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Your credit score is the leading indicator of your credit standing among credit grantors. Your credit score is a rating that is based on the combination of both positive and potentially negative factors on your credit report. Elements from your credit report often are not the only factors determining your credit worthiness. Many lenders also consider information submitted on a credit application (such as your income and employment history) when determining a custom credit score. Your score is one of the most crucial factors in obtaining credit.

Refer to the following list of credit score tips for help to understand you credit score and then subsequently raise your credit score to where it should be.

Paying your bills on time is generally the most important contributor to a good credit score. Even if you owe a small amount, it is crucial that you make payments on time.

There are many kinds of credit scores used in the financial services industry. The score used – and its corresponding risk levels – may vary widely from lender to lender.

In addition to your credit report, many lenders also use information submitted on a credit application when making credit decisions.

If you are declined credit, the lender must notify you of the top reasons that determined their decision. Pay careful attention to these reasons and manage your credit accordingly.

Your credit score changes as the elements in your credit report change. For example, payment updates or a new account could cause your score to fluctuate.

Score factors are elements from your credit report that affect your score, such as your total debt, types of accounts, and number of late payments.

Credit Score Scale:

340 to 600 (risk category is high)
600 to 660 (risk category is medium/high)
660 to 720 (risk category is medium)
720 to 780 (risk category is medium/low)
780 to 820 (risk category is low)

A good way to monitor whether identity theft has occurred or is occurring is through your credit report. As you monitor your credit score you will have access to identity fraud indications. Take the following 5 important steps today to protect your name, credit, and reputation.

  • Review your credit report! You should be monitoring your credit report from Equifax, Transunion, and Experian at least twice a year. Look for accounts or addresses you don’t recognize.
  • Limit the use of your social security number! Never give it to someone who calls you on the phone, don’t carry the card in your wallet and never print it on your checks.
  • Shred important Papers! Especially credit card solicitations.
  • Don’t use your mother’s maiden name! Choose a password that is easy for you to remember and hard for others to find out.
  • Safeguard check use! When writing checks to pay credit card accounts, don’t put the complete account number on the “for” line.

Also consider the following top 10 sources of identity theft and make appropriate adjustments to avoid these scenarios.

  • Mail theft
  • Dumpster diving
  • Unscrupulous employees
  • Stolen or lost wallets
  • Internet fraud
  • Burglary
  • Friends or relatives
  • Phone scams
  • Unethical use of public documents
  • Shoulder surfing for passwords at ATMs, computers, etc.