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Your credit score - more important than you think

Danielle Bly

Issue date: 10/2/09 Section: News
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Everyone has heard those funny jingles on TV about freecreditreport.com, but what does your credit report really entail, and what does it mean for you?

What is a credit report?

Let's let Wikipedia enlighten us, shall we? A credit report is "a record of an individual or company's past borrowing and repaying, including information about late payments and bankruptcy".

What does my credit report include?

Your credit report includes a wide range of information about your financial history including, but not limited to:

Personal data (addresses, social security number, employment history, etc.)

Summary of credit history (all financial accounts with information about current standing - good or bad)

Detailed account information

Inquiries into credit history (number and type of inquiries into credit report)

Details of any accounts turned over to credit agencies (information about bankruptcies, liens, etc.)

Information on how to dispute any information included in the report.

Whenever you apply for credit, you allow a credit lender to access all of this information to help determine your overall creditworthiness. Based on all of this information, the credit reporting agency will give you a number ranging between 300-850 (the higher the better). This is the overall number that lenders use to determine whether or not to grant you credit (the national average is currently 693).

How can my credit score affect me?

The bottom line is the higher your credit score, the more money you'll save. The lower your credit score, the more money you'll have to pay for things like interest on your debt. For example, for a 60-month car loan of $25,000, a person with a low credit score could pay up to $9,375 more than a person with a high credit score for the same loan due to a 12.6 percent difference in their interest rate. Interest rates will also be higher for people with low credit scores for things like mortgage loans and personal loans. Keeping your credit score as high as possible can help you mitigate these costs of higher interest rates.

How can I increase my credit score?

So now that you know all about your credit report and credit score, what can you do to influence that all-important number? First, it's important to understand the factors that impact your score. Then you can use that knowledge to your advantage when making financial decisions that could affect your score.
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In This Issue

News

  • Can you name this place?
  • Have you heard about Case Western Undergraduate Bioethics Society?
  • Homecoming at CWRU
  • Preparing for 2009's local and state elections
  • President Barbara Snyder engages the student body in first-ever student State of the University address
  • RAD classes aim to protect students
  • Six CWRU students test positive for H1N1
  • Students celebrate sustainability at campus-wide GreenFest

Sports

  • At least Anderson keeps it close
  • First round robin puts Spartans in driver's seat
  • Football Gameday: Case vs. Wooster
  • For Denison QB, first test is daunting
  • Judges bring Spartans down to earth

Fun Page

  • Combo Scramble Solution
  • Crossword Solution
  • Maze Solution
  • Sudoku Solutions

Opinion

  • Drastic healthcare reform unnecessary, wasteful
  • Editorial: USG must take action, stem abundance of resignations
  • Moore's Capitalism: an undeserved bully pulpit
  • Recycling: getting to know your plastics
  • State sex education legislation provides needed overhaul
  • State your case: what do you do on a rainy day?

Focus

  • Acappella for Africa successful fundraiser for Global Medical Initiative, showcases CWRU's multiude of a cappella talents
  • Baker-Nord Center to hold student-run Flip Camera Film Festival
  • Botanical Gardens, Baker-Nord Center present compelling afternoon of poetry reading and composition
  • Cleveland Museum of Art opens Paul Gauguin: Paris, 1889 exhibit
  • Eldred Theater season opens with Heidi Chronicles
  • GLTF season opens with gut-busting Edwin Drood
  • Hitting the Spot: Cody Wood
  • Kid Cudi brings introspective musical perspective to Case Western
  • The Buzz
  • Thinking about summer jobs and real-world employment can never start too early

Cross Country

  • Women emerge from "mud pit" with title

Football

  • Nicely catches 3 TDs in win

Sex and Dating

  • The real reason to get a flu shot

Soccer

  • Streak snapped: Spartans get first UAA win since '06

Spartan Spotlight

  • Spartan Spotlight: Brian Evans

Worst Case Scenario

  • Cold season
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