This monthly column comes from the Arlington Community Federal Credit Union as part of their mission to financially empower the community. Credit unions are not-for-profit member-owned cooperatives and anyone who lives, works, worships, volunteers, goes to school, or does business in Arlington, Falls Church, Alexandria, or Fairfax County is eligible to join ACFCU.*
Credit scores are a three-digit scoring system that financial institutions and other lenders use to determine whether you qualify for loans and what your interest rate will be.
Building up your credit score is critical for saving money long term with lower interest rates and insurance premiums. It also helps to ensure that you will be able to access credit when you need it. Most lenders use a FICO score, which ranges from 300-850, and is based on your reported payment history from all your creditors.
Here are some of the key components that make up your credit score and things you can do to bring your score up:
- Payment history: A history of paying bills on time is the biggest component and accounts for 35% of your score. Set up autopay to ensure your bills are always paid on time.
- Utilization: 30% of your credit score is determined by how much of your available credit you are using. Pay down credit card and line of credit balances until you are using 30% or less of your available credit (for example 30% of your total credit card balance) to help build a healthy score.
- Length of credit history: Starting a credit history early is a great way to get a head start on building your credit score for the future. Your total length of history counts for 15% of your score. One way to start building credit is with a secured credit card. Secured credit cards require a deposit and your credit limit is based on the amount that you are willing to deposit. Make sure to use your credit card responsibly!
- Credit Mix: Credit scores consider the mix of types of credit on your credit report (e.g. mortgage, car loan, credit card). This makes up 10% of your score. Having a few different types diversifies your credit, but secured credit is generally a stronger indicator for your score. Secured credit means that there is collateral associated with your loan. Secured loans include mortgages and auto loans.
- New Credit: Opening several accounts in a short period of time (e.g. multiple credit card applications within six months) may reduce your credit score, especially if you have a short credit history. New credit accounts for 10% of your score. However, the score will recognize if you are shopping for rates (e.g. applying for a car loan with multiple lenders) within a limited period of time. Applying for credit or opening a new account can have a negative impact on your credit score but this drop is typically small and doesn’t last very long.
If you’re applying for a loan or credit card, consider having a conversation with your lender about your credit history and score. If your score isn’t where you want it to be, they may be able to offer suggestions to help you raise your score.
* Membership eligibility requirements apply. Federally insured by NCUA.
Arlington County’s Dept. of Parks and Recreation says it has a surfeit of programs for teens — but not enough teens to fill them. Between July 2021 and June 2022,…
The Old Bike Shop closed earlier this year in Lyon Park, after a decade in business, but a new bike shop is moving in. Vélocity Bicycle Cooperative, based at 2111…
The local small business Red Bean Harvest that imports authentic Colombian coffee is highlighted in Small Business Focus.
A nearly decade-old 5K race through Fairlington supporting a local girl with a rare disease is canceled, possibly indefinitely. Since 2014, hundreds of Arlingtonians and visitors have participated in the…
EDBS Dental Billing Solutions is pleased to announce that it has achieved compliance with the federally mandated standards of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) through the use of Compliancy Group’s proprietary HIPAA methodology, The Guard® compliance tracking software, and HIPAA Seal of Compliance®.
The HIPAA Seal of Compliance is issued to organizations that have implemented an effective HIPAA compliance program through the use of The Guard, Compliancy Group’s proprietary compliance tracking solution.
Clients and patients are becoming more aware of the requirements of HIPAA compliance and how the regulation protects their personal information. Forward-thinking providers like EDBS Dental Billing Solutions choose the HIPAA Seal of Compliance to differentiate their services.
“Since the nature of our business being exclusively remote, we take HIPAA compliance very seriously. With the help of Compliancy Group, we are able to take steps to fortify our systems to protect PHI information and familiarize each employee about HIPAA and how we can further safeguard PHI data.” said EDBS Dental Billing Solutions founder Goldie De Leon.
Are you feeling overwhelmed or struggling to cope with life’s challenges? You’re not alone. Mental health issues are more common than you might think, and seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness.
Our counseling service provides a safe, supportive environment where you can explore your feelings, identify negative thought patterns, and learn coping skills to manage your symptoms. Lauren is trained in evidence-based practices and specializes in a range of mental health concerns, including anxiety, depression, trauma, and addiction.
We understand that seeking counseling can be intimidating, but we believe that everyone deserves to live a fulfilling, happy life. Our approach is non-judgmental and compassionate, and we work collaboratively with you to develop a personalized treatment plan that meets your unique needs and goals.
We offer a free 15-minute consultation to see if our service is a good fit for you. Reach out at https://peacefulmindsolutions.com or call (703) 994-0300 to set up a consultation.
Singin’ in the Rain
The “Greatest Movie Musical of All Time” is faithfully and lovingly adapted for the stage by Broadway legends, Betty Comden and Adolph Green, from their original award-winning screenplay. Each unforgettable scene, song and dance is accounted for, including the show-stopping
5 Tips for Buying Your Dream Home – A Free…
Are you planning to move in the next 12 months but feeling overwhelmed by the current real estate market’s low inventory and high mortgage rates? Join us for a short seminar where we’ll provide 5 tips to help you find