Featured Article: Renewed hope
Know the score
Your credit score, the rate lenders use for determining credit risks, differs from your credit report. At an average cost of $15, credit scores, which include the credit report, can be ordered from any of the three major credit bureaus or from www.MyFICO.com.
Under the current tight credit market, lenders put more emphasis on payment time and differ more on what makes a good score, says Linda Shedrow of Consumer Credit Counseling Service. Historically, a score of 700 to 850 is a low credit risk; 600 to 699 is a fair risk; and below 600 is a bad risk, for which borrowing would be very expensive, if not impossible. Visit bankrate.com or myFICO.com for more details.
Staying the course
Overall, the recession has not hurt the bottom line of owner-operator clients of financial services provider ATBS.Flatbed operators, after a rebound in 2008, experienced a slow 2009 as construction continued to stagnate.
Tips for improving your credit
• Open accounts for both checking and savings. Doing so shows you plan to pay bills and be responsible.
• Never bounce checks.
• Use only one credit card.
• Pay all bills on time.
• If in serious debt, pay off the balance of one card while making minimum payments on others. Then pay the next one off.
• Quit using all credit cards until debt is under control.
• Avoid getting new credit cards, such as when department stores offer an on-the-spot discount if you make a card application.
• Avoid easy-fix lending products, such as pay-day loans or so-called checking advance products being offered at some banks that charge annual rates of up to 120 percent.
• Get your credit report at least once a year to correct errors and monitor it in general.