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Understanding your Credit Score

News, Tips and Tricks

Understanding your Credit Score


When applying for a loan, your credit score can help lower your rates significantly, but with so many elements that go into your FICO score, it’s hard to know how to better your credit. According to The Motley Fool, FICO determines your score on a scale of 300-850, based on the following categories (weighting in parentheses).

  • Payment history (35%)
  • How much you owe/credit utilization (30%)
  • Length of your credit history (15%)
  • Types of credit you use (10%)
  • New credit inquiries (10%)

Payment history takes into account how many late payments a person has, but in the most recent update from FICO, it rates based on whether late payments are a pattern or an anomaly. So basically, that one-time late payment to your credit card shouldn’t ding you too hard. But with payment history making up 35 percent of your score, paying on-time, over time is a definite must.

Credit utilization is that ratio of how much credit you owe versus how much you still have available to use. Things like carrying high balances on a credit card could hurt you here, as it indicates you may be stretching your limits, whether or not that’s the case. At 30 percent of your score, it is worth evaluating your accounts to find that balance between using credit to build a history, while not over-using them.

Credit history length not only refers to how long it’s been since you first started building credit, it also takes into account the length of time each type of credit has been open. Even though older accounts that are still open--but not recently in use--don’t necessarily help your score, closing them is often not a good idea either. Keep an eye on when you opened certain accounts and this 15 percent of your score shouldn’t cause too much trouble.

As far as types of credit you use, FICO notices, but doesn’t really care how they are mixed up (are there more credit cards or auto loans on your report for example). What does matter here is that obtaining financing in different areas (auto, mortgage, retail credit, etc.) may yield different results since each industry has their own standards and focuses on your credit-worthiness in that certain area. But at just 10 percent of total score, this one isn’t as important to worry about as some of the other factors.

Lastly, there is the category of new credit inquiries. Often given a bad rap for dinging credit, this element is only 10 percent weight when determining score. The positive here is that FICO takes into account rate shopping, so applying for an auto loan a few times in a short period isn’t going to wreck your score. The only one that might have an effect is applying for multiple credit cards over a short period, but even that shouldn’t have a large effect on your overall score.

So, there you have it, your credit score explained. The first step to improving your credit though is to see what your lender sees when you apply. Get you your free credit report once per year, as the law allows, by visiting There are many sites where you can sign up, some free, some paid, but the above link will provide your report from all three credit bureaus once a year, just by requesting it, with no strings attached. 

EMC Merchant Terminal Beyond Square: Advantages Of Other Mobile Payment Solutions

Questions? Call Richard 404-919-7545

“What are the important dates related to EMV mandates?”

October 2015 is when liability shifts from issuers to merchants for counterfeit card fraud.

This shift occurs for card present transactions where the merchant is not using an EMV compliant device (with the exception of fuel merchants).

2. “What are the ramifications if a merchant is not EMV compliant?”

If a merchant chooses not to replace the non-EMV POS device with an EMV compliant POS device by October 2015, then the merchant is subject to the liability shift for card present counterfeit fraud transactions. If the merchant accepts a non-EMV card, has a EMV POS device and the transaction is fraudulent, the merchant has chargeback rights. If the merchant accepts an EMV card and does not have a EMV POS device, then the merchant does not have chargeback rights. It would also be possible for a merchant to be liable for accepting a non-EMV card if it is a counterfeit magnetic stripe card.

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3. “When will EMV-capable terminal applications be available?”

Merchants that have EMV-capable terminals will need a download to enable EMV acceptance and possibly a peripheral device for contactless EMV card processing.

4. “Will a merchant see any cost savings by becoming EMV compliant; what is the benefit?”

A cost savings benefit a merchant will receive is a reduced risk of losses for counterfeit fraud chargebacks.

5. “How will EMV requirements impact mobile/micro merchants (i.e. PayFox®)?”

EMV liability shift affects all card present transactions.
There is no distinction for mobile/ micro merchants.

06. “Are EMV requirements applicable to Aggregators/PSPs (i.e. Square®, etc.)?”

Yes, EMV requirements apply to Aggregators/PSPs card present transactions.

6. “What is the current and forecasted percentage of U.S. consumers with EMV-capable cards (or contactless cards/devices) over the next 3 years?”

Announcement• According to the EMV Migration Forum, as of December 2013 there were 12.7 million EMV cards issued in the U.S. • MasterCard® EMV cards are predominantly issued on an “at request” basis, usually for international travel. • The number of EMV cards issued by American Express® and Discover® in the U.S. is not available. • The card brands have not published the forecasted percentage of U.S. consumers with EMV-capable cards (i.e. chip/NFC) over the next 3 years. • published the following: » Out of the 1 billion cards that are in use in the U.S., only 20 million EMV cards have been issued. By the 2015 deadline if the current trend continues, only 20 to 30 percent of U.S. cardholders will have the new EMV cards.

7. “To be EMV compliant does a merchant need to support chip-and-PIN, chip-and-signature and NFC?”

ACH Terminal VX520• Visa » Credit card supports chip-and-signature » Debit cards will support PIN » Require processors to support NFC, however merchants are not required to support NFC although it is strongly encouraged. • American Express and MasterCard » Require processors to support chip-and-PIN » Merchants must support NFC in order to qualify for liability shift. • Discover and MasterCard » Require processors to support online and offline PIN support. Offline PIN support is when the terminal validates the PIN.

8. “If I am EMV compliant do I still need to be PCI compliant and incur PCI related validation fees?”

Merchants must maintain PCI compliance.

9. “What is the estimated “realistic” exposure (from a financial perspective) to a merchant, if they are not EMV compliant, post 2015 liability shift?”

The merchant’s liability depends on the amount of counterfeit fraud chargebacks they have.

10. “What if any differences in EMV requirements are there for cash advance merchant accounts?” There are no unique EMV requirements for cash advance merchants. They have the same liability shift as all card present merchants.

11. “What dates surround the Visa contactless requirement?”

Alert bull hornEffective January 1, 2015, Visa contactless readers must support the Visa payWave® message format and no longer support the early adopter message format. Visa does not require merchants to support contact and contactless, but strongly encourage it.

12.  “If a merchant chooses not to upgrade their equipment to accept EMV, will they still be able to process transactions?” Yes, however they are subject to the liability shift for card present counterfeit fraud chargebacks.

13. “What are the most significant differences between EMV and magnetic stripe transactions from a security prospective?”

door knocking• Magnetic stripe data is static; the data is the same each time the card is used at all terminals and is easily cloned. • EMV incorporates cryptographic algorithms with dynamic data to ensure the card is authentic which makes cloning extremely difficult.

 Questions?  Call Richard 404-788-4420

Here are 6 things that you cannot recover in life:   (1) The Stone...............after it's thrown.   (2) The Word...............after it's said.   (3) The Occasion...........after it's missed.   (4) The Time...............after it's gone.   (5) Today..................after it's done.   (6) Opportunity............after it's around the corner. These things are lost forever. When you work with any of the above things listed, you must be very careful. Nothing ever returns to its former position . Nnot totally. There is always something that is different, no matter how small. You have to spend your time wisely, or lose it. You must learn how to spend the time you have as wisely as possible. Even while you are asleep, it is the wisest person that develops time in such a way that your purpose continues even when you retire for the night, or maybe while you sit in a movie theater. Multiples of individuals have mastered the art of developing a method of "hands-off" income generation, which means the business runs even when you "aren't on the job" in front of your computer. In almost every case, it is a work from home program that is built from an idea, or maybe to copy the idea of one already available. Now That's An Opportunity! Copying the successful is not just a good idea, it's almost brilliant. Copy the very successful professionals, do what they do without reinventing their methods and ways. When you know how, it is much easier and it works. Remember; don't make this a "lost opportunity"... Take Action!  Email  ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to Facebook                                 If you found this article to be of value, Please support this blog with a donation of $5.  

5 Ways to Lead Like Jesus:

5 Ways to Lead Like Jesus!

The best leader who ever lived was Jesus!  Here are some of the ways in which ordinary people can be extraordinary leaders in their organizations and daily lives by leading like Jesus.
Many Followers, One Leader!
  • Use influence to lead people and not your position or title
  • Build relationships with the people who follow you
  • Be a servant leader who delivers results
  • Be committed to developing and growing the people who follow you
  • Represent yourself as a leader to gain respect of those who follow you
These are 5 steps toward becoming an elite leader like Jesus.  It's not easy being a great leader and fewer people can lead with respect.  If you want to lead people and be great at leadership then, follow the highest leader and learn from him.  We all know how the story goes, Jesus recruited 12 disciples and none of them were perfect.
The four most common flaws of his Apostles were betrayal, abandonment, unbelief and confusion.  But, Jesus was such a great leader that he could use their gifts and talents despite their flaws.  Great leaders want their followers to grow because it's good for the organization and good for developing better leaders.  Think about this: what have you done to make people want to follow your lead?  Put your leadership to the test by practicing these 5 steps and improve your leadership skills.
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