The local NBC station had a "Consumer Alert" tonight about the importance of credit scores. They had a small story about a woman not getting renter's insurance due to a low score and touted ELOAN as a source for free credit score info.
Free Credit Score
May 21, 2001
by Tracy Davidson
Having good credit can be the key to getting a car, a house, credit cards or even insurance or a job. You can get lower rates on loans if you have bad credit. Now, there's a three-digit number that reflects your credit. It's called a credit score. NBC10’s Tracy Davidson shows you how to find out what your credit score is for free.
BRISTOL BOROUGH, Pa. - KATHY KRIEGER of Bristol Borough, Bucks County found out the hard way that bad credit could hurt, even if the bad credit was from years ago.
“I requested a renter's insurance policy, and I was denied for derogatory credit,” Krieger said. “I was a risk was the reason, because of my credit score, which was six years old.”
Krieger eventually got the insurance, but it cost her a lot more because of her low credit score. A credit score is another part of your credit history. It's is a three-digit number a lender can look at and immediately tell if your credit is good or bad.
Credit scores range between 300 and 850. Only a small amount rank above 800. Between 720 and 750 is a good score.
Want to check yours? Many places will charge you for it, or say it's free and then sign you up for something you don't want.
NBC10 found a website where you can get your credit score free. Come to our website and click on Consumer Alert and look for "Free Credit Score." You'll go in and set up an account with a company called “E-loan”. They ask you questions including your name, address, social security number, and if you're planning to move or buy a new car anytime soon. We answered "no plans."
It takes a few hours to a couple of days to process. Then to get your credit score, you put in two account numbers from your credit report for verification. Along with your credit score, you get a detailed explanation and pointers for improving your score.
Joan Reading of the Credit Counseling Center says a good score is important.
“If you have bad credit, its going to affect your ability to get a decent rate on a loan, your ability to get a car,” Reading said. “It's going to affect your ability to get an apartment, and it's going to affect your ability to get a job and auto and life insurance.”
If you want to improve your score, there are ways:
1) Lower the balance on your credit cards.
2) Every time you apply for new credit it gets marked as a credit inquiry, and too many inquiries are bad.
3) Avoid excessive credit surfing. That when you move balances to lower rate interest cards. It’s a red flag to lenders.
4) Having too many open accounts. Between 5 and 7 accounts is about the average. Having more could hurt your credit score. You should check definitely check your full credit report
“They do make mistakes,” Reading said. “It’s very important to check your credit report. I would check it at least once a year.”
The credit score isn’t the only way lenders decide whether to do business with you, they also look at your credit history, job history, and other factors as well as the three digit number.
To contact the Credit Counseling Center call (215) 396-1880.