On WNWO Today's Money Monday this week, David Seeger, President & CEO of Great Lakes Credit Union, gave us numerous facts and figures about credit scores.
The basic definition of a credit score: statistically derived numeric expression of a person's creditworthiness that is use by lenders to access the likelihood that a person will repay his or her debts.
FICO stands for the inventor of the score, which was the Fair, Issac Company that developed the algorithm for what is commonly known as the FICO score (your credit score). The FICO score scale runs from 300 to 850. The average credit score in the U.S. right now is 692. A year ago, it was 666. The median FICO score is 723. This suggests that there are a significant amount of low credit scores which pull the average score down to 692. A score of 640 or higher is considered by most lenders as prime scores, from 600-640 is not prime and below 600 is subprime.
The average score in Ohio is 690, Michigan is 688. The state with the best average credit score is Minnesota with 718. The lowest is Nevada with 660.
Major determinants of a FICO score: payment history, amount and distribution of current debts, age of the account, type of accounts, amount of credit lines and current usage of those lines. Also, the age of a person factors into the equation.
The three major credit reporting agencies are Experian, Equifact and Trans Union. To get a free credit score, which is an approximation of the FICO score, go to www.creditkarma.com. To get a free credit report, go to www.annualcreditreport.com. This is the government mandated site which, under law, you are entitled to one free credit report per year. If you are denied credit, you are entitled to a free credit report under Federal law.
To raise your credit score, Seeger suggests p aying bills on time and owe on fewer credit cards. Modest usage of credit will result in a higher, sustainable credit score.