What do my eight years of credit history, three open accounts and no missed payments equal? According to FICO, a “very good” credit score of 746.
Ahead of the holidays, FICO sent me a gift card with a promotion code that enabled me to request a free score and report from myFICO.com. (Ah, the perks of writing about credit scoring!) The “FICO standard” package (which typically costs $19.95) included information from my TransUnion credit report as well as big, bold letters declaring my TransUnion FICO score to be 746.
“Your TransUnion FICO score is very good,” the report informed me. “Your score is above the average score of U.S. consumers and demonstrates to lenders that you are a very dependable borrower.” Yes, yes I am!
If you haven’t checked your credit score in awhile, you could be in for a shock.
According a report by the Associated Press, millions of U.S. borrowers have experienced significant declines in their FICO scores — the grading system most banks use in their lending decisions — amid high unemployment and limited access to credit. That scoring shift means many borrowers will find it increasingly difficult to qualify for affordable mortgages, auto loans and credit cards. “Millions more people will pay more over the next several years for credit,” says Gail Hillebrand, financial services campaign manager with nonprofit Consumers Union in San Francisco.
But credit scores aren’t only moving lower. The FICO data shows an increasing number of borrowers on the fringes of its scoring range, which runs from 300 to 850, with fewer borrowers in the middle of that range.
More than a year after having a credit card, I’m left with some musical equipment, a lot of empty calories, plenty of great memories and $600 in debt. This is my credit card life — in 4 squiggly lines.
Consumers awaiting final approval of the court settlement that will yield free TransUnion credit monitoring can sign up for discounted credit monitoring now, care of FICO score creator Fair Isaac. They’ll need to act fast, though: Fair Isaac’s 25 percent discount on its credit monitoring product is only available through the end of this month.