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Credit Scores Can Make A Difference

Credit Scores Can Make A Difference

Are you someone who pays more attention to the scores of last night's big games than your credit scores? If so, you could be paying more for a loan or for insurance than you should. Lenders use credit scoring systems to assess risk: How likely are you to pay back your car or home loan or make credit card payments? The answer will determine whether you get the loan or credit card and the interest rate you will pay. Other types of businesses, such as insurance companies and telephone service providers, also use credit scores to decide whether you are a risk they want to take on.

A high score means you are more likely to get the loan or insurance and pay less for it. But creditors and insurance companies may use different scoring systems. They may develop their own, based on a random sample of their clientele or potential customers, or use a standardized system. Or they may pick and choose, depending on the type of loan or insurance product. Many lenders, including credit unions, use the FICO system, a credit risk model created by the Fair Isaac Corporation. Here are key points you need to know about FICO scores:

Credit scores are based on your credit report, so make sure that information is accurate. By law, you have the right to obtain one free copy of your credit report a year from each of the three major credit reporting agencies. Contact the Annual Credit Report Request Service at P.O. Box 105281 , Atlanta, GA 30348-5281 , call 877.322.8228 or visit According to, nationally, scores break down like this: Range: Percentage of population 800+ 13% 750-799 27% 700-749 18% 650-699 15% 600-649 12% 550-599 8% 500-549 5% up to 499 2% There's no single "cutoff score" lenders use to deny credit, but the lower your score, the more you'll pay. For example, according to, if your score is between 620-639 your mortgage rate may be 1.59 percent higher than if it's more than 760. That could cost you thousands over the life of a 30-year mortgage. You can raise your score by:

For more details, talk to the loan officers at your credit union.

by Staff Writer
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