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The perks of “exceptional” credit: 3 ways to capitalize on 800+ FICO® Scores

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The latest FICO® Score data brought with it some encouraging news about consumers’ FICO® Scores and credit health: a growing number of U.S consumers—19.9%—have FICO Scores of 800 or higher. That’s nearly one in five people with FICO Scores in the “exceptional” credit range.   With news of more people boasting 800+ FICO Scores, we thought now’s the perfect time to detail a few specific perks of having high scores. Here are 3 ways to take advantage of “exceptional” FICO Scores.   1. Save thousands on a new mortgage One of the biggest financial advantages of having “exceptional” FICO Scores is the ability to qualify for the lowest interest rates when applying for a mortgage. With mortgage rates at historic lows, many first-time homebuyers (and current homeowners … [Read more...]

What you missed at the Cons & what it means to your identity

hacking your home

Identity theft is an ever-evolving crime which means to best protect yourself, you need to stay up with technology trends and vulnerabilities. One of the best ways to stay on top of tech? Attend two of the most popular tech conventions out there.   In the left hand - CONSUMER ELECTRONICS CONVENTION In case you’re not familiar with the Consumer Electronic Show (CES), it is a tradeshow created and owned by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) and is billed as “the industry’s largest educational forum to help companies expand their businesses and understand new technology. In other words, over 2,700 consumer technology companies from audio, visual, eco-tech, home automation, cell phones / accessories all flock to Vegas for a full week to show and tell the public about … [Read more...]

5 Ways saving money could help your FICO Scores

savings account FICO Scores

One of the best things about FICO® Scores is that they don’t consider your income or savings. That fact alone helps make lending fairer – lenders get an unbiased assessment of your credit health (whether they also consider your income is up to them). It can be tempting to overlook your savings and rely solely on credit – especially if you’ve managed to obtain some of those high-limit credit cards. But it’s not the smartest way to manage your financial health.   Why have a large savings account when you can obtain more credit at the click of a button or the quick jot of your signature? Besides the fact that credit cards typically charge you interest while savings accounts charge very little if anything, there are a lot of great reasons to build up a healthy savings account. One … [Read more...]

Buyer be prepared! 4 steps every first-time homebuyer must follow

first time

So, you’ve decided you want to buy your first home. So exciting! Congratulations! Okay, now what? So often I talk to first-time homebuyers and they know where they want to buy, what schools they want their kids to go to, the realtor they will be working with, but have no idea how they will pay for the home, and whether they can afford something in their chosen neighborhood. So, what should you do once you decide you are ready to buy your first home?   1. Understand how credit works – If you plan to finance your home purchase with a mortgage, it’s important to understand how credit works and the credit score you will need to get a reasonable mortgage rate. Remember that the higher your credit score, the lower (cheaper) your interest rate. Your FICO (Fair Isaac Corporation) credit … [Read more...]

The 3 most exciting trends in credit cards

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If you’re anything like the 482,754 FICO Forums members(1) who visited our credit card board last month or the 167 million American adults with at least one credit card(2), you’re always on the lookout for a credit card that offers fantastic, unique terms and features. Over the past few years, we’ve seen an explosion of rewards, points and features never seen before in the credit card industry. And it keeps getting better. Here are some of the most exciting trends in credit cards that you can cash in on right now.   1. More ways to use your points Most credit cards offer some form of points or rewards – travel points, gas points, shopping points, etc. Collecting points is great when you actually intend on using them, but sometimes you rack up a ton of points at a store you’re … [Read more...]

3 ways to pay off debt & how doing so could impact your FICO Scores

debt payoff plan

There’s an endless supply of theories on how to manage your debt in a healthy, responsible way. Some believe not to get into debt at all while others rack up credit card after credit card with little consideration. Neither extreme will likely have a positive impact on your FICO® Scores, but luckily most people fall somewhere in the middle.   At FICO, we recommend using available credit and loans when appropriate, making regular on-time payments, paying off debt when it’s best for you and keeping your revolving debt utilization low. With that said, there are a lot of people out there that simply feel buried in debt and want to pay it off completely. That’s a fine approach, but keep in mind that it might not have the impact on your FICO Scores that you were … [Read more...]

Not all millennials are saying “no” to credit

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Recently, we published an article about millennials using less credit than their age group did in the past. While it’s true that the amount of younger millennials (under 30) opting out of credit usage has increased, the population as a whole hasn’t shunned credit altogether.   There’s a persistent theory that millennials (those U.S. individuals between 18-34 years old) have turned away from many aspects of their parents’ lifestyle.  Preferring instead to live in urban areas versus the “burbs”, use public transportation instead of owning a car and avoid credit — instead, opting for cash or debit cards.   While some research findings support these themes, with an estimated 75 million millennials in the U.S., there are bound to be large numbers within this segment who … [Read more...]

3 Things you should know about your new chip card

6 ways to maximize your Credit card

Since we last wrote about the upcoming U.S. shift to EMV “smart” cards, banks and credit card companies have continued gradually issuing microchip-embedded cards to their customers. Chances are you’ve already gotten your hands on one of these new chip-based credit cards as the EMV rollout picks up ahead of the October 1st liability shift deadline, when merchants without chip-card readers will have to eat the costs of magnetic stripe card fraud. If you haven’t received chipped EMV cards to replace your existing credit cards, you can probably expect your issuers to send them soon (or you can simply give them a call and ask for the chipped replacements).   Either way, as magnetic stripe cards start getting phased out, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the new EMV … [Read more...]

What you need to know about your student loans before you graduate

Student Loans (4)

If you just earned your degree, congratulations! And welcome to your grace period – your student loan grace period, that is. This is the six months after graduation during which you typically do not need to make any payments on your loans. Most student lenders offer this option, and in almost all cases interest keeps accruing on your loans throughout these months. This means you’ll owe more in interest when your payments begin than you would have if you had made payments during grace period. Some of our borrowers ask us: Can any of this have an impact on your credit score?   The answer is that being in grace period itself will probably not have an impact on your score, but the end of grace period might, for some borrowers, have consequences for your credit. Here are two ways … [Read more...]

Dads, grads, and jobs: Thoughts on sticking to your budget while still enjoying the summer season

June budgeting

School is ending. Temperatures are rising. Some are going on vacation, some are going to camp, and some are going to work. A lot of us are still just going to work. There are also people yelling at their televisions as we are in the NBA Finals, the Stanley Cup, and Women’s World Cup. We are in June, a month that usually goes by too quick and is oft forgot – it’s the month in between Memorial Day and July 4th for us hard workers — but that doesn’t mean things aren’t happening.   Travel and credit cards   June is the start time for a lot of travel — I just had two different friends come to visit last week, and have two more visiting this week — but travel isn’t exactly cheap. Plane tickets can be hundreds of dollars, plus the cost of hotels, car rentals, dining, … [Read more...]

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