BOSTON (CBS) – Knowing your credit scores is important. Credit scores are a quick and easy method for a creditor to judge you as a potential customer. They don’t want to worry about you defaulting on your loan.


Credit scores are not free, but when you are getting your free annual credit report the reporting agencies will offer you a deal and they are not too expensive. It wasn’t too long ago that creditors kept everything about credit scores a secret.

MyFico, a division of Fair Isaac the company that invented the credit score, also will sell you copies of your credit scores and they have good information on their website on how to improve your score.

There is now the Vantagescore out there as well. It was developed by the 3 major agencies, Experian, TransUnion and Equifax and uses a formula not much different than the FICO formula. They use letter grades to rate an individual; A thru F.

Credit scores are important for a lender looks at the score and will determine by that score what interest rate you will be charged for your mortgage or credit card. Insurance companies look at the score and determine if you are a good risk or if they should charge you higher rates. A landlord will look at the score to see if you pay your bills on time. And some employers are now asking to review your score as well.

The higher your credit scores the lower the interest rate. According to MyFico a person with a credit score of 760 or better will pay $205 less per month for a $216,000 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage than a person with a credit score of 620 – that’s a savings of $2,460 per year.

So how do you improve your credit score? The best and easiest way to increase your score is to make payments on a time and not max out your credit cards. These two factors comprise over 60% of your score!

Your credit score uses a very complicated formula to come up with a simple number that creditors can use.

Part of that score is the percentage of credit you use each month to the amount of credit you have available. The key is not to be maxed out on your credit cards.

Longevity is a big plus on your credit score as well. That’s worth about 15% of your total score. I have had a credit card since 1984 which bodes well for my score.

$216,000 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage. These numbers were accurate on November 8, 2010.

If your FICO® score is… Your interest rate is… And your monthly payment will be…
National interest rates, updated daily
760 – 850 3.83% $1,010
700 – 759 4.05% $1,037
680 – 699 4.23% $1,060
660 – 679 4.44% $1,087
640 – 659 4.87% $1,142
620 – 639 5.42% $1,215

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