What’s in Your Credit Score

Ever wonder what exactly is a credit score?  What even makes up your credit score?  And, even more importantly, exactly what impacts your score has on your finances and why?

Basically, a credit score is nothing more than a simple three digit number that credit bureaus use to determine your credit worthiness, but depending on what your actual score is, it can have a huge impact on your finances, including not just the amount of money you can conceivably borrow and the interest rates you’ll have to pay for credit cards, car loans, and even mortgage loans, but also on the type of job you may or may not get, and even the rates you’ll be charged for car insurance, homeowner’s insurance, and so much more.

That’s why it’s so important to not just know your credit score, but to improve your score if it is not as high as you need it to be.

What makes up your credit score?

Although there are lots of places that provide consumer credit scores, most of them are not actually used by lenders to assess your credit worthiness.  Financial institutions actually rely on two major credit scores, your FICO score and your VantageScore, when deciding if you’re eligible for a loan.  VantageScore and FICO credit scores range from 300 to 850. The higher the number, the better your credit rating.

Here are the ranges for both:

FICO score

  • 800 to 850: Exceptional
  • 740 to 799: Very good
  • 670 to 739: Good
  • 580 to 669: Fair
  • 300 to 579: Very poor


  • 750 to 850: Excellent
  • 700 to 749: Good
  • 650 to 699: Fair
  • 550 to 649: Poor
  • 300 to 549: Very poor

Your credit scores are actually based on elements of your credit history, and once again, the two are different:

FICO score

  • Payment history: 35 percent
  • Amounts owed: 30 percent
  • Length of credit history: 15 percent
  • New credit: 10 percent
  • Credit mix: 10 percent


  • Amount of recent credit: 30 percent
  • Payment history: 28 percent
  • Use of your current credit: 23 percent
  • Size of account balances: 9 percent
  • Depth of credit: 9 percent
  • Amount of available credit: 1 percent

How important is a good credit score?

Since your credit score affects so many aspects of your life, it only makes good sense to monitor your credit report and strive to keep your credit score as high as possible.  The higher your score, the easier it is to qualify for a mortgage, buy a car, or get any kind of credit (and the better the interest rate you’ll ultimately pay).

It also may make it easier to get a job, as some employers check your credit, and even some regulatory agencies refuse to license professionals with a poor credit score, so the penalty for poor credit can affect more than just your financial life.

What if you need to improve your score?

The way in which you use loans and pay debts has a significant impact on your credit score. You have plenty of opportunities to improve your score, but you should know, it takes time to improve your credit score, so plan ahead and start working on your credit history now.

Here are a few simple things that you can do right now:

  1. Pay your bills on time, every time.  Even one late payment can have a significant effect on your credit score.
  2. Pay down the balance on your credit cards and keep them at or below 30% of the total available credit on each card.
  3. Pay off the cards that have small balances as soon as you can, and then, if you use your cards regularly, try to use only one card.  Just remember to keep the balance below the 30% threshold!
  4. Sign up for one of the many free credit score providers, like Credit Sesame, and continuously monitor your score.  You’d be amazed at how raising your score by just a few points will make you feel!

Rebuilding Your Credit Can be Easier Than You Think

Worried that your bad credit score will never go away?  Maybe your credit score is so low that you think it’s useless to even try to rebuild it because it will never happen?  Believe it or not, there are millions upon millions of people who are or have been in the same boat you’re in.  It really doesn’t take much to ruin your credit when you think about it… you lose your job and have no way to pay your bills, you get a divorce and your former spouse ruins both your credit scores, you have a serious or even catastrophic illness and can’t work… it happens.  But, once you’re back on your feet, what can you do to turn around your credit score?

Well, obviously, if there are any old bills that are unpaid or in arrears, the first thing you want to do is to get them paid up to date or paid off, whichever you can afford to do.  And you need to keep the payments on those bills current so that you can start rebuilding your payment history, and hopefully, your available credit may improve, depending on whether or not you still have open credit lines on any of your credit cards.

But, what if you have no credit whatsoever?  What then?  How do you begin to rebuild credit when you have absolutely no credit?

Although it is really hard to get credit when your score is at it’s lowest point, it can be done.  Here’s an option to consider if you want to rebuild your credit without having a family member put you on one of their credit cards, cosign for you, etc.:

Secured Credit Cards:  Secured credit cards are one of the easiest ways to get an actual credit card when absolutely no one will give you a credit card.  Yes, you do have to put up a security deposit that’s typically equal to the line of credit that you’re requesting, but the security deposit will simply sit in an account and you’ll use the card exactly as you would a credit card.  You’ll make purchases on the card, you’ll be charged interest, and you’ll make payments on the card.  In turn, the credit card company will regularly report your available credit and your good payment history to the credit bureaus, thus helping you to get back on the road to a better credit score.  Are there downsides to secured credit cards?  Of course there are, but if you’re serious about rebuilding your credit score, then the downsides will be minimal.  And you can shop around – some secured credit cards are definitely better than others!

Rebuilding your credit can be done and it doesn’t have to take forever, either.  You just have to get started, be diligent, and it will happen!

Easiest Way to Get Approved for Credit

When it comes to getting credit of any kind, there’s really no “magic” approval options. Credit card companies look at your credit score, factoring in your payment history, available credit, and other things, and then they determine whether or not you’re a good risk for them to take should they decide to extend credit to you. In spite of that, there are easier ways to get approved than simply applying for every credit card out there.

First and foremost, you need to know your credit score before you start looking at credit card offers. Why do you need to know your credit score? Because it’s easier to find a credit card that will approve you if you know where you fall on the credit scoring charts.

Secondly, and equally as important, you only want to apply for credit cards that target people within your credit range. You’re more likely to be approved if you apply to credit cards within your credit range and you don’t want to apply for cards that are way outside of your credit range. Either you won’t be approved if you apply for credit cards that are way above your range or you’re likely to pay too much interest if you apply for cards that are way below your credit range.

So, know your credit score and then choose credit card offers that specifically target people with your credit score!

The Fastest Easiest Way to Rebuild Your Credit

Looking for the fastest, easiest way to rebuild your credit?

Not an Access Card

Rebuilding your credit can often take years, especially if you don’t really know the ins and outs of your credit score, how it’s calculated, and the steps you can take to raise a low credit score.  And then there’s the whole no one will give you the credit you need to start rebuilding your credit score problem… yeah, it’s tough to get credit when you have none.  But, there are ways that you can get credit, build or rebuild your credit score, and get on the right track financially without having to wait months or even years for your score to creep back up on its own.

Typically, there are two ways to get credit when your score is very low – either open up a secured credit card, or apply for a credit account with a company that specializes in working with people whose credit is less than perfect… and that’s where Fingerhut Credit comes in.  That’s right, Fingerhut.

Unlike a lot of creditors, Fingerhut typically approves nearly everyone for an unsecured $300.00 line of credit that you can use to buy merchandise from either their online store or from one of the many catalogs they send throughout the year (my personal favorite is their annual Christmas catalog).  And, once you’ve actually used your account, made regular, on time payments, and proven yourself to Fingerhut, they will normally increase your credit limit.  And those credit limit increases and your continued regular payments will be reported each and every month to the credit bureaus… helping you to raise your credit score.

But, how does a Fingerhut account help your credit score?

A Fingerhut Credit Account issued by WebBank helps your credit score in two different ways.  First and foremost, you’ll actually have “available credit” reported to the credit bureaus, and your “available credit” makes up about 30% of your credit score.  Keep your available credit around 65-70% of your total credit and your score will be even better!  And secondly, your regular, timely payments make up another 30% or so of your credit score.  So, every time you make a payment on your Fingerhut Credit Account, you’re actually building a new payment history, and eventually, your regular, timely payments will also help you to rebuild your credit score.

But what about the products that Fingerhut offers?

What about the products!  Unlike the mail order catalogs of old, Fingerhut actually offers hundreds of thousands of name brand products at competitive prices!  Products you use every day… clothing, shoes, jewelry, small appliances, toys, and even furniture!  All shipped straight to your door in a matter of days.

What’s stopping you from opening your Fingerhut Credit account?

Nothing – it’s as easy as entering your name and address and find out now.

Easiest Way to Raise Your Credit Score

Have you had a financial setback? Maybe you need to raise your credit score? Maybe you don’t have much of a credit history and need to establish one?

Not an Access Card

Believe it or not, opening a Fingerhut Credit account is one of the fastest, easiest ways to re-establish your credit once you’ve had financial difficulties and it’s a great way to build credit when you have none. Unlike other creditors, Fingerhut typically approves most people for an initial credit line of approximately $300.00 (or more), and in the rare event that you aren’t approved, Fingerhut even has a special program called the “Fingerhut Fresh Start” program where you may still qualify for an account.

How does opening a Fingerhut help your credit score?

Actually, opening a Fingerhut account helps your credit score in several ways – first and foremost, when no one else will extend credit to you, the ease of opening a Fingerhut account makes it easy to start improving your credit score. Then, once you’ve got your account, having “available credit” helps your credit utilization score, and your regular payments helps re-establish your payment history. (Fingerhut reports your available credit and payment history to the credit bureaus every month.) Even better, over time you’ll see regular credit limit reviews (and possibly sizable increases), and special financing deals on things like electronics, furniture, and large appliances (no interest deals, deferred payment deals, and more).

How long does it take to open a Fingerhut account?

Opening a Fingerhut Credit Account issued by WebBank is as easy as entering your name and address and find out right now. That’s right, just answer a couple of simple questions, get an instant decision, and you can place your first order today!

What can you buy at Fingerhut?

Unlike most catalog shopping sites, Fingerhut offers hundreds of thousands of name brand products in categories like clothing, shoes, electronics, sporting goods, toys, computers, gaming systems, furniture, appliances, and more!

So, what’s stopping you?  Are you ready to improve your credit score?

The Easiest Way to Use Your Tax Refund To Improve Your Credit

Thinking about how you’ll spend this year’s tax refund money?  

What if I told you there was a way to use your tax refund to improve your credit score and still be able to take that mini-vacation you’ve been dreaming about?  Or buy that new sofa and loveseat?  It’s true.  You can improve your credit score AND have what you want!  And it’s actually pretty simple… when you get that lump sum of tax refund cash, instead of rushing to the store and spending all your cash, use the cash to open a secured credit card with First Progress Platinum Select MasterCard® Secured Credit Card . Once you’ve opened the account, simply make a security deposit (between $200 and $2,000, you pick the amount), and then use the credit card to buy whatever you originally planned to buy with your tax refund.

When the credit card bill comes in, make your payments on time, every time. In turn, First Progress Platinum Select MasterCard® Secured Credit Card will report your good payment history every month. Within a few months, your credit score will begin to reflect your new payment history, and you’ll have a “line of credit” on your credit report, as well. Pay the balance down to less than 33% and your credit score will go even higher as you prove your creditworthiness. It really is that easy!

Why not get started on your way to an improved credit score today?



The Easiest Way to Improve Your Credit

Happy New Year!

I don’t know about you, but one of the New Year’s resolutions that I make each and every year is to improve my personal financial situation… be that to increase the amount of money in my savings account, pay off a few bills, or to improve my credit score so that I can buy that new car I’ve been thinking about.

What about you?  What are your financial goals for this year?

If you’re like a lot of people these days, you may have had a financial setback or two in the past few years that may have impacted your credit score, and in so doing, may have affected your buying power or even your ability to get that great new job you’ve been considering.

Do you know your credit score?

You’d be amazed at the number of people who actually don’t know their credit score!  Maybe they’ve never taken the time to check their credit, learn how to read their score, or how to improve it.  Or, even worse, if they’ve had a serious setback, they may even be afraid to look at their credit score.  If that’s you, relax.  You’re not alone.  There was a time when I didn’t want to look at my credit score, too… I’d just changed jobs, moved halfway across the country, and made some serious financial mistakes.  And my credit score took a HUGE hit.  For years, I avoided even looking at my score, much less trying to figure out how to improve it.  But the turning point came when I had to buy a new car and my score wouldn’t qualify me even for a high interest rate on that new car.  Instead, I had to settle for a used car with an even higher interest rate!  It was right then and there that I decided it would never happen again.

How did I improve my credit score?

Well, first and foremost, I made the decision not just to actually KNOW my credit score, but to continuously monitor my score, and to do everything that I could to improve my score… before I HAD to buy anything else.  And the first step to improving my score?  I requested my full, complete credit report and then, I learned to read and understand it.

What about you?  Are you ready to know your credit score, to work to improve it, and meet your financial goals this year?


The One Number That Can Make or Break You

Can you name the one three digit number that can make or break you financially? 

That’s right, it’s your credit score.

It’s hard to believe, but if your credit score is low, it can keep you from getting the credit that you need – things like buying a car or a home, renting an apartment, and even getting a good job.

Do you know your credit score?

Unbelievably, there are literally millions of people who have no idea what their credit score is, never realizing that they need to look at it until they walk into that car dealership, or fill out that loan application… until they’re turned down for something because of their credit score!

Now, why do you suppose that is?  Is it because they’re too busy to worry about it, too lazy to take the time to look at it, or simply because they don’t understand the credit scoring system and how important it can be to their financial future?

Personally, I fell into the category of not wanting to know… when I was younger, I wasn’t nearly so careful with my money as I am now, and as a result, I had a few late payments, got in over my head with credit cards, and even had a judgement against me in another state.  It wasn’t until I realized that I couldn’t drive my beat up old clunker forever that I started checking my credit score, and looking into ways to improve it.  But when I did…well, within a year I had a brand new car at a great interest rate, and within three years, I was able to buy my first house, something that I never believed I would ever be able to do given my past credit history.

What can you do?

Well, for starters, you can find out your credit score.  These days, there are plenty of places to get that score for free, and for the most part, if you just want to see your credit score, any one of those sites will work.

However, if you want to know what those scores mean, understand what you need to do to improve them, and keep an eye on them once you have improved them, then I definitely recommend paying for unlimited access to your credit files.  Unlike those “free” places, if you’re paying for access, you’ll have a lot more resources at your fingertips than just seeing your credit score – and, believe me, it’s worth it.

But first, start with checking your score!

Credit Counseling and Your Credit

As millions of Americans continue to struggle with the financial burden of debt, more and more consumers are looking to credit counseling to find a real way out of debt. Credit counseling allows consumers to consolidate debt into one low monthly payment, regardless of their credit scores. With reduced interest rates on their unsecured debts, consumers can reduce debt quickly – often getting out of debt in just five to seven years, instead of the few decades it would take using traditional payment methods.

One of the main benefits of credit counseling is the fact that it allows a consumer to consolidate debt even if they have bad credit. Most consolidation options require you to have good credit in order to qualify at the right interest rate. By contrast, your credit scores are not a factor for enrolling in a debt management program through a credit counseling agency. Since the credit counselor negotiates with creditors and acts on your behalf, your credit scores are not a factor in getting approved for the program.

Although this make a debt management program a more accessible debt consolidation options versus other debt solutions for a wider range of consumers, it also leads other consumers to be concerned over the affect credit counseling will have on their credit scores moving forward. If your credit scores have not yet been affected by your financial hardship and are still high, you may have a concern that a debt management program will negatively impact your credit rating.

In truth, there is no credit penalty for paying your debts back on the adjusted payment schedule you get with a debt management program. In the U.S. credit system, creditors do not penalize you for paying debts on a different schedule – as long as you pay back everything you owe. As a result, as long as you make the payments to the program on time, you can use a debt management program through a credit counseling agency without incurring any credit penalty.

What’s more, some consumers who have lower credit scores actually see an improvement in their credit scores upon successful completion of a debt management program through a credit counseling agency. If your scores are low then reducing your total debt owed and improving your payment history by making payments on time to your program can actually improve your credit scores. Since debt owed and credit history account for two thirds of your credit score calculation, improving these two factors through credit counseling can provide a big benefit.

Connie Solidad has been writing about finances and debt consolidation for years. She’s an expert in the industry and writes about credit counseling and debt management options. When Connie is not working, she loves playing with her two dogs in Tampa, Florida. To learn more about debt consolidation counseling refer to ConsolidatedCredit.org

How Do You Know If You Have Credit?

How do you know if you have credit? Believe it or not, almost all of us have some type of credit history, unless you’ve paid cash all of your life, or if you’re just starting out and have yet to need credit for anything. But, you’d be surprised at how many people don’t actually know if they have credit or what their credit score is! And, frankly those people who don’t know if they have credit are actually risking their future ability to obtain credit by not knowing.

These days, you owe it to yourself to know if you have credit, and to keep a close eye on your credit report. With identity theft and fraudulent use of credit on the rise, it’s more important than ever to protect yourself, and to know your credit history and your credit score.

Imagine, if you will, that you go to apply for a car loan… only to find out that you already have a car loan… or a mortgage… only to find out you already have a mortgage in your name… don’t think that this cannot happen to you! In fact, this type of identity theft is far more common that you realize, and it nearly always happens to people who either have no credit history or have an excellent credit history.

Another reason that you should know if you have credit, and what that credit score happens to be, is so that you can get the credit you need when you need it. Want to get a credit card? Buy a car? Rent an apartment? Buy a house? Before you even apply for that first credit card, you’d better know your credit score! And, forget going to look at cars, houses, or anything else without knowing your score, and having the score that your lender is looking for! (Besides, who wants to be embarrassed at being told “No” when you do go to buy something on credit?)

So, in answer to the question “how do you know if you have credit,” the best answer is not only to get a copy of your credit report, but to have your credit report monitored on a regular basis by a reputable credit monitoring company. A reputable credit monitoring company will notify you when there are changes to your credit report and you typically have access any time that you want to your most current credit score, so you know before you go whether or not you’ll qualify for that credit card, that car loan, or anything else!