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Credit: Your Credit Score

BOSTON (CBS) – Credit scores are a quick and easy method for a creditor to judge you as a potential customer. It’s a number based on your credit reports to determine if you are a good candidate to borrow. Scores range from 300 to 850. The higher the score the better and a high score can get you a lower interest rate on a loan.

Most creditors use your score to make a judgment on your ability to pay back a loan and make your payments on time. Your Fico credit score is the gold standard here.

My Fico will sell you copy of your credit score for $19.95 and they have good information on their website on how to improve your score.

The Vantage score, created by the credit reporting agencies can offer you their version of a credit score. Their grading system is now similar to the FICO score. And when I went to finance a car recently they used the Vantage score. I had gotten a copy of my FICO score before applying for the loan which was 806 and the Vantage score was 813.

If you are planning on making a major purchase such as house or getting a car loan, or applying for a new job, get a copy of your credit score.

There are places on line that will give you a free credit score, but it’s usually not your Fico score. Sites like Credit Karma, credit sesame, Wallet Hub all offer free credit scores and reports, but you must sign up for their services which are free. They make money when you use a product recommended on their site.

I was impressed with the Discover card which offers a free Fico credit score to all that ask. You do not need to be a customer and they do not try to market anything to you. This was my source when I wanted to get my FICO score.

I found an article on DoughRoller, again I do not know how they come up with their names, that lists 12 credit card companies that offer free credit scores. Most you need to be a customer. More credit card companies are planning to offer this perk to their card holders.

One more thing:  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, car loan or credit card and in some cases whether you are a good credit risk.

The higher your score the lower your interest rate will be when you apply for a mortgage. The difference between a good score and a poor one with a $300,000 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage could be a savings of over $3,000 a year in interest.

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You can hear Dee Lee’s expert financial advice on WBZ NewsRadio 1030 each weekday at 1:55 p.m., 3:55 p.m., and 7:55 p.m.

Subscribe to Dee’s Money Matters newsletter here.

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