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Thinking of Purchasing a Home or Vehicle?


Your credit score can have a major impact on your life. Not only do creditors typically check your score when deciding whether or not to approve your loan application and what interest rate to charge you, but landlords, insurance companies, and even employers often check it as well. Having a good score can help you achieve your goals quickly and at the lowest possible cost.

The following are factors that impact your credit score – with ways you can improve them:


Making on-time payments on your existing loans or credit cards boosts your score. Conversely, making a late payment will lower it. Payments are considered late 30 days past the due date. Collection accounts and legal actions could have a serious negative impact on your score, too.


Carrying large balances on revolving debt (like credit cards) will lower your score – especially if the balances are close to the credit limits. Increasing your credit limit can help keep your debt-to-credit ratio lower. However, you still want to ensure you keep your credit card usage below 30% of its limit.


The longer you have had your accounts, the better, as it shows you have a record of making payments.


This factor looks at the number and proportion of recently opened accounts and the number of inquiries. While having many inquiries on your report will lower your score, all mortgage or auto loan inquiries that occur within a 45-day period are considered just one inquiry for scoring purposes using newer versions of the scoring formula. For lenders using the older versions, it’s a 14-day period.1 The version used to calculate your score varies by lender, so it’s best to get your rate shopping done as quickly as possible.


Having a variety of accounts, such as credit cards and loans, boosts your score.

To see your score, you typically have to pay for it. Since a FICO® Score is the one that is most widely used, it generally makes the most sense to purchase your score at However, keep in mind that you may not be seeing the exact same score a lender will see, as different versions of the score are available.

You can check your credit report for free once a year. As your score is based on the information that is in your report, it can be beneficial to review it and look for errors or inaccuracies you may need to address. You can get a copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) at Feel free to bring your report to SLFCU and ask a loan officer to review it with you before you begin the home or auto buying process.

1.  myFICO, November 2020. 

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