Tabs on Credit Score

Keep Tabs on Your Credit

How to Keep Tabs on Your Credit

At some point, you’ll likely want to borrow for a big ticket purchase – a home, a car, a college education – something big for you or your family. Preparing for that day means staying on top of your credit score now.

Part of being a smart consumer is managing your credit history and credit score. Your efforts will be rewarded – a good credit score gets you lower interest rates, thus saving you money. Generally, if your score lands above 740 (on the traditional score range of 300 to 850) you’re in great shape.

So how do you keep on top of things? By getting and going over your credit report regularly. Luckily, it’s free. Several years ago, the three major credit bureaus came together to create and host a website,, which allows you to pull one copy of your credit report from each bureau every year. Pulling your credit report every four months allows you have a better likelihood to stay on top of your account and quickly spot any suspicious or inaccurate activity.

Once you have your report in hand, start with your personal data. Are there any mistakes? You are looking for red flags like names you have never gone by, addresses you have never occupied, or errors in your Social Security Number. If that information is correct, move on to your accounts. Make sure accounts listed are yours and that the information is accurate, right down to the credit limit, account status, balance, and payment history. Finally, look at your inquiries. Every time you apply for credit, whether it’s a new credit card, an increase in your credit limit, or a loan, the lender looks into your credit file. Make sure that the inquiries listed on your report are ones that you are aware of – in other words, you applied for that loan or credit card, and no one was trying to apply in your name without your knowledge.

If you find an error, it’s up to you to dispute it. All three credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, allow you to dispute information online, but where you can, you should also send a written letter. List all mistakes with a description of why the information is inaccurate and how it should be updated. Include any back up information, such as your account records, for proof, as well as your phone number and Social Security Number. Give the bureau 30 days to investigate. If you do not hear back (you should receive a letter detailing what was updated on your credit report, or an email if you submitted your dispute online), follow up and keep a paper trail.

American United also offers identity theft protection through a partnership with IdentitySecure®. Enjoy the security and peace of mind with comprehensive identity protection. The first month is free. Afterward, it only costs $14.95 per month. IdentitySecure® provides the advanced protection of fraud alerts and more, so you can lock down your identity and maintain control of your life. Find out more at

As always, if we can be of any assistance, contact an American United member service representative at 801.359.9600 or

Security concept: Lock on digital screen

Home Depot Data Breach

The Latest Data Breach

On September 2, 2014, American United became aware of an investigation into a data breach at Home depot locations in the U.S. and Canada from April 2014 forward. It is not believed that stores in Mexico or online shopping accounts were breached.

If you made any purchases at Home Depot, please call us at 877-992-8663 to report any suspicious activity. You may also order new cards even you do not see any suspicious activity.

Home Depot is also offering free identity protection services, including credit monitoring. You can sign up for these services at:

Even though this breach is not related to American United, and we do not believe our members have been compromised, we take cardholder breaches very seriously. Your security is our priority and we will act accordingly to protect member accounts.


What is a FICO Score?

Your FICO Score.

Your FICO score is one of the most important numbers of your life. It is a key factor in determining the interest rate on your next mortgage, auto loan or credit card. It may even determine whether or not you get an apartment or a job. For these reasons, it’s important to monitor your credit score, and understand how it works. This quick Q&A will walk you through some FICO score basics.

Is there a difference between a FICO score and a credit score?
No, they are the same. The Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO) issues credit scores based on a predetermined range. You will be assigned a number between 300 (worst) and 850 (best).

How is my FICO score calculated?
Fair Isaac takes a number of factors into consideration to calculate your credit score. These include your payment history, how long you have had lines of credit open, and your payment timeliness.

Here is a quick breakdown of what is factored in, by percentage:
•35%: Your payment history: all timely, tardy and missed payments. Recent history has the greatest impact.
•30%: How much you owe versus your overall credit limit (often called the debt utilization ratio). Debt hurts your score, but installment loans that create a regular (and timely) payment record can help your score.
•15%: The age of your accounts. Old accounts are trustworthy. New accounts are met with some suspicion.
•10%: New credit: inquiries into your account, new accounts, any effort put into turning around bad credit around. Too many new inquiries look bad.
•10%: Types of credit: credit card debt, student loan debt, etc. The best way to raise this part of the score is to diversify your credit sources.

How can I find out my credit score?
You are entitled to one free credit report each year from any (or all) of the three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. You are entitled to another one if you are denied credit. is the only government-endorsed website for obtaining your credit report. Getting your actual credit score may cost a bit of money. Check out the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s article here for more details.

What do the score ranges mean?
Here’s a quick breakdown of each score range and its significance.
Bad Credit: 300-579
Poor Credit: 580-629
If you have bad credit or poor credit, you will probably know it. You will have missed a lot of payments, declared bankruptcy, or perhaps you’re just new to the world of credit. You may have a hard time getting a card, or you’ll have to pay the highest interest fees if you do. If this is you, it is time to rebuild your credit by getting a secured card, or taking out a small loan, and establishing some sort of solid payment history.

Fair Credit: 630-689
If this is you, you will qualify for a number of cards, but you may not get the lowest interest rate or the best rewards. To keep raising your score, keep your debt utilization low. Borrow conservatively and make regular payments. Don’t close old accounts unless you are paying too many fees. Older accounts count more toward your score than younger ones.

Good Credit: 690-749
Excellent Credit: 750-850
With a good credit score, you will qualify for most credit cards. With excellent credit, you will get the lowest interest rates, the highest credit limits and the best rewards. Take full advantage of your benefits and keep making your payments on time to stay on top.

Above all else, be smart! Make your payments on time, and stay under your limit. It’s also good to avoid financial products with crazy-high interest rates, like cash advances. If you have bad credit and need to start from scratch, get a secured credit card and use it responsibly.

Courtesy of, an unbiased personal finance website dedicated to promoting financial literacy.