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The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

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The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

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Good credit score necessary for good rates

Good credit score necessary for good rates
PBS

(PBS)

 

A good credit score is necessary for receiving good rates on insurance and mortgages, determining whether or not one gets a job offer and obtaining future credit. Knowledge about the different credit cards available and actively managing each card is essential for having a good credit score.

“Your true credit score is a number between 300 and 850 that evaluates your risk as a borrower. There is one source and one source only for your true credit score (aka FICO score) — the Fair Isaac Corporation,” said Clark Howard, nationally syndicated consumer advocate, on his website ClarkHoward.com.

You have a FICO score with each of the three main credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. The scores vary slightly in each bureau because of differences in the way they compile information about you.

In a world where someone with decent credit receives daily credit card applications, it is easy to obtain a credit card which promises a large credit coupled with low monthly payments. And that’s how consumers can start getting into trouble.

In addition to promising “attractive” payments, credit card companies pursue other marketing techniques such as offering free flights or free hotels.

According to the Survey of Consumer Payment Choice, the average American has 3.5 credit cards each and 76 percent of college students have on average four or more credit cards.

“I have four different credit cards because each one gives me different benefits. For example, each time I spend a certain amount of money on my American Express credit card I get a certain amount of miles on American Airlines,” said Elizabeth Purtell, a junior at Southern Methodist University.

What these offers do not tell you is that it is easy to become overwhelmed with debt and if you looked a little closer, you may see that it would take more than a lifetime to pay the debt when only meeting the minimum payments.

That is because the high adjusting interest rates are often hidden in the small print. If one is confronted with multiple cards with high balances, it is always best to pay off the card with the highest interest rate first.

Visa conducted a survey and concluded that 42 percent of Americans never check their credit score and don’t know how they’re doing credit wise.

[A high credit score can be obtained by knowing how to effectively pay off a credit card balance. It is important to avoid paying the minimum on a credit card and having multiple interest rates such as on cash advances, charges, and balance transfers.

If you pay only the minimum, the bank is allowed to apply all the money you pay to the lowest interest rate debt, letting higher interest debt accumulate. However, other factors contribute to increasing your credit score.

To the left is a chart that, according to PBS, demonstrates what component affects your score.

But if you pay more than minimum, every dollar you pay above the minimum goes towards your higher interest rate debt.

“Pay more than minimum because it will get you out of debt sooner and pay more than the minimum because the money you pay becomes much more efficient in paying off debt,” said Howard on his website.

“I do not have a credit card because I am worried I would not pay off my balance and be in debt. I’m entering the real world and realize I have to apply for a credit card to establish my credit score,” said Chelsea Harrison, a junior at Southern Methodist University.

Not only is a credit score important when trying to rent and get cable or utilities, but also more employers are looking at FICO scores in order to determine what type of individual they are hiring.

Effectively managing a credit card has more benefits that outweigh the risks. It’s understandable why many people like Chelsea Harrison fear obtaining a credit card; however, following your credit score and evaluating your spending and paying behavior can help alleviate many of the dangers behind the FICO score.

 

 

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