Friday 30 May 2008

Credit card scores and scams

Credit scores in Australia are an amorphous concept, with interest rates generally being pegged for particular products, rather than being varied for individuals based on their credit history. In the US "credit score" usually refers to an individual's FICO (Fair Isaac COmpany) score. It is generally based on the following information:

  • payments history- 35%
  • amounts owed - 30%
  • credit history length - 15%
  • recent new credit - 10%
  • types of credit utilised - 10%

However, agencies differ in exactly how they calculate the score.

Apart from determining one's ability to get credit, and influencing the interest rate that will be charged, the FICO score can be useful in monitoring for signs of credit fraud. If your FICO score has fallen unexpectedly you should check your credit report to see if it shows any suspicious inquiries or unexpected accounts charges. One of the best methods of credit scam protection is to place a fraud alert on your credit report. This will (in theory) mean that every time someone applies for credit on your account you will be notified and can therefore detect illegal activity as soon as possible.

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