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One of my goals for 2008 was to get and maintain credit scores of 720 and above with all three credit bureaus. I'm still two-thirds of the way to my goal.

As I mentioned in prior posts, I am thinking about refinancing my home once I determine if I will stay in this house long enough to recoup the costs of the refinancing.
Right now, interest rates are pretty low and I don't they will increase much anytime soon. With the credit crunch, my scores need to be as high as possible to meet stricter lending guidelines.

How are my scores looking right now?

  • 765 on 1/12/2008
  • 738 on 4/12/2008
  • 784 on 11/17/2008
  • I'm pretty happy with my Equifax score. Most lenders in my area pull Equifax.
  • 728 on 1/12/2008
  • 734 on 4/12/2008
  • 711 on 11/17/2008
  • I don't know what happened here. A few weeks ago, this one dropped 20 points without any major changes in my credit file.
  • 712 on 1/12/2008
  • 700 on 4/12/2008
  • 711 on 11/17/2008
  • I can't get this to move much at all. 712 is the highest score I've seen with Experian since I've been tracking my credit score.
The highest Fico score you can obtain is 850 and anything over 720 is considered a good credit score.

How do you get and maintain a good credit score?

Timely Bill Payment
. 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.

Credit Mix. 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.


  1. Anonymous // November 18, 2008 at 9:18 AM  

    It is good that you are checking on your credit scores and keeping up with that.

    My Experian is my lowest score too at 710 so I still have a way to go.

  2. Anonymous // November 18, 2008 at 11:03 PM  

    Wow, great detailed info - I have just started reading up on deciphering credit reports, but yours is the first to list how strongly each area affects the overall score. Very helpful, thanks!

  3. meldennis // November 23, 2008 at 9:33 AM  

    Great site. Experian is historically the lowest credit score of the big three.
    More great ideas at

  4. Unknown // November 24, 2008 at 2:24 PM  

    I've got to question the 15% on the history component - unless this is recent. I've got a concrete example that perhaps you can explain.

    My then-fiancee never had any credit through college; and I mean none. I used the first three approaches to get her credit rating to a 724 (forget which company in less than 3 years). Were we able to do this b/c we did everything else absolutely right? If so, what's the value of a long credit history?

    Also, in my experience asset to credit max ratio seems to play a part in credit scoring.

  5. Anonymous // November 25, 2008 at 1:31 AM  

    Good information. Now i understand about this subject clearly. Thanks You.