Thankfully we don’t walk around with our credit scores shown above our heads, but the ability to answer these questions about your credit score is extremely important.
Experian recently released their 11th annual State of Credit report, which provides a comprehensive look at consumers’ credit performance across America by highlighting credit scores and borrowing behaviors.
While there is little doubt that many are facing financial hardships in our country today, especially regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s report provided an interesting view of how consumers are managing and repaying their debts. The report showed many Americans are practicing responsible credit management by reducing the number of credit cards, credit card balances, and late payments.
The report also broke down average credit scores by state. Minnesota had the highest credit score with 720, while Mississippi had the lowest credit score at 658. Kentucky fell nearly in the middle with a score of 676.
While these reports are valuable and interesting, it’s important to understand the basics of credit scores. Can you answer all 5 of these questions on credit?
What is a credit score?
Your credit score, also called a FICO score, is an actual number, between 300 and 850. The higher the number, the better. A score of 740 to 799 is considered very good, and as the Experian report shows, the national average is closer to 700.
What does FICO stand for?
FICO is an acronym for Fair Isaac & Co., the company that is responsible for tabulating your credit score.
What determines my score?
Credit scores are a compilation of several different data sources, primarily focusing on payment history, including if you pay on time, pay in full or only the minimum balance, as well as late or missed payments. These factors, along with amounts owed, length of credit history, and types of credit used, are some of the most important factors determining your credit score.
Do you know your credit score?
Knowing your credit score and keeping your credit score safe is one of the most important financial responsibilities you have. Background checks, some job applications, buying transportation, applying to rent an apartment, and buying a home can all be affected by credit scores. While a low score can work against you, a higher score can help you move into more significant financial responsibly.
Do you check your score regularly?
Accessing your credit is essential. Not only should you be able to understand the information in your credit report, but you should also regularly monitor it. Plus, reviewing credit reports can help you catch signs of identity theft early. This is one of the reasons that the three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) are now offering free weekly online reports through April 2021 via AnnualCreditReport.com.
While for some the future may seem uncertain, you can find comfort in knowing that you can improve your financial health, including your credit score. There are numerous resources, including our First Southern financial literacy center, to access and utilize during these unprecedented times. Our purpose is to use our example, our influence, and our resources to help others make wise financial decisions and our team is available to assist however possible.
You can also find out more about credit and how it affects you at https://fsnb.net/credit-scores/.