggest against opening to many lines of credit too fast. So if you want to get an American Epxress, a Visa and a Mastercard, space out your application over a certain period of time.

      With regards to new credit, MyFICO suggests that when you are shopping around for a new loan to do it within a short time frame. Credit bureaus do recognize that when you are shopping for a mortgage or auto loan, you need to sniff around to get the best rate. Though they frown upon people apply for too many credit cards too soon, they will recognize that you are shopping around for best rate when you are applying for some other loan.

      If you have bad credit history, opening new accounts and paying your bills time and responsibly will improve your score in the long run.

      Under the types of credit used category, MyFICO suggests against opening new accounts just to "get a better credit mix". Open new accounts only when you need to. Having a credit card and using it responsibly is better than having no credit cards. So if you only believe in using cash, think twice and get a credit card. Another tip they gave is that closing your account will not make it go away. It stays in your credit report.

      Summary - To sum up, these are the few basic things MyFICO says you can do to improve your credit score. Even if you did not read this article, it all boils down to three basic things.

      Pay your bills on time - if you are always having problems, set up automatic payments from your bank account

      Do not have any debt if possible and if you have debt, reduce it rather than add to it and move them around

      Do not apply for credit if you do not need one - if you do not have many credit cards for example, you would never face the situation of asking yourself if you should close these accounts or not

      If you are looking to get a new loan, shop for it within a short time frame
      July 2006: Filed Ch13 :blink:
      Oct 2006: Converted to Ch7 :clapping:
      Jan 2007: DISCHARGED :clapping:
      Nov 2007: CLOSED :yahoo::yahoo::yahoo:


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