Credit freezes are free under a federal law that just went into effect. Learn how to protect your credit.
by Sid Kirchheimer, From the AARP Bulletin Print Edition, March 1, 2010
Have a question for Sid Kirchheimer about a new product, a new kind of bank account? Check out the Ask Sid archive. If you don’t find your answer there, send a query.
Q. How much will credit slip-ups lower a FICO score?
A. We all know that making late payments and maxing out credit cards hurt credit scores, but how much? The folks at FICO, whose scores are widely used by lenders, have revealed the actual penalties.
If your FICO score is 680, a 30-day delinquency drops it by 60 to 80 points; maxing out a credit card costs 10 to 30 points; a foreclosure costs 85 to 105; and declaring bankruptcy shrinks it by 130 to 150. If those same missteps are made by the owner of a 780 FICO score with few signs of risky credit behavior in the past, the number of points lost could be about 50 percent higher in each case.
Sid Kirchheimer writes about health and consumer issues.
AARP financial educator Jon Dauphine explains why closing old credit cards may not be a good idea.
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