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Credit scores range between 200 and 800, with scores above 620 considered desirable for obtaining a mortgage. Last week I was working with someone in the medical profession who had the income and appeared to have the ability to purchase a new home. Unfortunately the bank said “No” because their credit score was less than 600. What happened? Well, in this case, a few lost bills during a move resulted in some late payments which caused the problem. But there are a number of factors that affect your credit score. Here are a few:

1. Your payment history. Did you pay your credit card obligations on time or did you consistently deal with late charges.

2. Your debt load. If you have a lot of debt, it can indicate that you are overextended.

3. The length of your credit history. In general, the longer you have had accounts opened, the better.

4. How much new credit you have. New credit, either installment payments or new credit cards, are considered more risky.

5. The types of credit you use. Generally, it’s desirable to have more than one type of credit — installment loans, credit cards, and a mortgage, for example.

For more on evaluating and understanding your credit score, visit www.myfico.com.

Remember, it may cost you a little time doing the research, but it pays to know your credit score.

According to CBS News, 4 out of 5 credit reports have errors. Tell us about your experience with credit scores.


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