C.S. West & Associates CPAs of Tampa Bay


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All About Your Credit Score

Why Should You Care?

Credit has become essential in today’s world, whether you’re buying a car, purchasing a home, or managing everyday expenses. A good credit score is crucial for accessing credit, so understanding how to maintain a positive credit score and history is important.

The Importance of a Good Credit Score

Your credit score reflects your past and present credit transactions. It’s vital because lenders use it to assess your creditworthiness. A good credit score suggests reliability, making it easier to obtain loans, often at lower interest rates. Your credit score can also impact your ability to rent an apartment or get a job.

How Your Credit Score is Determined

The three major credit reporting agencies—Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion—track your credit history and assign a credit score, typically using software from Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO).

The FICO score, ranging from 300 to 850, is the most common credit score. A score of 700 or higher generally qualifies you for favorable loan terms, while scores below 700 may result in higher credit costs. Scores below 620 can make obtaining credit difficult.

Factors that Can Negatively Impact Your Credit Score

Several factors can lower your credit score:

  • Late Payments: Lenders review your payment history for the past 12 to 24 months. Consistently late payments suggest high risk, potentially leading to loan rejections.
  • Insufficient Credit History: A limited credit history can make lenders hesitant. Building a substantial credit history is often necessary to gain their trust.
  • Too Many Credit Inquiries: Each credit application triggers an inquiry on your credit report. Multiple inquiries in a short time can be viewed negatively, indicating possible credit issues.
  • Errors on Your Credit Report: Mistakes on your report can misrepresent your creditworthiness and lead to loan denials. It’s crucial to correct any errors promptly.
Fixing Credit Report Errors

Since errors can impact your credit score, regularly monitoring your credit reports from each agency is important to ensure accuracy.

If you find an error, contact the credit reporting agency to dispute it, either online or by mail. The agency must investigate within 30 days and provide written results. If errors are found, they must be corrected, and you’ll receive an updated report for free.

If the issue isn’t resolved, you can add a 100-word consumer statement to your file, explaining your situation. Although not mandatory for creditors to consider, it allows you to present your side.

For errors due to identity theft, additional steps like placing a fraud alert or security freeze might be necessary. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) website at ftc.gov provides more information on identity theft protections.

Correcting credit report errors can be time-consuming and stressful. If you believe your credit reporting rights are violated, you can file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) at consumerfinance.gov


C.S. West & Associates CPAs can advise you on credit improvement strategies in addition to helping you get your personal and business finances in order using strategic tax and financial planning.

Schedule a free phone consultation today!

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Cedrick and Sophia West co-founded C. S. West & Associates, PA in 2014 and specialize in Accounting, Divorce Financial Planning, Business Consulting and Tax Planning.

C.S. West & Associates

1115 Professional Park Dr.
Brandon, FL 33511



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