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What Makes a Credit Score Rise or Fall?

from: Nathan Dawson

OUR financial decisions can affect your credit score in surprising ways. Two credit-scoring simulators can help consumers understand the potential impact.

The Fair Isaac Corporation, which puts out the industry-standard FICO scores, offers the myFICO simulator. A consumer with a score of 707 (considered good) and three credit cards would be likely to add or lose points from his score by making various financial moves. Following are some examples:

By making timely payments on all his accounts over the next month or by paying off a third of the balance on his cards, he could add as many as 20 points.

By failing to make this month's payments on his loans, he could lose 75 to 125 points.

By using all of the credit available on his three credit cards, he could lose 20 to 70 points.

By getting a fourth card, depending on the status of his other debts, he could add or lose up to 10 points.

By consolidating his credit card debt into a new card, also depending on other debts, he could add or lose 15 points.

The other simulator, the What-If, comes from CreditXpert, which designs credit management tools and puts out its own, similar credit score. A consumer with a score of 727 points (also considered good) would be likely to have her score change in the following ways:

Every time she simply applied for a loan, whether a credit card, home mortgage or auto loan, she would lose five points. (An active appetite for credit, credit experts note, is considered a bad sign. For one thing, taking on new loans may make borrowers less likely to repay their current debts.)

By getting a mortgage, she would lose two points.

By getting an auto loan or a new credit card (assuming that she already has several cards) she would lose three points.

If her new credit card had a credit limit of $20,000 or more, she would lose four points, instead of three. (For every $10,000 added to the limit, the score drops a point.)

By simultaneously getting a new mortgage, auto loan and credit card, she would lose seven or eight points.

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