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Love handles, bad breath or psycho-stalker tendencies aren’t necessarily top-rung romantic-relationship deal-breakers in the current day and age.
According to a recent New York Times report, when a potential paramour asks for your number, he or she might not be talking about your phone number.
Instead, the number that could determine a first or second date — or a marriage proposal — is your credit score.
There’s even a dating website, Datemycreditscore.com, where people can find credit score- compatible matches.
Love, thy number is 700-plus.
Single or not, your credit score factors into many major areas of life, whether you’re applying for financing on a car or applying for a job, whether you’re trying to rent furniture or an apartment or buy a house. If your score’s too low, you may be turned down.
Here’s stuff you should know about raising your credit score:
+ A credit score is determined by a summary of your credit history going back several years.
Payment history accounts for 35 percent of your overall score, level of debt is 30 percent, length of credit history is 15 percent, number and diversity of loans and credit accounts is 10 percent and how many times you try to get new credit is 10 percent.
According to information from Experian, a national consumer reporting company along with Equifax and TransUnion, credit scores are impacted by: the number and severity of late payments; the number, type and age of accounts and total debt.
+ The two biggest red flags: late or missed payments and maxed-out credit cards or loans.
+ An excellent score is in the 700s or above; 620 is teetering between good and bad credit and below 600 is considered high risk.
+ The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires Equifax, Experian and TransUnion to provide consumers with a free copy of their credit report once every 12 months. The reports are free; however, learning your credit score comes at a cost — generally under $10.
You can obtain a report three ways: Visit online at www.annualcreditreport.com, call 877-322-8228, or request a form from Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281.
+ Once you know your number, which can fluctuate, then you can start taking steps to raise it.
* Pay bills before the statement date, not just the payment due date. If you can, make multiple payments or stay one payment ahead.
* If you goofed up and have just one late payment, you can try asking your creditor for a “good-will deletion.” This only works if you’re otherwise flawless in your bill paying.
* This sounds counterintuitive, but if you’ve never had any credit cards or loans in your name, get a credit card, use it and pay the bills promptly. Add an installment loan to the mix. This builds your credit history. No credit, no history, bad score.
* Pay off or pay down credit cards before loans. According to information from msn.com, lenders like to see big gaps between the amount of credit you’re using and your available limits. The bigger the gap, the better they like it.
* Pay for removal of your debt from your credit report. Bankrate.com says if you have an account that’s gone into collection you may be able to persuade a collection agency to remove the debt from your credit report if you agree to pay the debt off. The key here is you actually have to do it.
+ Improving your credit score takes time, so be patient. There are no “quick fixes” so beware of anyone promising one.
For more information, visit the websites MyFico.com or Experian.com.
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