One of my goals for 2008 was to increase my scores to over 720 with all three credit bureaus. Since the last update, I am still two-thirds of the way to my goal even though two of my scores have decreased for some unknown reason. Credit scoring is really weird!
I would like to get my credit scores as high as possible because I am thinking about refinancing my home. Interest rates are pretty low and I don't think they will decrease much at all.
Here are the latest scores from the three major credit bureaus.
- 765 on 1/12/2008
- 738 on 4/12/2008
- Not sure why this one dropped. I have not been late on any payments, applied for new credit and my total debt has decreased since January.
- 728 on 1/12/2008
- 734 on 4/12/2008
- I thought this one would have been higher but at least it did increase slightly.
- 712 on 1/12/2008
- 700 on 4/12/2008
- This one has dropped too. Again, I haven't applied for any new credit, been late on any payments or increased my total debt.
How do you get and maintain a good credit score?
Paid all bills on time. This is 35% of your credit score. Having a late payment reported can send your credit score into a downward spiral. A late payment can stay on your report for up to 7 years.
Having a good mix of credit. This is 10% of your credit score. Having a good mix of installment loans, credit cards and mortgages is good for your credit score. This is really important if you have a short credit history. Obviously, you should not apply for new credit just to have different types of credit if you don't need it. This will actually hurt your credit in the short term.
Debt to Credit Ratio. This is 30% of your credit score. The closer you are to maxing out your amount of available credit, the more negative the impact to your credit score.
Length of credit history. This is 15% of your credit score and is something that simply improves with age. The oldest credit line on my credit report is over 12 years old.
New Credit. This is 10% of your credit score. Every time you apply for new credit, the lender checks your credit score. This causes an "inquiry" on your credit report and can decrease your score 2-3 points. Multiple inquires in a short amount of time can also send your credit score into a downward spiral. Shopping for a mortgage or car loan is considered as one inquiry if done within a 30 day time period.
Need to monitor your credit, try MyFico.com