New FICO Scoring Could Change Your Credit Score!

FICO’s new scoring model, which was announced this past week, will likely lower credit scores for those with a current credit score below 600, as it is based more on the past two years of payments, and it takes personal loans into account.  However, those who already have good credit scores, and who continue to whittle away at existing loans, make payments on time, and don’t acquire new balances, will likely see higher scores under the new model.

“We’ve unfortunately found ourselves in an era where it’s becoming commonplace to water down the breadth of information on credit reports,” Ulzheimer says, adding that tax liens, judgments, medical collections and medical debt have all been removed or delayed from some credit scoring models.

“All of this is great for consumers who have tax liens, judgments, and medical collections…but it’s not great for scoring models and their users,” Ulzheimer adds. But he notes the new scoring model is not “consumer unfriendly” either. “People with good credit are going to score higher with newer models. People who have elevated risk are going to score lower.”

Despite the changed scoring model, it may take a while for it to hit your credit report.  “Change comes slowly in credit monitoring,” says’s industry analyst Ted Rossman. “Rather than getting too hung up on which model a particular lender is using, consumers should practice fundamental good habits such as paying their bills on time and keeping their debts low,” Rossman continues.

Of course, ultimately, which model is used will be decided by banks and other lenders.  FICO 9, released in August 2014, is still not used across the board.  Many lenders still use FICO 8, whick was released in 2009.  And still other lenders use VantageScore, which is produced by the credit bureaus Experian, Equifax and TransUnion.

The Best Time to Improve Your Credit?

Ever wonder when is the best time to work on your credit score?

Should you work on it around the first of the year when you’re looking at your budget, taxes, and spending for the previous year?  When you’re wishing you had enough money to take a vacation this summer?  Should you work on your credit when you’re in desperate need of a credit card so you can afford Christmas gifts?  How about when your car goes kaput and it’s past time to invest in another one?  Or when you want to buy the home of your dreams?

The truth is that there is no perfect time to start improving your credit score!

Why wait until a major expense looms and you’re scurrying around trying to find somewhere, anywhere to get the funds you need to get past the latest financial crisis?  Instead, why not start working on your credit score now, before you need good credit, before you’re forced to accept that higher interest rate mortgage, car loan, or credit card!

Let’s be perfectly honest here, the time is going to pass anyway, so why not work on your credit now?

Summer Vacation is Looming!

Summer is almost here! 

Are you planning a vacation?  Or are you still trying to figure out how you’ll afford to take even a small vacation?

You know, one of the easiest ways to save money (and be able to afford that vacation) is to cut expenses, and the easiest way to cut expenses is to cut something that you won’t miss.  Like credit card interest charges!   Think about it… you’re already spending the money, but if you were able to cut out that monthly interest, what would you miss?  The answer is absolutely nothing!  Not only would you have to do without something, but you’d have more money each month.  Money that you could save for that summer vacation!  Or use to pay off your credit card early, or use to buy something that you really need, or any one of a hundred other things!  Who wouldn’t want to save money that way?

Of course, if you’ve already paid your credit cards down, and you’re actually planning to use them to take your summer vacation, then that opens up even more possibilities.  Have you figured out which credit card you’ll use?  Have you looked at the interest rate you’ll pay?  Does it have travel rewards or cash back rewards?

Would you benefit by getting a different credit card that better suited your needs?

And, don’t forget your credit score! If your credit score has improved over the past few months, or years, depending on how often you review your credit cards, then you definitely need to make sure you’re carrying the right card before you ever leave the driveway this summer!

It’s October!

Well, it’s October, and you know what that means? Yes, your mailbox is likely filled with all sorts of offers… credit cards with no interest, catalogs with pre-approved lines of credit, and personal loan offers! Some of them look pretty tempting, don’t they? But, should you fill any of them out and return them? Should you complete the application online? Should you even consider the offers at all?

Honestly, yes and no to all of these questions. While the offers are definitely worth considering, you also need to do your research before applying for ANY credit card, catalog card, or personal loan.

First and foremost, check your credit score! Most of the mailers that you receive are based on the demographics of your state, city, town, or even your specific neighborhood, and not necessarily on your specific credit profile, so checking your credit first gives you the basic information that you need to start with before you even consider a single offer. If the offer is for a credit score that’s much higher than yours, you are likely to be rejected, which definitely hurts your credit score. And if the offer is for a credit score that’s much lower than yours, you will most certainly pay a higher interest rate, additional fees, and lose out on the perks that come with a credit card for better credit. So, start with your credit score.

Once you have your credit score in hand, you’re ready to move on to the next step. Consider each offer carefully! Remember, these are bulk rate mailers, and they’re not necessarily tailored to your specific needs, so what looks good at first may not compare to other options that you most likely have with other credit card, catalog, or personal loan vendors.

The best place to start is the individual credit vendor’s website. Are they legitimate? Are the terms that you see in your offer the same as you find online? Are they typically for individuals with credit scores in the same range as your credit score? Remember, these days, everything and anything is fair game to scammers out there trying to steal your money, your identity, or worse, and as such, you must consider everything and anything as suspect.

Once you’ve determined that the offer is legitimate, then it’s time to compare the offer in your hands to other offers that are out there. Are you getting the best interest rate? Are you getting the best rewards? Would you be paying fees? Is there a better option for you?

Unless you do the research, you can and you will lose out on the best credit card offers, and that will most certainly cost you more in the long run. So, do the research first, and then enjoy the benefits of those credit offers!

Here’s a good place to start:

Can’t Get Credit?

Getting credit when you have none can be extremely difficult, especially if you’ve had a serious financial setback that has resulted in a damaged credit score… How are you supposed to rebuild your credit score if no one will give you credit?  It seems like a vicious circle, but there are alternatives to conventional credit cards, and these alternatives are a great way to start getting your credit back on track!

Obviously, there are a couple of things that you absolutely have to do when you want to start improving your credit.  First, you’ll want to take a really good look at your credit report and do your best to correct any mistakes that you find.  These days, it’s as easy as filing a dispute online, answering a few questions, maybe emailing paperwork – and it doesn’t take nearly as long as it once did to correct these inaccuracies.  I’ve seen them corrected in as little as 30 days!

Another thing that’s vital to improving your credit score is to pay off as many of the derogatory marks on your credit report as you can.  Once you’ve paid them off, you can even request that they be completely removed from your credit report – this may or may not happen, but you should always try!

And finally, once you’ve done all that you can to correct the past, it’s time to start working on your future credit score by rebuilding your available credit and your payment history.  Now, as I mentioned at the beginning of this article, it can be difficult to get a conventional credit card right off, but there are a couple of really good alternatives to conventional credit cards, and these alternatives have been instrumental in helping millions of people improve their poor credit scores:

Apply for a secured credit card, like the Applied Bank® Secured Visa® Gold Preferred® Credit Card. Secured credit cards work a lot like conventional credit cards in that you will have available credit, you’ll be able to use it anywhere that you’d use a conventional credit card (online, hotels, car rental, airline tickets, etc.), and you’ll make payments on the purchases that you make, but the big difference is that you’ll have to put up a security deposit when you open the account.

Most secured credit cards have highly competitive interest rates, low to no annual fees, and many convert to conventional credit cards after a period of time.  All you have to do is choose the card that’s right for you! Just make sure that the secured credit card provider you choose reports your responsible use to the major credit bureaus, because that’s how a secured credit card helps you to improve your credit score!

Open a catalog shopping account such as a Fingerhut Credit Account issued by WebBank. Although it may surprise you, Fingerhut is actually one of the best catalog shopping companies out there. Not only have they been in business for decades, but they are known for working with those of us with less than perfect credit. In fact, most people get approved for a Fingerhut account in minutes, but in the event that you don’t? You may still qualify for a special fresh start program where you’d have to pay a nominal deposit on your first order before it’s shipped.

Either way, once you’re approved, you’ll love the selection of name brand merchandise, the competitive prices, and the low monthly payments!  And even better, you’ll love the effect that a Fingerhut Credit Account issued by WebBank can have on your credit score over time. (Fingerhut reports to the major credit bureaus too!)

Still think you can’t get credit? Don’t put it off any longer – start improving your credit score today!

Don’t Close That Credit Card Account!

You’ve finally paid off one of your credit cards…the balance is zero and you don’t plan to use it again.  Should you close the account so you won’t even be tempted to use it again?

While closing the account might seem like the smart thing to do at first, the truth is, you really need to think about it before you close ANY of your credit cards.  Why?  Closing an account will cause your total available credit to go down  and if your total available credit goes down, then your credit utilization percentage will likely go up, and this can cause your credit score to drop.  Leaving the account open with a zero balance gives you a 0% credit utilization rate on the credit card.  And this can balance out your overall credit utilization, helping you to keep it at or below the 30% that lenders look for when considering you for a loan of any kind.

And, as if that’s not enough, closing an account can also affect your payment history (another 35% of your score), especially if you’ve held the card for a long time (and you’ve kept your payments current).  Closing a card like this can take years of good payments off your credit history, making lenders think twice when they’re thinking about extending more credit to you.

So, what’s the best thing to do with those credit cards?

The truth is, if there’s no annual fee, no monthly “maintenance” fee, etc., attached to the credit card, it may be in your best interest to keep the credit card and use it once or twice a year just to keep the account (and payment history) current.  If you don’t feel comfortable keeping it in your wallet, simply put it away somewhere safe at home.  That way, you’ll have to think twice about using it impulsively!

The Best Way to Boost Your Credit Score

Looking for the best way to boost your credit score?

Maybe your credit score is less than perfect?  Maybe you’ve had a serious financial setback… lost your job, gotten a divorce, filed bankruptcy… The financial crisis has passed, and now you’re looking for the best way to get your credit back on track?

Believe it or not, one of the best ways to boost your credit score is to open a Fingerhut account!

Unlike most of those major credit card companies, Fingerhut will normally extend credit when no one else will.  In fact, almost everyone qualifies for up to $300 in available credit simply by entering your name and address and find out now.

How does a Fingerhut Credit Account help your credit?

A Fingerhut account helps your credit in two ways – the first and most obvious way is that you’ll have an open credit account with available credit.  Having available credit is a very important factor in your credit score… and keeping your balance at or below one third of your total available credit makes up about thirty percent of your credit score.  So, when you increase your available credit, you increase your credit score.

Secondly, Fingerhut reports your responsible credit usage to the major credit bureaus on a monthly basis.  This helps you to build or rebuild your payment history, and your payment history is another very important part of your overall credit score.  The longer your credit history and the more regular, on time payments that show up on your credit report, the more positive effect it will have on your credit score.

Still not convinced that a Fingerhut account is right for you?

If boosting your credit score isn’t enough to make you want to open a Fingerhut Credit Account right now, maybe the hundreds of thousands of competitively priced, name brand products available will sway your decision… that’s right, hundreds of thousands of competitively price, name brand products!  Everything from clothing to jewelry to electronics to furniture and appliances are available through Fingerhut!  Need a new wardrobe?  Fingerhut has it.  A new television?  Fingerhut has it.  New living room furniture?  Fingerhut has it!  That’s right, whatever you’re looking for, chances are you’ll find it at Fingerhut!

We’ll even give you a new promo code to get $25.00 off your first order!  Just enter NC698 when you check out to get your $25.00 off your first order of $100 or more!

Go ahead, what are you waiting for?  Open your Fingerhut Credit Account issued by WebBank  today!

Best Ways to Improve Your Credit Score

Looking for the best ways to improve your credit score?

Less than perfect credit?  Maybe you missed a couple of payments?  Maybe you’ve had a bankruptcy?  A foreclosure? Lost your job, got a divorce, or worse? In this day and age, it’s easy to understand why anyone might need a quick way to improve their credit score… when I first started trying to improve my credit score, it was in the mid 400’s, and that is a very poor credit score.  In the beginning, it seems hopeless to even try… you’re afraid that you’ll never be able to climb out of the credit pit that you’ve fallen into, and it’s very tempting to just give up and accept the fact that your credit score will never be good enough to get those low interest rates… never be good enough to get that new car, never be good enough to own a home… never even be good enough to have a decent credit card with a limit more than just a couple hundred dollars… Sounds pretty familiar, doesn’t it?

All is not lost!  There are so many ways to raise your credit score!  Simply by choosing the right credit options and putting for a little effort, you can improve even the worst credit score in a reasonably short period of time.

How do you improve your credit score?

Basically, the best way to raise your credit score in the shortest amount of time is to focus solely on those areas where your credit score has taken the worst hits.  Not sure of where that is?

First and foremost, you should know your current credit score AND you should have a current, detailed credit report on hand to review in depth so that you can determine the best places to make improvements, the best places to correct missing or inaccurate information, and even those areas where you really can’t do much more than to wait for them to drop off your credit report (typically seven to ten years).

These days there are lots of credit websites that promise you access to your credit report for free, but before you sign up, make sure that it is a reputable site that not only gives you your current credit score and your full credit report, but also offers credit monitoring, fraud protection, etc., for an additional monthly fee.  Although you may not necessarily use it at first, at some point, I highly recommend that you consider signing up for credit monitoring AND actually learning to use all of the features available to you!  The monthly fee is typically less than $30.00 which might seem like a lot, but in the long run, that monthly fee is nothing when compared to the improvements that you can make simply by being able to see all of your credit information in one place whenever you want updated information.  (Those free places only allow you to see a small amount of information on a monthly or even quarterly basis, and that is not enough information if you’re really serious about improving your credit.)

Once you really start working on your credit score, you will find that you want to check all three credit bureaus regularly because your score can be very different at each one, and when you dispute something at one credit bureau, you will have to dispute it at all three because they don’t share much, if any, information!

Once you’ve signed up, and have had the opportunity to really study the detailed information that is available within your credit report, then you can begin to improve it, first by reporting any inaccuracies (disputing is easy – you just submit it online!), and then by working on two other key items:

  1. Available Credit
  2. Payment History

These two simple components of your credit score are also the two easiest components to improve and they’re also two of the most important factors in the calculation of your credit score, so let’s start with what you can do to improve them!

The best ways to improve your available credit and your payment history!

One of the absolute best ways to improve your available credit when you don’t have a lot of cash is to simply to pick the right credit source, apply for an unsecured credit card, and then keep the majority of your available credit balance open on the card.  What if you can’t qualify for any credit cards?  Will a single $300.00 available credit balance be enough to really improve your score?  That depends.  If you have no credit history, having an open $300.00 line of available credit will certainly help your score.  But, if you’re actually trying to improve on a bad credit score, there’s a better way.

“Store” or “catalog” credit cards are the easiest credit cards to get, especially if you have bad credit – and yes, before you ask, some of those credit “cards” are better than the others when it comes to improving your credit score.  (Not only has this been my personal experience, but that of millions of other Americans, as well.)  So, what’s our recommendation for the best store/catalog credit card?

Fingerhut is the best store/catalog account to use for improving your credit score!

That’s right, is the best store/catalog account to use when you’re trying to improve your credit.  Why do we recommend Fingerhut?  Well, lets start with the features Fingerhut say that you can expect when you open a Fingerhut account:

Find out instantly if you’re pre-approved with a Fingerhut Credit Account issued by WebBank .

  • Build your Credit with Fingerhut!
  • Shop Great Brands.
  • With a WebBank/FingerHut Credit Account, buy favorite brands with low payments.*
  • Apply for Fingerhut Credit today. Fill out our easy online application.

Now, here are the benefits that Fingerhut doesn’t tell you about:

  • Fingerhut regularly reports the status of your account to at least one of the three major credit bureaus.  This status includes not only the balance due on your account and if your payments are made in a timely manner, but they also report your available credit, and that’s what we’re trying to improve.
  • Fingerhut regularly reviews your account to see if you are making your payments in a timely manner, how much you’ve paid, etc., and if your account is in good standing, they may offer you a credit line increase of a couple hundred to even several hundred dollars!  That’s right, it’s been my experience that Fingerhut will significantly raise your credit limit the more that you use the account to purchase items and as long as you make regular, timely payments.  And that significant credit limit can also significantly improve your credit score!
  • Fingerhut offers an interest rate on purchases that is often equal to, or even lower than, other store/catalog sites and even many credit cards.  Especially if your credit is less than perfect, you are likely paying as much as 33% and even as high as 39% interest on some credit cards – a typical Fingerhut account will be in the mid to slightly up 20’s when it comes to your interest rate.
  • Fingerhut does not charge a monthly or even an annual fee simply for having an account through WebBank.  Compare this with other store/catalog sites and most credit cards and you’ll see just what a benefit this is!
  • Fingerhut offers brand name merchandise at reasonably competitive prices.  Yes, you may sometimes pay a little more than you would at your local big box or discount department store, but you will also find that you will oftentimes pay less than at other catalog/store sites, and even at some of your local retailers.  Ordering is fast, easy, and your order is shipped promptly… right to your door!
  • Check out Fingerhut now to see how fantastic their site really is!

Still think you can’t improve your credit score?  

It’s far easier to improve your credit score once you actually get started.  My low credit score kept me from so many things… but once I really started studying my credit report, once I removed the inaccuracies, and once I made a real effort to improve my score, it didn’t take near as much time as I thought it would… and improving my score not only helped me to purchase a new car at a low interest rate, but two years ago, I bought my first house!

What are you waiting for?  Get started today!

Don’t Go Off the Credit Grid

Should You Go Off the Credit Grid?

These days, it seems everyone wants to go “off the grid.” Whether it’s off the power grid, off the debt grid, or off the credit grid… Yesterday, I actually read an article advising individuals to pay off all debt and strive for a credit score of ZERO. That’s right, ZERO.

What exactly would a credit score of zero really mean?

To be honest, I don’t believe that a credit score of zero is something that’s even remotely possible in this day and age, but let’s just say that it was. What would that really mean?

While it would mean that you have absolutely no debt, and would have had to have absolutely no debt for at least seven years at a minimum, a credit score of zero would mean that you have absolutely no borrowing power whatsoever. That’s right. NO CREDIT AT ALL. So, in the event that you actually needed credit, you would have no way to borrow any money.

No credit cards. No car payments. No mortgage. No credit history.

Does that even make any financial sense in this day and age? Not really. What makes more financial sense is to have no debt, but still have a great credit score, and enough credit available to you so that, if you need to borrow money, it’s there.

That’s why it’s more important to strive to maintain a good to excellent credit score rather than to strive to have no credit. And the best way to maintain your credit score is to monitor your credit carefully. Check your credit report, look for inaccuracies, and protect yourself against identity theft.

And, as much as you might like to go “off the credit grid,” it’s still very important to keep at least one, or even two, good credit cards and USE them occasionally to keep your credit lines open.

Do You Know Your Credit Score?

Do You Know Your Credit Score?

You’d be amazed at the number of people who don’t know their credit score… even if it’s not as good as you’d like, even if it’s horrible, and even if it’s perfect, you still need to know approximately where you are.

What if you aren’t planning to use that information anytime soon? Just because you aren’t planning to use it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be monitoring your credit score…in this day and age, with identity theft, credit card security breaches, and such, not knowing your credit score, not reviewing any and all action on your credit report…this can be very dangerous. It only takes a second for your information to fall into the wrong hands, but once it’s gone, it can take a lot of hard work and years to straighten out the mess that someone else can cause you in just a few moments.

What if your credit is so bad no one will give you credit? Believe it or not, it is simply not that hard to repair your credit score – you simply have to know your score, work to clear up any inaccuracies, and fix the rest. Pay off past due balances…Settle any judgments…just work at it and you’ll be amazed at what you can do if you try.

Believe me, your credit score is the one thing that you don’t want to ignore.