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Old 11-02-2014, 09:44 AM   #21
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Your credit score can affect the cost of your car insurance (depends on whether the state allows it, but there's a clear correlation, with people with higher credit scores having lower claims potential). So, it's not just for borrowing.
Yeah, I've heard that. We've been with the same insurance company for many years (decades actually) but do comparison shop if our rates change. My agent would let me know if I was being re-categorized due to a sharp shift in my credit score. At least I think so........

We're conservative people. We LBYM, always pay our bills on time, have had no debt other than routine CC use for many years and had good credit scores the last time I looked some time ago. We were advised if we wanted a higher credit score, we need to use more credit. If our score dropped significantly, it would be because of a mistake or fraud. The possibility of mistake or fraud is why I likely should be more diligent about checking the score periodically.
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I use annualcreditreport.com. It lets you select one of the 3 major bureaus and run a report. That means you can run one of the bureau reports every 4 months for free. There will be plenty of places where you can order enhanced, paid reporting services, but if you just keep ignoring them you'll get to a report that costs nothing.
Thanks, I'll try them.
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Old 11-02-2014, 09:45 AM   #22
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Haven't had reason to use "Credit" except as a free 30 day convenience. Been using credit cards since 1958 (Sears Revolving Charge)... and except for one time ( a very long time ago...1970's) never missed a payment.

Now we get at least one or two solicitations a month for other cards...
Including the "Black Card" for only a $395/year membership fee.
OMG... what the heck is concierge service?
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Old 11-02-2014, 09:58 AM   #23
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Just curious, do you know and/or care what your credit score is?
No/No
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Old 11-02-2014, 10:06 AM   #24
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I know what my credit score is. I'm not particularly concerned. At 67 and FIRE'd for over 8 years, the chances of me participating in a transaction which is dependent on my credit score are pretty small.

OTOH, it's been a year or so since I looked at my credit score/report and I suppose I should do so. What's the best way to do it these days?
I've never checked mine so I'm not sure what is the best way to check it but I suspect others will have an opinion.

I'm retired and in my 60's too, and while I expect to make significant purchases in the future, (houses/cars/etc) those will all be done in cash. I do use credit cards for smaller items and convenience, but I pay those off each month. I don't have any plans to rent anything of any significance, my insurance is already cheaper than I expected (except health ins), etc etc, etc. So I was curious about responses to this question to understand if in my case "maybe I was missing something" and my credit score would be important to me.

After this thread dies out, I'll probably check mine just for grins, unless I find a real reason to care about it.
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Old 11-02-2014, 10:16 AM   #25
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Other than my one and only credit card, which I got in May, I have been completely debt free for years. My credit was OK the last time I checked, but if instead my credit was lousy, yes, my insurance rates will be higher. What would I do about it? Run out and borrow a bunch of money so that I could pay interest instead of higher insurance? They get you coming and going, as the saying goes.
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Old 11-02-2014, 10:35 AM   #26
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Yes, I know what it is (it comes in my Discover statement every month).

Not usually, but I do have a story about it having to do with insurance...

I got two credit cards (one for me and one for DW), so we could get our airline miles accounts large enough to get free R/T tickets. Then, it just happened that our homeowners insurance renewed. I didn't notice it at the time, but the letter they put in there said "Based on information in consumer reports, including a credit-based insurance score, you are not receiving our lowest premium." The premium that year was maybe $20 or $40 more or something (5%- 10%). No big deal.
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Old 11-02-2014, 11:10 AM   #27
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With three college costs coming due in a short time, DS decided to take a short term equity loan and was stunned to find it rejected because of a credit score.
A three year old medical bill that had been settled long ago, popped up and destroyed the credit rating. Unfortunately getting that fixed was not a simple phone call process.
Though we don't expect to use credit, it is comforting to see the Discover rating each month.
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Old 11-02-2014, 11:31 AM   #28
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When I login to my accounts at PenFed, I can see my credit score with one click from the home page.
It is not obvious to me when I login. What is the secret to this feature ? A loan or credit card through PenFed ?
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Old 11-02-2014, 12:17 PM   #29
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I've never figured out how that works (and I know they deliberately keep the details secret). You can get dinged for having too many recently-opened accounts. Or for being close to maxed out on your accounts. Or for having too much credit line available (because then you COULD go and max out your accounts). So, I keep the credit cards I want and close down the ones I'm done with.
Actually creditkarma explains in detail and gives the breakdown of why your score is what it is.

The whole FICO game is kind of a joke but I guess the banks have to have some type of system to measure customer risk.
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Old 11-02-2014, 12:26 PM   #30
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Other than my one and only credit card, which I got in May, I have been completely debt free for years. My credit was OK the last time I checked, but if instead my credit was lousy, yes, my insurance rates will be higher. What would I do about it? Run out and borrow a bunch of money so that I could pay interest instead of higher insurance? They get you coming and going, as the saying goes.
I would play their game and get 2 more major credit cards. Just use them occasionally and pay balance in full with no interest.

American Express has some good cards. Costco and Fidelity have been good for me.
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Old 11-02-2014, 12:44 PM   #31
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When I login to my accounts at PenFed, I can see my credit score with one click from the home page.
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Originally Posted by arky View Post
It is not obvious to me when I login. What is the secret to this feature ? A loan or credit card through PenFed ?
When I login, on the Main Menu there is a box at upper left (just below today's date) that says
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Your FICO Score is ready! View it now
Click that and there you are.
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Old 11-02-2014, 12:48 PM   #32
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I had a car dealer pull that on me once. I wanted to pay cash but they wanted me to finance the car thru them. They even told me I could pay it off in full as soon as I received the payment book. They were so insistent, that I finally walked out and they lost a sale. I went to a competitor about 20 mins away and they were more than happy to take my cash.
It was annoying but not to the degree that I was going to walk away and the fact that it was going to be a lot of work for the dealer and the bank to go through the process for little or no profit on the loan made no difference to me. I guess the bank perhaps even lost money on that deal. If they made anything it wasn't much.

And I don't begrudge the dealer doing that. It is a business, they do have to make a profit, and as with many businesses it is becoming increasingly difficult to do so. Unless some fool pays sticker price they don't usually make as much on the car as everyone thinks they do after their expenses are paid.
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Old 11-02-2014, 01:22 PM   #33
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.... As a landlord, I know personal behaviors can be predicted fairly accurately with a credit score. All of my domestic abusers have been low credit score people, or no score. The only reason I ever let them in is due to their partners stellar credit. ...
Do the abusers make sure the partner pays on time ?
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Old 11-02-2014, 01:27 PM   #34
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Last time I checked was when a bank with which I did business had a security breach and they provided free credit monitoring for a year. My score was 777.....
Ha, I win mine is 780 whats my prize ?

Seriously, I never even considered credit ratings until 11 yrs ago. Didn't really know they existed. Since its my nature to not borrow, and to pay my bills on time it turned out to be Ok.

I know now, to play the game well, I keep a couple of extra long term cards that I use just a few times per yr. That really helps the score, but mostly paying bills on time is the way.
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Old 11-02-2014, 01:47 PM   #35
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One reason I like to keep a good credit rating is that sometimes borrowing can be a strategic decision. Financing the car we bought in February with a 2.75% HELOC turned out to be a darned good decision given what our investments have done during that time. We're planning on downsizing next Spring and while I'm hoping that we won't need a mortgage at all, I might prefer to borrow rather than take money out of the investments.

For us, maintaining a good credit rating has been pretty simple; we've been married 11 years and haven't paid a dime of credit card debt. Paying the mortgage and HELOC promptly and paying off our monthly credit card balances in full has been all we needed.
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Old 11-02-2014, 02:01 PM   #36
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I've always cared about my credit score. In my 20's, I bought a house all by myself, and my stellar credit helped get me the loan. Back then, banks didn't like to lend to single women and they acted like they were doing me a HUGE favor to grant me a 13.75% loan!

I check our scores regularly on creditkarma (which approximates your score) and two credit cards that have started offering FICO scores. One CC uses the 950 scale; the other uses the 850 scale. Oddly, both CC FICO scores are higher than creditkarma's "approximation."

We score "excellent" but not perfect, which is always explained in terms of having too low of an average account age - caused by my opening new CC's to get the incentives. I also noticed that our scores took a 20-point dip shortly after we paid off our mortgage. So, responsible monetary behavior can actually lower your credit score.

I happen to think that earning CC incentives and not having a mortgage are reasons enough to "risk" a slightly lower score.

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Old 11-02-2014, 02:28 PM   #37
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....I happen to think that earning CC incentives and not having a mortgage are reasons enough to "risk" a slightly lower score....
Me too, why not grab those big incentives, they are worth thousands over the years.
I'm not a crazy CC churner by any means, so I keep a few cards forever, and then grab an incentive card or two each year, use it, get the bonus, and cancel before any fee. Then repeat in a year or two.
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Old 11-02-2014, 02:53 PM   #38
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Just curious, do you know and/or care what your credit score is?

Eh, I know what it is generally, but I don't care about the score, per se. I've found that if you have cash, credit doesn't matter.

I use annualcreditreport.com. It lets you select one of the 3 major bureaus and run a report. That means you can run one of the bureau reports every 4 months for free.

I just call/write in and cite adverse action for a free report whenever I want. The annual credit report gives the CRA's 45 days to investigate vs 30.

I've never figured out how that works (and I know they deliberately keep the details secret).

You need to try a bit harder. They have published in great deal how the FICO scoring algorithm works. Biggest thing you can affect is your debt-available credit ratio.

FICO Credit Score Chart: How credit scores are calculated

That was the first result after googling "how fico scoring works"
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Old 11-02-2014, 06:55 PM   #39
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Just curious, do you know and/or care what your credit score is?
Yes; and yes, I care.

FICO score is 825. I tend to apply for a lot of credit cards to get thousands of dollars of sign up bonuses. Having a top notch credit score is helpful. My insurance rates are also tied to credit score, although whether my score is above average or excellent probably doesn't matter (as long as it's not below average).
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Old 11-02-2014, 07:35 PM   #40
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I remember pulling my credit score 4-5 years ago from one of the big three, and it was 790, and I was disappointed. In 2011 I had a similar score. I started keeping track of this, and was going to pull a report from one of the agencies each year.

Since then I never gave it another thought, but have opened additional cards.

Today I checked Penfed and they report that my FICO is 860. So I feel good that it is over 800, but don't really think that 860 is worth any more than an 800 to me.
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