Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Be in the Know: Checking and Understanding Your Credit Score

No matter the state of your finances, understanding your credit score is a very important part of keeping financially fit. This is especially important when you are dealing with debt or attempting to rebuild credit.  Not knowing what certain aspects of your credit score represent can lead to trouble acquiring credit products, or errors not reported can be incredibly difficult to deal with.

Understanding your credit score. Firstly, what is your credit score? This is the number applied by one of the major credit reporting agencies, derived from a complex calculation of your financial behaviour, most importantly your borrowing behaviour. This includes where you have borrowed from, how much you have borrowed, and your repayment habits. Credit products such as credit cards, personal loans, mortgages, car loans, even personal cell phone contracts are included in this calculation. 

So what does the score mean? When you (or a potential creditor) request your credit score, this is the number that represents those above calculations. Your number will be on a scale from 300 to 900. 300 is the lowest score, and represents credit that is in very poor standing. 900 is the highest score, and represent pristine credit behaviour. 

This is how national credit reporting agency Equifax ranks scores:

-        300-559 – poor
-        560-660 – fair
-        660-724 – good
-        725-759 – very good
-        760+ - excellent

Your credit score will fall into one of these 5 categories, and it is based partially on this number that a creditor will decide whether or not to extend credit to you.

What impacts your credit score? Anything that you do financially with regard to credit gets reported. This includes any new credit products you obtain, payments made and payments late or missed, any credit inquiries made both by you or a potential creditor, as well as any debt reduction strategies, including claiming bankruptcy or a consumer proposal.

Once you are better equipped to understand your credit score you might be concerned about what this number means. But don’t worry. If your credit score is less than stellar you should work on changing this – it just might mean seeking out some help. Getting rid of debt and ensuring that your monthly financial obligations are met – on time, every month – is a great place to start. Halting any further credit seeking is also a good idea.

Your credit score changes all the time, based on how you behave credit-wise, so be sure to keep that in mind. If you need help getting that number back up, or want help getting rid of your debt so that you can focus on increasing your score, consider working with a professional debt solutions company.

For more information about understanding your credit score and how to get it out of the red please contact DebtCare Canada today by calling 1-888-890-0888.

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