Credit Scores

Credit Scores

10 Cities with the Top Credit Scores

Basically, one's credit score is a three-digit number that can be generated by a professional mathematical algorithm. It is used in order to help predict if one is at risk of failing to pay back on loans issued to them. The most popular type of credit score is the FICO score, and these scores have a range from 300 to 850. Using this system, lenders can get a better grasp on if people that are asking to lend money are more likely to pay them back or not as they are supposed to.

Credit Cards That Offer Free Monthly FICO Credit Scores

Knowing your credit score is very important to maintaining good credit. However, many people don’t understand how to go about finding their score. AnnualCreditReport.com is the only place where you can get your credit report for free, but this report can only be retrieved once per year. It used to be that the only way to get a genuine FICO credit score every month was to pay a service such as MyFICO.com or Equifax. Normally it costs between $10 and $20 per month.

Top 5 Ways to Protect Yourself from Identity Theft (and a little-known 6th)

Falling victim to identity theft is no joke. At its mildest, a small-time crook who finds your lost wallet is able to make a few purchases before the credit cards are canceled. The credit card issuers relieve you of any responsibility for the fraudulent charges and you're left with only the creepy knowledge that someone out there might still be carrying around your driver's license and pictures of your kids.

How well do you know credit? Take the VantageScore Credit Quiz and find out!

I was on CBS News this morning when an article by Kathy Kristof caught my eye. The subject was "What hurts your credit?" and, as she states right there in the title, "many have no clue."

What's a "Good" FICO Score?

Like it or not, FICO scores have become extremely important numbers in our lives.  So much so that I often refer to them as our "personal reputation" in the financial world. Disregard your FICO scores, and you may find it extremely difficult to get approved for anything from apartment rentals, auto loans, and home loans, to a new rewards credit card.  Even insurance companies are taking a look at your FICO scores these days to determine if you're a risk worth taking, so there's no doubt that keeping your scores in tip-top shape can save you a lot of hassle and money in the future.

What's a Bad Credit Score?

A few weeks ago I wrote about what "fair credit" means in the credit-scoring world, so I thought it would be a good idea to follow up on that post with a brief explanation of what "bad credit" means as well. After all, there's often a very fine line these days which separates the two categories. If you have bad credit, you're probably aware of the fact that your credit isn't stellar. But just how bad is it? Is it bad, poor, fair, or just below average? Well, to answer these questions you first need to take a close look at your real FICO scores.  I'm not talking about all the so-called "free" credit scores you can get your hands on by signing up for some random credit monitoring product or paying a few extra bucks to the credit bureaus after pulling your free credit reports.  Those scores are practically worthless and should only be used if you can get the scores for free too.

Why Your First Credit Card Shouldn't Have An Annual Fee

Next to payment history and your credit utilization ratio, "length of credit history" is the most important factor in determining your FICO credit scores.  In fact, it accounts for approximately 15% of your overall credit score, so it's definitely something you can't ignore. So what does this have to do with choosing your first credit card?  A lot!   You see, your length of credit history is primarily determined by the amount of time that's passed since your first credit card was opened, which means you want to keep your very first credit card open for as long as possible. That may sound easy in theory, but it's actually quite difficult for many credit card users.

What Does "Fair Credit" Mean?

Your credit scores aren't horrible, but they aren't spectacular either. And while there's no denying you've had some credit issues in the past, at least you've finally taken the necessary steps to get your personal finances back on track. Things are definitely heading in the right direction. So where should you begin looking when you're ready to get a new credit card that'll be a good fit for your current credit situation?  You know you want to avoid credit cards for bad credit unless there are no other options available, but your gut also tells you there's no way you'll ever get approved for some of the more appealing rewards credit cards you've found online.

Worried About Having Your Credit Checked? Here's Why You Shouldn't Care Too Much

Even if you know relatively little about how FICO scores work, you've most likely heard that when your credit is pulled it hurts your scores. I've actually found this to be the primary reason people avoid applying for new credit. In fact, friends often ask me how I manage to apply for so many of the rewards credit cards I rate and review on Creditnet.com. Shouldn't all those credit inquiries be killing my FICO scores? Well, they haven't, and I frankly don't worry about credit inquiries that much. While there's no doubt in my mind too many inquiries can hurt FICO scores, I think most of us overestimate just how big of an impact credit inquiries have on our scores.

Four Lies That Crush Our Credit Scores

I believe that all of us can conquer our credit scores. And while an 800+ credit score might not be on the immediate horizon, a “good” credit score on the other hand is certainly attainable. Unfortunately, most of us have all lied to ourselves once or twice about getting out of debt and improving our credit, even though we know that honesty is the first step to financial security. Here are some of the most common lies I've heard over the years that can crush our fragile credit scores, many of which I've been guilty of myself:

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