Some believe that your credit score, rather than your GPA, is the most important score that you graduate with. Here are two recent articles that can help students better understand how to manage their all-important score:
The Wall Street Journal provides some tips on how to find out your credit score for free, at the three sites linked below but cautions that it is not as easy as it seems:
"The world of credit ratings is getting more transparent, thanks in part to a number of Web sites offering free credit scores and credit-management tools. But that doesn't mean understanding your credit ranking is any easier. It may be more complicated than ever. Those Web sites, while useful, often provide different answers to the same seemingly simple question: What's my score? For instance, after entering personal information at CreditKarma.com, the site gave me a credit score of 777. My score is 744 at Quizzle.com. Meanwhile, a notice from my mortgage lender in response to a loan application tells me my score is 806...Credit.com, another free site, takes a different tack: It tells you where you fall in a range for five different score types. For instance, on its Credit Report Card, I'm in the 750-850 range for FICO and the 901-990 range for Vantage Score (developed by the three major credit-reporting companies, Equifax, TransUnion and Experian).
Meanwhile, if you want the real deal, your FICO score, well...that will cost you unless your bank is feeling generous this holiday season:
"If you want your actual FICO score, it will cost you. A single FICO score plus a credit report is $15.95 at MyFico.com. At AnnualCreditReport.com, you can get a free credit report every 12 months from each of the credit-reporting companies. If you go through that site, Equifax will give you a FICO score for $7.95; TransUnion and Experian will provide the Vantage Score for $7.95. TransUnionCS.com sells a TransUnion credit report plus FICO score for $14.95. Meantime, some banks now provide the credit scores they're using directly to their customers, says Mr. Watts."
Meanwhile, over at the Baltimore Sun, columnist Eileen Ambrose is knocking down eight myths about credit scores, including:
- You must carry a credit card balance for a good score
- Closing cards improves a score
- Shopping for loans lowers your score
- Especially important when it comes to private non-federal student loans; check out my student loan shopping experience here
- A mortgage modification damages a score
- Employers use credit scores
- A credit score is everything
- Paying on time guarantees a good score
- A score must be perfect to get the best terms
Here are the factors that do go into a FICO score (from myFICO.com):