Don't Obsess About Your Credit Score

I’ve read a lot of stores lately about “credit score enthusiasts” who want to get the perfect credit score or are obsessed with improving their score. While it’s certainly better than not caring about your credit score at all, it almost never pays to get a perfect score.

Despite all the stories about the odd ways your score is being used, the reality is that once you have a good credit score, you don’t need to obsess about it.

Consider this – if your score is better than 760, then Fair Isaac Corporation, the company that invested the credit score formula; says you get zero benefit from improving it. For mortgage interest rate purposes, a 761 is the same as an 850. For auto loans, the bar is even lower. If you have a score about 720, it’s the same as having a perfect score of 850. Visit their site and look in the right hand column – there’s a table listing FICO scores and APRs for 30-year fixed mortgages, 15-year fixed mortgages, and 36-month auto loans.

If you are planning on getting a loan in the next year or two and your score is close to the next tier, by all means try to improve it. If you aren’t planning on getting a loan and you have a decent score, focus your energies on something else. I assure you that you will get a better return doing something other than obsessing about your credit score.

Jim writes about personal finance at Bargaineering.com.