Why your credit score matters

National

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — When it comes to purchasing power, your credit score is a vital tool.

CPA Matt Bryant explained what a credit score is, how it’s calculated, and why it matters on Thursday morning.

“A credit score is a rating of how someone is likely to behave financially in the future based upon past behavior,” said Bryant.

Credit scoring models can range, but generally, credit scores from 580 to 669 are considered fair, 670 to 739 good, 740 to 799 very good, and 800 and up excellent.

There are a number of factors that determine your credit score—payment history, amounts owed, length of credit history, new credit, and credit mix.

Wondering what your credit score is? According to the Federal Trade Commission:

You’re entitled to one free copy of your credit report every 12 months from each of the three nationwide credit reporting companies. Order online from annualcreditreport.com, the only authorized website for free credit reports, or call 1-877-322-8228. You will need to provide your name, address, social security number, and date of birth to verify your identity.

Bryant said a higher credit score will increase the likelihood new credit is approved, result in higher credit granted and lower interest rates. When it comes to factors that influence your credit score, he said, “Payment history is the most important factor. Missed or late payments have a big negative impact.”

Here’s a list of the steps you can take to improve your credit score:

  • Review your free credit report and work to remove any incorrect items
  • Pay all of your bills on time
  • If you’re having trouble with bills—particularly because of the pandemic—ask for assistance, payment plans, new due dates, and lower rates from your creditors
  • Pay more than the minimum payment due
  • Pay down outstanding balances
  • Avoid new debt until your credit score improves

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