News by Subject
Complete list of specialty news sections.

Mortgage Advertising
Reach mortgage executives, loan originators and other people tied to mortgage industry.

Mortgage Industry News
Subscription-based news for people who work in real estate finance.

Mortgage Newsletter
Free e-mail newsletter with the latest headlines from

Mortgage News Reprints
Put entire stories in your online or printed newsletter or publication.

Mortgage Feedget RSS code
Condensed stories for your web site or for your RSS reader.

News Archives
Archive of news entries.

Mortgage Statistics
Data and statistics for real estate finance.

Mortgage Graphs
Directory of lenders, branch operators and mortgage service providers.
home advertise email RSS about us
HOT Topics Rates Glossary LO License Search
Consumer Mortgage News
Free mortgage news for current and prospective borrowers from a leading online mortgage industry news publication.

A Closer Look at Credit Scores

Are you dumb about credit scores? Try this quiz

June 2, 2015

By GREGORY KARP Chicago Tribune - Tribune News Service

How dumb are you about credit scores? A new online quiz can help you find out.

Scores are a big deal.

A consumer with low credit scores could pay $5,000 more in interest over the life of a typical five-year car loan than a consumer with high scores, which highlights the need to know about the often-confusing topic, consumer advocates said Monday.

The online 12-question quiz, newly redesigned and released Monday, is at and was developed by the Consumer Federation of America and VantageScore Solutions.

On Monday, those groups released the fifth annual survey of consumers' knowledge about credit scores that showed "serious consumer knowledge gaps remain."

For example, only 20 percent of Americans knew in the car loan example how much low scores could hurt their wallets. And 40 percent believe that credit repair companies are always or usually helpful in raising scores, when consumer-protection officials agree they offer poor value and might be more harmful than helpful, the consumer federation said.

The good news is that this year's survey, done in April, showed small, across-the-board improvement in consumer knowledge about credit scores, said CFA Executive Director Stephen Brobeck.

For example, fewer Americans think, correctly, that age, marital status and ethnicity are not used to calculate credit scores. A higher percentage understand that making loan payments on time and using a credit card but keeping low balances helps to raise a low credit score or maintain a high one.

Credit scores are notoriously confusing to consumers, in part because the precise formulas to calculate them remain industry secrets of companies that sell scores to lenders. And some seemingly harmless actions, like closing unused credit card accounts, can hurt your scores. Consumers also have many credit scores, not one, that can take into account different criteria depending on lender or type of loan. For example, credit scoring differs for auto loans and mortgages.

Besides taking the quiz to learn more about credit scores, getting your credit reports -- which scores are based on -- might help. The survey showed those who got their credit reports in the past year had significantly greater credit score knowledge than those who didn't.

By going to or calling 877.322.8228, consumers can access a report for free once a year from each of the three main credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.

While credit scores are designed to assess the risk you will pay back a loan, they can be used for other purposes, such as applying for wireless phone service, an apartment rental or utility service. Scores can also affect home and auto insurance premiums.

Among generic credit scores, not FICO, a score above 700 -- on a scale of 300 to 850 -- is generally considered good, according to the quiz.

While consumers must pay to see their most commonly used score, called a FICO score at, more generic scores can be had for free at some independent websites, like, and Some banks also offer scores to their customers.

Generic scores in the mid-600s are poor, probably meaning you will pay more than average or be denied credit.

Someone with a good score may lose 70 to 90 points for missed payments on credit card or automobile loans, and more than 100 points for missing a mortgage payment.

While paying your bills on time, every time, is the most important factor in scoring models, just carrying high balances can hurt your scores, even if you always pay.

Experts suggest keeping balances below 25 percent of your limit -- or $250 on a card with a $1,000 balance.

next story

back to home page

To see more of Chicago Tribune or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to

Copyright (c) 2015, Chicago Tribune

Distributed by Tribune News Service.

This story was distributed by TNS - Tribune News Service
Refinance News
News about refinance programs, pricing and production.
H A R P 2.0 News
News stories about the H o m e Affordable Refinance Program including expanded program guidelines.

Copyright © 2016 Subsribers Only:

AMC directory

ARM indexes

mortgage company directory

mortgage regulations

net branch directory

pricing engine directory

wholesale lender directory

More Mortgage News Resources ( full site map):

advertising news

appraisal news

bank news

biggest lenders

commercial mortgage news

corporate mortgage news

credit news

FHA news

financial regulation news

foreclosure news

free mortgage news

GSE news

jumbo mortgage news

interest rates

loan modification news

loan originator survey

LOS Newsletter


mortgage associations

mortgage-backed securities

mortgage books

mortgage brokers

mortgage compliance

mortgage conferences

mortgage directories

mortgage education

mortgage employment

mortgage employment index

mortgage executives

mortgage fraud

mortgage fraud blog

mortgage fraud local news

Mortgage Fraud Index

Mortgage Graveyard

mortgage insurance news

mortgage lawsuits

mortgage leads

mortgage lender ranking

mortgage licenses

mortgage litigation

Mortgage Litigation Index

Mortgage Market Index

mortgage mergers

mortgage news

mortgage politics

mortgage press releases

mortgage production

mortgage public relations

mortgage rates

mortgage servicing

mortgage statistics

mortgage technology

mortgage video

mortgage Webinars

net branch

net branch directory

nonprime news

origination news

originator tools

refinance news

reverse mortgage news

sales blog

secondary marketing

servicing news

subprime news

wholesale lenders

wireless mortgage news