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So I'm subscribed to a service through USAA which tracks credit score and applications through Experian, primarily to catch potential identity theft and mistakes. Today I decided to see if the needle had moved on my credit score as it reports it.

The particular score I see in this report is called the "PLUS" score, which is similar to FICO but has a 330 to 830 scale (FICO tops out at 850 instead of 830). So for the most part, the PLUS score seems to be roughly the FICO minus 20.

My "PLUS" score is 780. That's fine and good; I'm not obsessed with raising it from this level since that's easily enough to qualify for just about any of the best credit terms out there (to the extent I need any more credit, which is minimal these days). But then for kicks and grins I went to the "Score Illustrator" to see how changes in my current financial situation would affect the score. You can change whether or not you are delinquent on accounts, you can see how a bankruptcy would affect you, you could see how adding credit inquiries would impact the score (approximately).

We own our home free and clear with no mortgage. When I changed the illustrator to indicate we had a mortgage that was current, the needle moved from 780 to 800. Fine, I guess; showing we can pay a mortgage on time regularly means something.

But then I changed it to say I had a mortgage which was delinquent. It moved back to...780. In other words, having no mortgage is as derogatory as having a past due mortgage!

Just thought that was a little interesting. It's not something that really concerns me because I'm still well within the tier of preferred credit, but it seems a bit odd that you are as penalized for having no mortgage as you are for having one but being a deadbeat!

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