In three digits from 300 to 850, a FICO score sums up a person's credit-worthiness based on their credit history. I am pleased to have an 815 FICO score (with Equifax), although it is not anything I have worked toward consciously. It resulted from day by day decisions as my husband and I managed our credit. I only learned about our high scores (both of us over 800) recently when we applied for a renewal of a home equity line of credit.
My score is higher than 96 percent of American consumers because:
I have used credit responsibly for a long time.
Car payments, mortgage payments, and credit cards paid off monthly have been a part of my adult life. I do have a credit history and it extends back 33 years.
With my husband as co-borrower, I am fortunate that he is just as reliable about paying bills. I have not co-signed with anyone else.
If one spouse is responsible and the other flaky, the responsible spouse may suffer the effects in a reduced FICO score.
Although I have occasionally paid a credit card bill late, it has been rarely and just by a few days.
Putting all the bills on "automatic pilot" for on-line payment has really helped. My credit report shows no late or missed payments. None.
I do not open new credit card accounts often, chasing better benefits.
This year I opened two new credit card accounts: with Sears to save money on a major appliance purchase and with Chase to earn United frequent flyer miles, but most of our accounts go back many years. Also, when we stop using a credit card we do not officially close the account.
Incidentally, this is the one area of my credit report where a mere "good" was recorded and the reason why my FICO score is not 850. All other areas were "great."
I have never had an account sent to collections, had a judgment against me, had wages garnished, or any other such financial episode.
Those kinds of situations wreak havoc with credit-worthiness.Although I am proud of my FICO score, I am not smug. People who have steady employment with both spouses working obviously will have less difficulty paying bills on time than others. I have made good choices, but I have also been lucky.
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