Understanding Your Credit Score

You know the drill - the leaves are turning, the football season is heating up, and your 'check engine' light pops on.  That familiar feeling of dread begins when you know your car won't make it through the winter.

A new car means a new loan application, and the one question that seems to determine so much about your rate:  What's your credit score?  Before you shop, we'll help you understand what your credit score means, and how to avoid an unpleasant surprise next time you apply for a loan.

1.  What's My Score?   

Your credit report is compilation of your financial history, such as loans, bill payment history and debts.  A credit report will show your current address and employment.

2.  How is My Score Used?

Lenders may use credit scores to identify 1) if they're willing to lend to you, 2) the terms of that loan such as the interest rate.  A lender uses your credit score as in indication of risk;

how likely you are to be able to afford and repay the loan.

There's a common misconception that checking your own credit may 'ding' or negatively impact your score.  In fact, there are two different types of credit score inquiries, individual inquiries initiated by you, and the inquiries initiated by a lender.  Your score won't change based on a personal inquiry.  And by law, you're entitled to one free credit score report from each of the three credit reporting agencies per year.

It's a good idea to space out your three free scores throughout the year and monitor your score continually.  Knowing your score before applying for a loan will help you avoid any surprises and ensure there hasn't been any fraudulent activity.







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