Credit Resources

What is a FICO score?
The FICO score is a number that summarizes your credit risk. Lenders use it to make credit decisions, such as the interest rate you get when you apply for a loan.

Understanding FICO scores
FICO scores range from 300-850, the higher the better.

The General Formula for FICO Scores
Payment History 35%
Amount of Debt (Capacity) 30%
Length of Credit History 15%
Types of Credit 10%
New Credit/Inquiries 10%
 Total 100%

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Improving Your Score
Follow these simple recommendations to get back on track:

  1. Check your credit report - Request a free copy from annualcreditreport.com. Check for any errors, incorrect late payments or incorrect amounts owed. If any errors are found make sure you report the errors right away to the credit bureau and the reporting agency.
  2. Make your payments on time – Setup reminders or even better, setup automatic payments if necessary to ensure timely payments.
  3. Reduce the amount of debt you owe – Do not exceed more than 50% of your available credit per card. Easier said than done, but once you achieve this, it'll make you feel super-duper!

Fixing Your Credit

Errors do not disappear on their own. This is why you must act quickly and contact the appropriate credit bureau regarding the error.

Equifax: (800) 685-1111
P.O. Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374
www.equifax.com
TransUnion: (800) 888-4213
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19022
www.transunion.com
Experian: (888) 397-3742
P.O. Box 2104
Allen, TX 75013
www.experian.com

By law, they have 30 days to investigate and respond to your complaint.

Sample Dispute Letter:

Date
Your Name
Your Address
Your City, State, Zip Code

Complaint Department
Name of Credit Bureau
Address
City, State, Zip Code

Dear Sir or Madam:

I am writing to dispute the following information in my file. The items I dispute also are encircled on the attached copy of the report I received.

This item (identify item(s) disputed by name of source, such as creditors or tax court, and identify type of item, such as credit account, judgment, etc.) is (inaccurate or incomplete) because (describe what is inaccurate or incomplete and why). I am requesting that the item be deleted (or request another specific change) to correct the information.

Enclosed are copies of (use this sentence if applicable and describe any enclosed documentation, such as payment records, court documents) supporting my position. Please reinvestigate this (these) matter(s) and (delete or correct) the disputed item(s) as soon as possible.

Sincerely,

Your name