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Credit Scores

Your credit is one of your most valuable assets.  It is important to know what your score is, how your score works, and how to keep it safe.

What is a FICO score?
Your FICO score is the score card for how well you have managed your credit and the likelihood of your abilty to repay a loan or a service over a two to three year period.   

Who dertimines my score?
There are three main companies/bureaus that monitor credit and establish scores: Transunion / Experin / Equifax.

What is a good score? 
A credit score can range from 350-850.  An excellent credit score is 720 or better.  There are loan programs that will allow you to get a loan with poor to okay credit, but remember that you will always pay a higher interest rate without a good score. 

How often does my credit score change?
Your credit score is a moving target because your credit information is updated every month by your creditors.

Why is my score so important? 
Your score is important for many reasons.  Most businesses want to make sure that you are able to pay your bills before they give you loans and services.  Many people don't realize that their credit score affects their insurance preimums.  A person's credit score can also impact their abilty to obtain cable TV, phone service, homes loans, car loans, lines of credit, business loans and serveral other services.

How can I keep my credit safe?
Credit fraud has beacome an epidemic world wide.  Hundreds of thousands of people have become a victim of credit fraud because they don't know how to protect themselves.

There are severaly ways to keep your credit safe.  Here are a couple easy and effective steps you can take now:

1. Contact the credit bureaus and have them place a hold on your credit (TransUnion,  ExperianEquifax).  When you need to use your credit, simply contact the credit  bureaus to verify your identy and have them allow your creditors to access your credit.  *Rember to place the hold back on your credit after you get what you need.

2. Monitor your credit.  You should review your credit twice a year.  You can view your credit for FREE once a year; try: www.annualcreditreport.com.  There are also services that will monitor your credit daily, and provide you with helpful information.  Most companies charge a fee for this service; the typical range is $15.00 - $25.00 a month.  An example of once such company is: www.freecreditreport.com.  

How do I dispute an error?
If you do not recognize the reported information, or you have reason to believe the information is inaccuracte, submit a dispute by phone, online, or by mail to each of the credit bureaus (TransUnion / Experian / Equifax ) that are reporting the information.  Certified mail is one of the best methods for tracking and recording a submitted dispute.  In order to have inaccurate reporting removed, you should read and follow the steps provided by each compay regarding the necessary proceedure.  *If an error is found and removed, it can take up to 45 days for your credit score to improve.

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