Credit score critical in obtaining loans

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DEAR SUN SPOTS: In today’s Sun Spots, a consumer said they think they should be entitled to free credit score each year. While your report was correct as far as the Fair Credit Reporting Act, they will not get a free credit score with the credit report. They must pay a fee for the credit score to be disclosed. — Gary via e-mail

ANSWER: Gary is right. There is a difference between your credit report, which reveals details such as what loan accounts you have open and whether your payments are current, and your credit score, which determines your eligibility for credit and the interest rate you might pay. The following is posted online at www.bankrate.com/brm/news/credit-scoring/20031104a1.asp:

“Lenders can use one of many different credit-scoring models to determine if you are creditworthy. Different models can produce different scores. However, lenders use some scoring models more than others. The FICO score is one such popular scoring method.

“Its scale runs from 300 to 850. The vast majority of people will have scores between 600 and 800. A score of 720 or higher will get you the most favorable interest rates on a mortgage, according to data from Fair Isaac Corp., a California-based company that developed the first credit score as well as the FICO score.

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“Currently, each of the three major credit bureaus uses their own version of the FICO scoring method — Equifax has the BEACON score, Experian has the Experian/Fair Isaac Risk Model and TransUnion has the EMPIRICA score. The three versions can come up with varying scores because they use different algorithms. (Variance can also occur because of differences in data contained in different credit reports.)

“That could change, depending on whether a new credit-scoring model catches on. It’s called the VantageScore. Equifax, Experian and TransUnion collaborated on its development and will all use the same algorithm to compute the score. Consumers can order their VantageScores online at Experian’s website (www.experian.com/consumer-products/vantage-score.html) for $7.95. Its scoring range runs from 501 to 990 with a corresponding letter grade from A to F. So, a score of 501 to 600 would receive an F, while a score of 901 to 990 would receive an A. Just like in school, A is the best grade you can get.”

DEAR SUN SPOTS: I made a big mistake in the write-up about the Blue Star Salute sent the other day from American Legion Foster Carroll Post 72. The correction: is delete Dominik Klinger at 674 -3014 and instead readers should write to American Legion Foster Carroll Post 72, P.O. Box 215, South Paris, ME 04281 with the information nominating your son, daughter, husband  name address, telephone number, present duty assignment and branch of service.  — Audrey via e-mail

DEAR SUN SPOTS: There was a typo in the phone number when I sent this item in before, so I am resubmitting this in case you can put a note in of the right phone number. Thank you very much for your time, and I sincerely apologize!

Do you know how to sew and want to make a difference? The Sew Fabulous! 4-H Sewing Club at Hillview Housing Development is looking for committed volunteers. Our established program, held in collaboration with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, has about 20 participants who are learning how to sew, but our girls need more mentorship and one-on-one help.

We meet twice a month on alternating Thursdays from 5:30 to 7 p.m. If you are interested in volunteering, please call 783-8539 or write cdefillipo@lewistonhousing.org for more details. We are also looking for a large metal storage container that locks and is in good condition to store sewing machines and fabric. Thank you! — Cassie Defillipo

This column is for you, our readers. It is for your questions and comments. There are only two rules: You must write to the column and sign your name (we won’t use it if you ask us not to). Please include your phone number. Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and telephone calls will not be accepted. Your letters will appear as quickly as space allows. Address them to Sun Spots, P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243-4400. Inquiries can also be e-mailed to sunspots@sunjournal.com.

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