FICO Credit Scores

FICO scores are used to determine your credit worthiness. Your score is calculated from a number of criteria including how long you have had credit accounts, timely payments, how much of your avaible credit has been used, and any negative events like collections and legal judgments against you.

How to Raise Your Credit Score

  • Make your payments on time. This seems quite obvious, but it makes a difference. Even if you've been late in the past, current payments in recent months will increase your score.
  • If you have collections or judgments, pay them off if possible or at least make payment plan arrangements.
  • Try to minimize access to your credit report by others. Each time you get an inquiry within a 90-day period your score is decreased by as much as 5 to 7 points. Buying a car, buying furniture on credit, signing up for cell phone service, signing up for a gym membership, renting an apartment, applying for a credit card, even purchasing automobile insurance can affect your score.
  • Don't co-sign loans for others. This effects your credit score if payments are late and limits your purchasing power. If you have already co-signed for someone ask them to refinance their loan out of your name.
  • If you have no credit you should go out and apply for department store credit cards. Buy something modest and pay it off over time.
  • Don't overuse your credit. It is a good rule of thumb to never use over 50% or your available credit line. If you have a credit card with a $5000 credit limit try not let the balance get over $2500. Also along this line; applying for too many credit cards can lower you score.