Credit 
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Hard Credit Inquiries and Mortgage Rates

Every so often I get an email from readers or friends about credit and credit scores. With the economy recovering, a lot of credit cards are offering large signup bonuses for new cardmembers and they’re very tempting. Open up a card, spend some money, and get a statement credit of $50. The airline cards are even more generous, with some offers up in the 50,000 miles range.

They’re very tempting, especially to someone who is young and doesn’t mind the hassle, but credit cards always result in a hard inquiry and this can be counter-productive if you plan on buying a home or car in the near future. One of the big mysteries of the whole FICO system is how the various factors play into the score but I’ll try my best to get an answer to this vexing question.

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 Credit 
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How Does Your FICO Credit Score Work

Credit CardsIf you thought that graduating meant the end of people grading and assigning you a number, think again. In the real world, it’s not your GPA that matters, but your FICO score. It’s a three digit number that is supposed to give creditors an idea of how credit worthy you are. Technically, it’s a measure of how likely you are to default on your debts.

It’s obvious why credit card companies, mortgage lenders, banks, and the like are interested in your credit score, but did you know that your employer, your landlord, your cell phone company, and your cable company are interested in it too? Anyone who may lend you something, like your cell phone company giving you cell phone minutes before you pay for them, is interested in how likely you are to make good on your financial promises. Your credit score has taken a life of its own, it’s about time you understood the beast.

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 Credit 
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New Credit Card Costs ±14 FICO Points

New Credit Applications!We recently purchased a Fujitsu ScanSnap S300 and have been scanning a lot of our documents to reduce the number of documents we retain. One of the documents we came upon were two printouts of my wife’s FICO credit score and credit reports from Equifax, through myFICO. Earlier this year she signed up for the trial to see what her score was and in between the two inquiries she applied for a credit card.

The first report was pulled in mid-March and she had a glowing score of 804. The second report was pulled a month later and her score was 790, still very strong.

The only difference? She applied for and was approved for a new credit card. It cost her fourteen FICO points.

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 Credit 
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MyFICO Coupon Code: SURVEY30

MyFICO is offering a 30% off coupon if you take their customer survey. I’m not sure how long the survey takes but at the end they give you a new 30% off coupon code for myFICO products. If you want, you can take the survey or just keep reading for the code:

SURVEY30

For my thoughts on myFICO, check out my myFICO review. If you just want your credit report, you can request your credit reports for free every 12 months at annualcreditreport.com.

The code is valid until December 30th, 2009.

You can look here for more MyFICO promo codes.


 Credit 
158
comments

What Is A Good Credit Score?

Credit Repair SignEver wonder what a good credit score is? Of course, we all do. It’s one of the most important numbers in our adult life, whether you agree with it or not.

You can check your score at a variety of places that offer free FICO credit scores but how do you really know whether your score is good or bad? Is a 700 good? Or do you need an 800? How’s a 600?

I think it comes down to what you plan on doing with that number.

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 Credit 
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MyFICO 25% Off Promotional Code: FinancialHelp25

MyFICO LogoThis code has expired but there’s a new myFICO 30% off coupon: SURVEY30.

Every so often MyFICO, the consumer arm of credit score equation creator Fair Isaac Corporation, offers discount codes to some of their products. The product I’ve had the most interaction with has been the MyFICO ScoreWatch product, which has a 30 day trial, so I haven’t been keeping close tabs on the promotional codes lately.

The latest promotional code is valid until September 30th and it’s FinancialHelp25. It drops the price of all their products by 25%, making them:

In the purchase process there will be a place to put in a promotional code, just enter FinancialHelp25 for 25% off.

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 Credit 
12
comments

7 Steps to Improve Your Credit Score

Credit Repair SignWhether you think we’re out of the recession or not (I would bet “no” based on the responses last week), it’s always important to play a little personal finance defense. Today, the topic is on credit scores and how to improve your score by taking a few small steps.

These aren’t steps you can use to boost your score 100 points overnight… those don’t exist. These are simply smart moves you can make, over and over again, that will ensure your score will be as accurate and as high as possible. And if anyone says they can boost your score 100 overnight, chances are it’s a scam (unless you have some egregious errors on your report!).

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 Your Take 
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comments

Your Take: How Often Do You Check Your Credit Score?

Red LED ScoreboardI’m a numbers guy. I love seeing numbers, trying to find trends, and playing with statistics. That’s probably one of the reasons why credit scores fascinate me so much, they are able to distill a bunch of actions you take as a person and package it up into this convenient three digit number that lenders go nuts over. I’m not saying the system is good or bad, but it’s the system and you have to play by the rules of the game.

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