|If I had better credit and more credit history, I could have financed the whole the whole thing and gotten a better interest rate.
An interest rate is the percent I get charged to borrow the money. And it is really important. Back to the example of Pete and Anand:
If Pete asks for $20, I would give it to him at a 25% interest rate. That means he has to pay me $25 ($20*1.25) back. I am doing this because it’s a risky investment, so to take the risk on Pete I need a high reward.
If Anand asks for $20, I would give it to him at a 5% interest rate. That means he has to pay me back $21 ($20*1.05) back. I am doing this because I know Anand will pay it back. Low risk for me, low reward.
You might think it’s only a $4 difference, but imagine if they are borrowing $20,000 instead of $20. Now Pete is paying me $5,000 in interest while Anand is paying me $1,000. Pete has to pay an extra $4,000 out of pocket just because his credit is bad!
How is it calculated. There are multiple different factors affecting your credit score and different companies that give different scores. The main factors are:
Payment History: Do you pay your shit on time? Like credit card bills and phone bills, do you ever miss them? This accounts for about 35% of your score.
Utilization: How much of your credit do you use? If your credit card has a $10,000 limit and every month you are pushing your limits and spending like $10,000, that is bad. That is 100% utilization rate. You want to be around 10% utilization rate, so if you have a $10,000 limit, only use about $1,000 of it a month. This accounts for about 30% of your score.
Length of credit: How long have you been using credit cards and getting other credit and paying it back? 5 years? 10 years? 50 years? More time = better score. Yeah it really screws young people.
Recent activity: How much credit have you tried getting in the last 3-6 months? If you are applying for 5 credit cards at the same time, that’s sketchy and hurts your score. Less recent applications = better score.
How is it rated?
It is a numerical based rating system with scores from 350 to 850.
0-350: You have no credit and you wont get a loan for anything.
350-579: You still suck and probably wont get a loan for anything. If you do the interest rate will be insanely high.
How does your credit get F’ed up?
It can be as small as forgetting that you put your social security number down when you signed up for the cable, then subleasing your apartment and giving the new tenant the login to pay for it and them missing payments. Ding on your credit.
Getting sent to collections agency, ding on your credit.
Missing 1 credit card payment, ding on your credit.
Really, missing any payment at any time in your life can screw up your credit.
So if I miss a payment, am I screwed forever?
No! Luckily, you can fix your credit! It is hard to do on your own, but there are experts who can help you. Our friends at True Credit Repair is offering our readers free consultations! You’d be stupid not to talk to them, it’s free. And if it turns out your credit sucks, they will give our readers a $1,500 discount on their services! If you aren’t sure if your credit is amazing, get checked out for free!