Credit Scores

Credit Scores

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 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:

The Risks of Piggybacking

If you didn't already get the memo, piggybacking still works! I know I've written about this topic before, but this is just one of those posts that needs to be resurrected every now and then. In fact, for those that have no credit at all, piggybacking remains one of the fastest ways to add positive credit history to credit reports and give your FICO scores an immediate boost.  I recommend it quite often to parents and spouses who are interested in helping a child or significant other build credit from scratch, even though the practice continues to receive a lot of bad press. But while I consider piggybacking to be a rather safe credit-building technique, it's also important to understand that it's not risk free.  Especially if you're the one seeking to build credit, there's one big risk to consider before you're added as an authorized user on anyone's account. What if the account holder responsible for the card eventually racks up a bunch of credit card debt and stops paying?  How would that affect you?

Spring Clean Your Credit in 5 Easy Steps

Spring is a time of renewal and rejuvenation. For many, there's just something about the spring season that makes us want to declutter life and move forward with a fresh start. This might include scrubbing the entire house from floor to ceiling or finally getting around to cleaning out piles of junk from the old attic. But what about all the financial clutter that makes its way into our lives? Shouldn't it get some attention too?

New Data Shows Inquiries Have Little Effect on FICO Scores

It's true that too many credit inquiries can have a negative effect on FICO scores, but my experience has been that most people focus WAY too much on this small factor in the FICO credit-scoring model. In fact, I receive emails quite often from both readers and personal friends who are concerned about something as simple as applying for a new airline miles credit card because they're planning on financing a new home or a car in the next 12 months. Their reasoning is they don't want to risk taking any sort of unnecessary hit to their credit scores before applying for a major loan, and I completely understand that. I wouldn't apply for new credit within a month or two of closing on a home loan either.

Get Free FICO Scores with Walmart Credit Card

We're always on the hunt for new ways to get your hands on free FICO Scores. Not the "FAKO" scores that credit bureaus and free credit report sites will try to pawn off on you, but real FICO scores. You know, the ones lenders actually use to assess your risk as a borrower.

Why FAFSA Denied Me Over $9

I'm sad to say I was immediately rejected when I applied for a student loan through FAFSA a few months ago. The reason: I had a credit card bill that was beyond 180 days late. And just what was my unpaid balance? A skimpy $9...ugh! Unfortunately, I had completely forgotten about a small purchase I made on eBay several months prior. I had racked up interest in the amount of $4 and some change, a bunch of negative marks on my credit reports, and then I was forced to deal with the whole hassle of getting denied for a graduate school loan I really needed. All of that pain for 9 bucks.

How Credit Builder Loans Work

I'm not a big advocate of credit builder loans because they essentially promote taking on debt for the sole purpose of building credit, and I don't think that's a very smart way to approach the credit-scoring game. However, credit builder loans might be a decent option for those who feel like their back is up against the wall because they've run out of traditional ways to build credit. If this includes you, here's a brief explanation of how credit builder loans work and why you might find them useful on your credit-building journey.


Home / Blog / Category / Taxonomy term