Credit Education


What is a credit score?

A credit score is a number generated by a mathematical formula that is meant to predict credit worthiness. The most common of the credit score standards is the FICO score created by Fair Isaac. The FICO score ranges from 300-850 and is intended as a predictor of whether or not you will be 90 days late on a loan obligation. Fair Isaac uses thousands of credit reports to calibrate the FICO scoring model and is very secretive of the exact formula.


Here is a percentage breakdown of a FICO score:

 

35% - Payment History

30% - Debt Ratio

15% - Length of Credit History

10% - Types of Credit

10% - Number of Credit Inquiries



Most people are aware of the three credit reporting agencies Trans Union, Equifax, and Experian. The average difference in scores between the highest and lowest of your three FICO scores is 60 points. This is the result of each of the credit bureaus having different items on their report, which may be correct, incorrect or are not reported in full compliance with credit law.


How can I find out my credit score?


Visit www.myfico.com and order the same credit score a mortgage company uses for approvals. Requests for one's own FICO score at www.myfico.com is considered a personal inquiry and will not hurt the credit score. We cannot pull your credit score for you. You can also order your credit score when you get your free credit reports for a small fee per bureau.


How can I get a free copy of my credit report?


By law, all consumers are entitled to a free copy of their credit report from each of the three credit bureaus once per year. Visit www.annualcreditreport.com to get your report for FREE. (This is for the credit report only and does not include the credit score but you can order the credit score for a small fee.)

How will my bankruptcy affect my credit and for how long?


Chapters 7, 11, and 12 will remain on one's credit report for ten years from the filing date. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy is reported for seven years from the filing date. Accounts included in bankruptcy will remain for seven years from the date reported as included in the bankruptcy.


What can I do to improve my credit score?


There are several things you can do to start re-establishing your credit and start rebuilding your credit score.

You can obtain new credit after bankruptcy, such as an auto loan or credit card that will report on your credit bureaus. When you obtain new credit after a bankruptcy, it is essential to take steps to ensure that you use this credit to effectively rebuild and increase your credit score. Here are a few tips that may help you:

  • Make your payments on time, all the time.
  • Next to making your payments on time, paying down your balance will improve your credit score.
  • Only use up to 30% of your credit limit and pay the balance off in full each month.
  • Get into the habit of only charging what you can pay off in a month.
  • Remember that maxing out your credit cards hurts your credit score.

You can dispute negative or inaccurate items on your credit report yourself, or you can use a professional credit repair service. If you are disputing items yourself, make sure have educated yourself on the best ways to do so since it is possible to make your score go down if you dispute blindly. A credit repair service often has more success since they have in depth knowledge and experience working with the credit bureaus and disputing effectively. Our Bankruptcy Information Center can give you information on how to find a reputable credit repair service if you are looking for one. Call Toll Free: (877) 323-8984 for more information.