Do you know your FICO score? Do you know what a FICO score is?
Yeah, it's a grade that tells the world your ability to be financially responsible. Higher is better --
Getting your FICO score should cost around $16 from one of the three credit bureaus - Experian, TransUnion, Equifax - but if you followed my advice from last week's Money Monday about free credit reports, you only paid $8-$9 to get your score along with your credit reports.
Now you know your FICO score! How do you improve it?
The same way you improved your grades in high school - with hard work! Start by paying all your bills on time, paying off any delinquent bills, and working toward lowering your total credit card debt.
I remember an old co-worker telling me the way to improve my FICO score was to incur some debt - buy stuff I can't afford and start carrying at least a $5,000 balance on my credit card - and then start making regular payments on time. He said it was working for him. When I told him my credit score was already an 805, he shut up about it. Incur debt to show I'm financially responsible? Cracker, please!
Check out Suze Orman's article about getting and improving your FICO score for more information.