Marino on Money: March 10

Yesterday I discussed the credit report, and today I will review the credit score.

Your credit score is a number designated by Fair Isaac Corporation, better known as FICO. It helps lenders determine how much of a credit risk you might be. FICO developed its original formula for credit scores in the '50s, and since then it's the most widely used credit risk indicator.

Your score is based on the following items:

• On-time vs. late payments
• Length of credit history
• Amount of credit you apply for

Additional factors may also impact your report.

The lower risk factor lenders assign to you, the higher your FICO score. A score at or near to 700 usually qualifies you for "A paper", that is the best loan available.

To obtain your score easily, access www.myfico.com. Note that a fee is required. Consider obtaining your free credit report from www.annualcreditreport.com first, before deciding whether to pay a fee for your FICO score.

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