Meriwest Credit Union | 877-MERIWEST (877) 637-4937 | Routing Number 321176833

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Learning More About your Credit Score

Published July 14, 2016

Credit scores are super important! They’re used by landlords, employers and others to determine what they’ll sell you, and at what price. Understanding how credit scores work can give you a better picture of your financial well-being. Here are seven things you should know about your credit score and the impact it has on you every day:

1. Credit scores influence what you can purchase and at what cost: Your credit score impacts the interest rate credit card companies will offer you - that is the amount you pay to borrow money if you have a revolving balance. Credit scores are used by non-creditors as well. Utility companies, home insurers, cell phone companies, landlords and more may use credit scores to determine things like if they will offer you a contract or the amount of your initial deposit. This can affect where you live, how much you need to save for a deposit on an apartment and even what cell phone plan you are eligible for.

2. You have many different credit scores: Some credit scores are generic, some are lender-based. You may be most familiar with credit scores from the three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion), but they are available from many sources. While most scores are based on information in a credit report at one of the bureaus, competing websites estimate your score by asking a series of questions about your credit use.

3. FICO and VantageScore are the two main scoring systems Credit scores from, or based on, the three credit bureaus use either FICO or VantageScore. Like FICO, the current VantageScore 3.0 model ranges from 300 to 850.

4. Your behavior influences your score: Key factors used to calculate credit scores include missed payments, personal bankruptcy and high credit card balances. Please note: It’s much easier to lower your score than raise it. A couple of late credit card payments, for example, may lower your score enough that it can take a year to get your score back up to what it was before you missed the payments.

5. Inaccurate information can influence your credit score: Check your credit report for free at least once a year. You can access these reports for free at, or by calling 877-322-8228, and should always do so before seeking a mortgage or car loan.

6. You should comparison shop for credit You may be able to find better loan terms from shopping around, especially if you have a lower score. Different lenders use different criteria to determine loan terms, even when using the same credit score.

7. Be wary of credit repair companies: Credit repair companies that claim to help you raise your credit score often charge high prices while performing services, such as correcting credit report inaccuracies, which you can do yourself. Certified credit counselors, on the other hand, are qualified to help you improve you credit worthiness.

For more information on how equipped employees at Meriwest can help you learn more about, and improve, your credit score, please visit our website or contact one of the branches.

The preceding information is repurposed from America Saves.

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