How To Find And Raise Your Fico Score


Your FICO score is the number that lenders look at when deciding if they will extend you credit, as well as what rates you will pay. It is a complicated score that involves tracking your debts, payment history, age of credit, and inquiries. There are three major credit bureaus. They are Equifax, Experian, and Transunion. Which one is used depends on the company that pulls your credit.

Finding your FICO score can be done in several ways. Some places that pull your credit, such as banks or car dealers, will tell you your score right there. Each of the bureaus has a website that enables you to purchase your score. You can also opt for a credit monitoring service, where you pay a fee to receive your credit score as well as receive updates on any changes. One of the most accurate FICO score sites is, which offers actual FICO scores for Transunion and Equifax.

Once you find out your score, your next step is to work to raise it. Everyone knows that good payment history raises your credit score, but that is only a part of it. Another huge factor is your debt to credit ratio. This means the ratio of the amount of money you owe on your credit cards compared to the credit limit. If you have a $1000 limit credit card and owe $800, you have an extremely high utilization. If you are able to pay that down, you will raise your score significantly. Remember though, even if you pay your credit card in full every month, you could still have a balance reported. This is because most credit card companies report your balance on the day the statement is generated, not on the day you pay your bill. If you want to ensure you have no balance, pay your bill before the statement is generated. You can ask the credit card companies when they report, and pay your bill the day before.

Another way to raise your score is to dispute inaccurate information. Mistakes are very common on credit reports. These range from entirely false accounts to dates or balances that are misreported. Scan your credit report and dispute any mistake you find. When the credit bureaus fix it, it should raise your score. If you have the same mistake on all three reports, make sure you file a dispute with each bureau.

You also need a good mix of credit. If you have only installment loans and no credit cards, that hurts your credit rating even if you have flawless payment history. Creditors want to see a good mix. Make sure you have a least one open credit card account. If you pay in full and on time, it will increase your credit score significantly.

Inquiries are also a part of your credit score. While not as important as debt ratios and payment history, they do impact your score. Inquiries remain on your report for two years. If a creditor sees a lot of recent inquiries, they may decide to not offer you credit. Try to keep inquiries to a minimum by researching creditors ahead of time.

Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask a creditor to remove a negative item. If you have a collection, offer to pay them in exchange for deleting the item for your report. Many will agree to do so. Similarly, if you have had strong payment history for a year or more with a creditor, ask them to delete an older negative as a sign of good faith. Many companies are willing to do this. Remember that raising your credit score takes time. It is easy to destroy and hard to repair, so the best thing you can do is learn what goes in to your credit score and follow good practices to the best of your ability.

This post was written by

jason – who has written posts on Budget Clowns.
Father of three and married to a lovely women. Always looking for ways to save money, and invest it properly for my children's future.

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