Protect your credit score
How do I find my credit score
If you’re a member of LGFCU and currently have a loan or an active credit card with us, you can check your credit score for free within Member Connect! Your credit score is automatically updated within Member Connect each quarter.
Another convenient way to get your credit score may be through additional financial institutions where you have an account, credit card or loan. Check with those providers to see if a free credit score option is available.
Three things you can do right now:
1) Pay down revolving credit and keep your balances low.
2) Don't let your credit balances get too close to their limits. Try to keep your used/open credit ratios to no more than 30% for each account.
3) Only apply for and open new accounts when you really need to.
Remember! A credit score is just a snapshot in time based on information currently available within your credit report. Credit scores can change over time based on your credit behavior.LGFCU uses the FICO® scoring system.
What makes up a credit score?
There are five main parts that shape your credit score. Knowing these factors helps you know what steps to take to improve or maintain your credit score.
Even though it takes time to improve a credit score, the good news is — you can do it!
Payment history on current and past accounts, and any public record or collection items.
With payment history being the most important factor in determining your credit score, it is important to ensure you make all payments on time, every time.
Ratio of overall credit use — balance — compared to credit limit — amount of credit available.
It’s best to keep your balances consistently below a 30% credit utilization ratio. Example: If your balance is $250 and your limit is $1,000, your ratio is 25%.
Amount of time credit accounts have been open and how long it’s been since those accounts have had activity.
Closing old credit card accounts could hurt your score. It’s better to keep these open to show a longer credit history.
The variety of open credit accounts, like credit cards, retail accounts, installment loans and mortgage loans.
Maintain different types of credit accounts to show diversity within your credit report.
Record of how frequently new credit accounts are opened or applied for.
Be strategic when shopping for a new loan or credit card to avoid opening multiple credit accounts during a short time period. You don’t want your credit report to show you’re constantly applying for credit.
Quiz yourself: keeping your credit score on track
Eight common ways to “protect” your credit score
Check your credit score regularly
Become familiar with your credit score by checking it regularly. Then, you’ll be able to identify and correct any inaccurate or incorrect information that may be listed.
Maintain a low debt to credit ratio
Use less than 30% of your total available credit. This keeps your “debt to credit ratio” lower.
Give your credit time to age
Having a longer average age of credit shows responsible credit behavior and is good for your credit score. To prevent a credit card issuer from closing an account due to inactivity, make small purchases and then pay the balance in full each month.
Use debt management if necessary
There are no quick fixes for improving or changing your credit score. If you’re struggling with debt, avoid services that claim they can fix your credit report or credit score for a fee. Instead, use reputable debt management services like your Credit Union.
Only apply for credit when you need it
Credit score models look at how many new accounts you’ve applied for, how quickly you applied for them and what new accounts you’ve opened. Applying for or opening too many credit accounts too quickly may hurt your credit score.
Maintain a healthy credit mix
Having a healthy mix of credit accounts shows lenders you’re capable of managing different types of credit. Having too many different credit accounts, though, or not having a variety at all, could negatively impact your credit score.
Keep a positive public record
Do your best to avoid certain activity that will appear negatively for several years on your public record including foreclosures, bankruptcies, short sales or delinquencies on your credit accounts.
Pay your bills on time, every time
Missing payments, making late payments or having past-due accounts transferred to collection agencies all negatively affect your credit score.
FAQs about credit scores
The number that represents your credit score is calculated by a statistical model that compares your credit information to others with similar credit reports.
Five key factors are used to determine a credit score:
- Payment history
- Amounts owed
- Length of credit history
- New credit
- Credit mix
Learn more by viewing What’s in a credit score?
For lenders, your credit score indicates how good you are at repaying your debts and may be used to determine whether you will be approved for a loan. Sometimes, credit scores are also used to determine the interest rate you receive on certain types of loans.
Yes. Usually, your credit score is not impacted when you check your own credit reports or credit scores. It’s good to check your credit reports and credit scores regularly to make sure your records are accurate and complete.
Yes. The credit score you see can depend on the credit scoring model and credit bureau that the credit scoring company uses to calculate it. There are many different credit scoring companies and models, as well as several credit bureaus, which means you could receive different credit scores from different companies.
There is no minimum credit score required for a loan at LGFCU. Credit scores may determine the documentation needed during the loan application process, but are not a factor in loan pricing.
According to the FICO® scoring system, a credit score of 819 is considered "excellent."
Credit unions are a great option to consider if you're trying to improve your credit score. Your Credit Union provides support for credit score management, including complimentary in-branch financial counseling services and affordable financial products. Both of these can help you get on track with your finances, which in turn, affects your credit score.
While different financial institutions use varied credit score models, LGFCU uses the FICO® Score 8 model, provided by Equifax.
COVID-19's impact on credit scores
Soon after the pandemic began, many lenders allowed consumers to defer payments on certain credit cards, auto loans, mortgages and student loans. Lenders reported consumers who opted for the break in payments as “current” on their loans to credit bureaus. However, some creditors incorrectly reported them as “late” which caused a drop in many credit scores.
If you’ve been affected, here’s what you can do:
- Make sure the information in your credit report is correct. Now through April 2022, you can get a free copy of your credit report online, once a week from Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. View and download your credit reports from the three credit reporting agencies.
- Dispute any discrepancy you find on your credit report with the credit bureau as soon as possible to have it corrected. If you need additional help, you can contact the CFPB.
- If one or more of your payment schedules are currently on hold, use this time to request Financial Counseling, available at no charge, through your Credit Union. Ask for help with a plan to pay off these payments and more once the extension period ends.
- Ask about our Mortgage Assistance Program to help keep you in your home if you’re having trouble paying your mortgage.
- Use the Financial Hardship section to help you navigate your financial challenges.
Continue on your credit score journey
Stay tuned for more credit score tips and advice from the Credit Score Mentor!