Figuring Out Your Credit Score

You could be paying thousands of dollars too much in finance charges for your credit card, your house, even your car.

Your credit score could be to blame; It's a costly problem many people don't even know they have.

It's one of the most important numbers you have.

It's not your social security number. It's your credit score.

It's different from a credit report but does reflect your credit worthiness.

A new survey conducted by the Consumer Federation of America shows only 25% of Americans know what a good credit score is and most people don't even know their score.

However, not knowing could cost you.

Stephen Brobeck of the Consumer Federation of America warns, you may be denied utility service, and may even be denied a job.

You're looking at paying potentially tens of thousands of dollars a year unnecessarily in interest charges.

A good credit score is anything above 700.

Anything below 600, means you pay higher finance charges. That means more cash out of your pocket for a house, a car and even your creditcard.

What lowers your score? Late payments.

In fact, just one late auto payment could lower your credit score by as much as 100 points.

Other factors, too much open credit and even your credit card balance.

Don't go over 50% of your credit line on any credit card.

By making a few changes in your spending and bill paying habits, experts say you can raise your score and potentially save thousands of dollars.

Video Extra:

Watch the video included to hear an interview with Allison Bonds from Residential Morgage explaining more about your credit score.

Also, if you feel like you've been the victim of identity theft, which can severly affect your credit ratings, you can contact the following credit agencies to help limit the damage.