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Mastering Your Credit Score

HOUSTON, Oct. 28, 2015 — According to a recent report on FICO credit scores – the most widely used scoring system in the U.S. – credit scores nationwide are slowly and steadily increasing, and the national average FICO score is at a 10-year high. Still, many consumers don’t fully understand what factors impact their credit. 

“What percentage of your available credit is being used? How have you met your past financial obligations? Are there any red flags – frequent late payments, defaults, judgments? All of this information factors into your credit score,” said Tammy LaValle, retail executive for Cadence Bank. “And when it comes to your credit score, higher is better.”

Credit scores range from 300 – 850, and help banks and other lenders determine a borrower’s credit risk. To establish, improve or maintain a good credit record, Cadence Bank recommends following these six habits of people with notable credit scores:
  • Always pay your bills on time.Late payments can lower your credit score, and frequent late payments are a red flag for banks and other lenders. 
  • Have multiple credit cards, but don’t use them all. Your credit score looks at how much credit is available to you in relation to how much of that credit you’re using. It’s good to have credit available, but you don’t want to use a high percentage of it. To maximize your credit score, keep your utilization at less than 30 percent of your available credit.  
  • Pay off your credit cards every month. Carrying a balance not only costs you in interest, it increases your credit utilization rate, which can negatively affect your credit score. Your utilization rate is calculated by dividing your total credit card balances by your total credit card limits.
  • Think twice before cancelling or closing an old credit card. Even if you don’t use it anymore, it could be helping your credit utilization ratio and adding valuable history to your overall credit picture. The longer you’ve had access to credit and used that credit responsibly, the better.
  • Pay off credit cards first before making extra payments on installment loans. Not all credit is created equal. Credit cards typically weigh more heavily on credit scores than other types of debt, such as a mortgage or installment loan. For example, having $600 in credit card debt can be a bigger issue than having $60,000 in student loans. 
  • Keep rate shopping to a limited timeframe. It’s good to shop around for the best rate, but too many inquiries can hurt your credit score. While a large number of inquiries will impact your credit score much less than late payments or overall debt, it is part of assessing your credit risk. When it comes to mortgage, auto and student loans, however, scoring formulas allow for multiple applications as long as they are all within a reasonable timeframe. If possible, do your rate shopping within two weeks so all of your activity will be counted as only one inquiry on your credit report.

About Cadence Bank

Cadence Bank, N.A., based in Birmingham, Ala., is a $5.7 billion bank with more than 100 locations in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas. Backed by 126 years of financial expertise, Cadence serves commercial and consumer clients with a full range of innovative banking and financial solutions designed to keep pace with their lives. These products and services include commercial and consumer banking, small business banking, treasury management, international banking, specialized lending, commercial real estate, wealth management, investment and trust services, financial planning, retirement plan management, business and personal insurance, consumer loans, mortgages, home equity lines and loans, and credit cards. Cadence Bank and its affiliates, Linscomb & Williams and Cadence Insurance Agency, are wholly owned subsidiaries of Houston-based Cadence Bancorp, LLC. Additional information about Cadence Bank is available at Cadence Bank, N.A. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.

Contact Information: 

Danielle Kernell

Cadence Bank, N.A.
713-871-4051 direct | 713-392-7709 mobile

[email protected]

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