DID YOU KNOW? The average FICO credit score is 706. Which is considered to be a "good" score based on the scale of 350-850.  Here are some great tips about CREDIT SCORES...........This is useful information for first-time home-buyers and anyone looking for ways to maintain financial health and avoid costly mistakes. 

 

  • Seeking information about your own credit score is always a soft inquiry, and won’t cost you points on your score, unlike a bank - a HARD inquiry - checking your score for a mortgage application. 

 

  • Preferably use less than 30% of your available credit each month and ideally less than 10%. Paying off your bills fully every month while fully using your credit is less effective. Raising your credit limit could help keep your percentage of utilization down.

 

  • Keeping a balance on your cards doesn’t help and could set back your financial goals, which are better served by consistently paying off credit-card debt in full.

 

  •  Closing an older credit card won’t help your score and it might actually hurt you.

 

  • Every time you open a new credit card - or take out a loan or qualify for a mortgage - the overall average age of our credit takes a hit, and the hard inquiry subtracts more points from your credit score.

 

  • Getting that first credit card is important to building a thicker credit file, and retail cards are often among the easiest to qualify for.

 

  • Shopping around for a mortgage getting multiple credit scores can hurt your credit, but when credit scoring companies see different lenders pulling your credit score around the same time, they bundle multiple requests as a single query. So shop different rates at the exact same time, within 14 days or less.

 

  • Late payments, collections, foreclosures and chapter 13 bankruptcies hurt your credit score for 7 years. A chapter 7 bankruptcy will hurt it for 10 years. But, with the exception of the bankruptcies, the impact of the other problems diminishes as the information ages.

 

  • Banks typically won’t report any debit-card activity to credit-reporting companies, but choosing the credit option on your debit-card purchase means the funds could take up to 3 days to post, whereas the debit option means immediate withdrawal.

 

  • 21% of consumers studied in 2012 found errors that resulted in modifications by the credit-reporting firms. Not all credit reports are accurate. So check your credit by regularly looking at your credit report. You are entitled to a free copy of your credit report annually from each of the credit-reporting companies (TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax). You can request them at AnnualCreditReport.com or by calling 1-877-322-8228. (WSJ)