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Hi, I posted this below in another board and was asked to post here.

There are a lot of "Myths" out there regarding credit scores. I'm in the mortgage biz and see credit scores everyday and here are a couple points of interest:

1. #1 factor that affects your score are late payments. Pay your bills on time and you can really throw out all the other factors such as utilization ratio, age of credit card history, and inquiries.

1a. Medical bills seem to go into collections very much faster than say 5 years ago. Don't ignore a medical bill even if you believe your insurance carrier is responsible for it. I've seen numerous times where a $40 medical bill drops someone's credit by 40 points.

2. I've seen people with no derogatory credit but credit score is not optimal. Digging in I've noticed that people with deferred student loans, start getting dinged when the current loan balance exceeds the original loan amount.

3. There are no quick fixes to improving credit scores. Many borrowers in my line of work, will think if they immediately do items I recommend, that credit score will rise within weeks. It takes months and sometimes years (depending on the nature of the credit issue) to get someones score back up to an optimal level.

4. Late pays and collections stay on your credit report for 7 years. Foreclosure, bankruptcies, and judgement stay on for 10 years.

5. If you have a Chase account, their Credit Journey is really good free source. Credit Karma is also a website I'd refer clients to but seems like Chase's Credit Journey has really evolved.

5a. Please note however; that the credit scores you see on these free sources are not the actual credit scores you may see when you go obtain mortgage financing or other financing. There are actual hundreds of different credit modeling formulas the three credit bureaus offer to financing arms. In the mortgage world, they use an older modeling formula. For example, whereas the Credit karma and Chase Journey will show Equifax's VantageScore, in mortgage world they do not use Vantage Score from Equifax but an older formula. One big difference is these new models such as Vantage Score use less of a weighting on collections. You therefore may see the free credit score showing higher than what a lender will tell you.

5b. In mortgage world, we use the middle score from the three credit bureaus. In other financing: credit cards, auto loans, unsecured loans, etc; companies typically contract one credit bureau. This could affect your rate if the company they use is reporting a lower score than the other two credit bureaus.
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