MoneyWise: Good credit score

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(MSU Federal Credit Union)

Having good credit keeps you from paying more interest on credit cards or auto loans. Landlords might use your score to decide whether they want you as a tenant, too. MSUFCU Chief Marketing Officer Deidre Davis discusses what a good credit score looks like in 2020.

What is a credit score and how do you monitor it?

A credit score is a three-digit number that ranges from 300 to 800 and estimates how likely you are to repay borrowed money.

General credit score guidelines:

  • Exceptional: 800-850
  • Dependable: 740 - 799
  • Good: 670-739
  • Below Average: 580 – 669
  • Risky: 300 - 579

The information on your credit accounts is stored by credit-reporting agencies, also called credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. A good practice is to request one report from each of the three bureaus throughout the year (January, May and September). This allows you to see your reports at intervals that will keep you informed. You can request one report from each of the credit bureaus for free annually by visiting annualcreditreport.com.

What are the best way to improve your credit score?

The most important factor in determining your credit score is payment history. It makes up 35%, so your loan payments on time is key.

Other ways to improve your score are:

  • Having both revolving credit (credit cards) and installment credit (loans) accounts
  • Reducing your debt to improve your debt to income ratio
  • Keeping credit cards open, even if they are paid off

If you do not have credit established, what is the best way to start building it?

A great way to start building credit is through a credit card. This also helps establish your own credit history, and gives you access to a different type of credit you may not have had before.

Another good method is to co-sign on a loan with a trusted and responsible person – like a family member – who can help you qualify for a loan.

What can MSUFCU do to help?

MSUFCU offers financial education featuring topics on credit and credit cards as well as knowledgeable employees to help you determine the best products and services to help you reach your goals. We also have credit cards with low-interest rates available. For more information, visit msufcu.org.

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