Your Personal FICO Score


Your credit rating, referred to also as your FICO score, is a number assigned to your credit worthiness.  These numbers range from 300-850 and can mean the difference to getting approval for loans and credit cards, and being declined time and time again. 



Many people know it is obviously good to have a high credit rating, usually considered anything over 650, but may not know why or how their number came to be.  Learn why your credit rating is what it is, how to get the actual number, and finally what steps you can take to improve your score. 


Video: 3 Ways to Improve Any Credit Score


Your Credit Rating Affects Your Life 


Your credit rating is probably the most important number you will ever know in your life.  It affects your finances, standard of living, employment, and ability to grow financially in every aspect.  If you are applying for a credit card, your credit rating will determine whether you are approved or not.  When applying to rent or purchase a home, your credit rating will determine as to whether you are approved or not. 


what's in a credit rating?


Even when applying for insurance or a new job, your credit rating may come into play and negatively impact your chances.   Like it or not, your credit history and the credit rating it provides you, will be with you wherever you go, affecting every financial transaction you make.


How You Got Your Credit Rating  


credit reports affect mortgage applicationsYour credit rating number, or FICO score, is basically a complex mathematical calculation based on several factors including: 

1.  The ability to make payments on-time to your creditors 
2.  Past use of credit cards and loan history 
3.  The total amount of credit offered by all your lenders 
4.  The number of inquiries into your credit history by potential lenders 

These factors are added together to place you into a number bracket which fits your personal risk potential to pay back money borrowed.  Any late payments, missed payments, or abandoned accounts will draw down your credit rating significantly.  Likewise, any accounts in good standing with positive payment histories reported to the credit bureaus, will increase your credit rating. 


How to Find Your Credit Rating 


You are legally entitled to credit reports furnished by the three major credit reporting bureaus once annually.  This does not include your actual credit rating number however.  To get this number, you will most likely have to pay for it.  To request your credit rating, simply contact a credit bureau and request it for a small fee.  They can be contacted at:


credit ratingEquifax

P.O. Box 740241 
Atlanta, GA 30374 



P.O. Box 2002 
Allen, TX 75013 
1 888 397 3742


P.O. Box 1000 
Chester, PA 19022 


How to Maintain a Good Credit Rating 


There are many things, both small and large, that you should and should not do to keep your credit rating in a desirable range.  It is generally considered that below 600 is poor credit.  Between 600-700 is considered good credit. 


Video: Get Your Free Credit Report


Anything above 700 is excellent.  Follow this guide to push your number up higher where you need it to be:


Things to do:


1.  Request your credit report and check and remove any inaccuracies.  Contact the credit reporting bureaus directly. 
2.  Pay your bills on time always.  If you cannot make payment, contact your creditor and ask them what you can do to avoid a negative mark on your credit report. 
3.  Start acquiring credit sooner.  If you have no credit cards, get some now to establish a credit history.  If you cannot get approved for a credit card, try a secured credit card first. 
4.  If you don’t have them already, open both a savings and checking account with a banking institution.  


Things not to do: 


1.  Never let an account go delinquent.  If you cannot pay, look into settlement options directly with the creditor to avoid a blemish on your credit report. 
2.  Never close old accounts in good standing.   Older accounts show a credit history for you over time and are essential to a good credit rating. 
3.  Never miss a payment on any bill if you can avoid it.  Remember a late-payment is recorded on your credit report just like a missed payment is.