Black Friday is 3 days away. It’s the official start of the 2010 Holiday Shopping Season.
Sales are expected to top $111 billion this year and, already, businesses are vying for shoppers and their dollars. Newspaper circulars are getting larger, and in-store discounting is more prevalent.
But one discount that shoppers should think twice about is the popular “Open A Charge Card, Save 20%” promotion. The short-term savings may be tempting, but the long-term costs may be huge.
It’s because of how credit scores work.
According to myFICO.com, “new credit” accounts for 85 out of 850 possible credit scoring points, with new credit defined by such traits as:
- Number of recently opened accounts
- Number of recent credit inquiries
- Time since recent credit inquiries
- Proportion of new accounts to all accounts
These traits are negatives against a FICO score so with each new, in-store credit card application, a person’s credit score will fall. The fall will be especially pronounced for persons lacking credit “depth”, or who have made a disproportionately large number of new credit applications recently.
For soon-to-be homeowners, or would-be refinancers in Mason , credit scores are worth keeping high. This is because credit scores change the mortgage rates and/or loan fees for which an applicant is eligible.
As an illustration, assuming 20% equity on a $200,000 conforming loan:
- 740 FICO : No added loan costs
- 720 FICO : 0.250% increase in loan costs, or $500
- 700 FICO : 0.750% increase in loan costs, or $1,500
- 680 FICO : 1.500% increase in loan costs, or $3,000
- 660 FICO : 2.500% increase in loan costs, or $5,000
It’s expensive to have a low credit score — more expensive than the money saved by opening a card at the mall, anyway.
That said, if you know you won’t need your credit for a mortgage within the next 6 months, the risk of applying for in-store credit cards is likely small. But if you’ll need your FICO soon, consider paying for your gifts full price.
This week marks the start of the Refi Boom’s 7th month across Ohio ; rates have been falling since early-April 2010. Whether you’re looking to refinance or buy a home, however, know that not everyone will qualify for today’s low rates.
Mortgage approvals are primarily based on good income, good equity and strong credit, and, without all three, the best rates of the day remain out of reach. Now, you can’t always ask for a raise and equity is a function of the housing market, but you can do something about your credit score.
In this 4-minute segment from NBC’s The Today Show, you learn some credit basics to help propel your score higher:
- There’s no “quick fix” for credit. Time + Good Credit Behavior = Better FICOs.
- Pay every bill when it comes due. Even one late payment can damage your score.
- Don’t close old credit cards
Also among the segment’s advice is to stop worrying about whether rates have bottomed. Refinance today if it makes financial sense. Then, if, by chance, rates fall in the future, just refinance again. Don’t be greedy, we’re told.
The company behind the popular FICO scoring model has published a “What If?” series for common, specific credit missteps.
If you’ve ever wondered how your credit score would be affected by a missed payment or a maxed-out credit card, now you can use a look-up guide to assess the probable damage.
As published by myFICO.com, here’s a few common financial difficulties and how they affect FICO scores.
Max-Out A Credit Card
- Starting score of 780 : 25-45 point drop
- Starting score of 680 : 10-30 point drop
- Starting score of 780 : 90-110 point drop
- Starting score of 680 : 60-80 point drop
- Starting score of 780 : 140-160 point drop
- Starting score of 680 : 85-105 point drop
Not surprisingly, the higher your starting score, the more each given difficulty can drop your FICO. This is because credit scores are meant to predict the likelihood of a loan default. People with lower FICOs are already reflecting the effects of risky credit behavior.
Also worth noting that the above is just a guide — your scores may fall by more — or less — depending on your individuak credit profile. The number and type of credit accounts you hold, plus their respective payments and balances make up your complete credit history.
Read the complete report at myFICO.com.