Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Credit Scores and your HELOC

While we really do not like the control that the credit scores have over people's lives. It is like mysterious black box that can affect almost every aspect of people's lives. The credit scores can affect how much you pay for everything, influence the home purchase or rental, even getting a job.

We have, in the past, hoped for some type of regulation for the credit score industry. Since different lenders can supply different standards for the same activity. Or people can have their credit score dinged through absolutely none of their own doing. And do not even get us started on the complexities of trying to fix something that is wrong with a credit score - it can easily become a full time job.

Now we see that you have to play HELOC games so as not to ding your credit score. Open your HELOC for 3 times the amount you plan to use or watch your credit score get hit. In this article titled Treat delicately before tapping HELOC - it could damage your credit from the Orlando Sentinel we see the complexities involved. Let's take a look -

I have heard from some of my sources who work for credit card companies that the federal government is requiring lenders and creditors to have cash on hand equal to, in some cases, 40 to 50 percent of the credit that has been extended in the form of available credit on a credit card, or a home equity line of credit (HELOC).


For example, if you have a credit card that you haven't used in 12 months, the lender may close it or reduce the amount of total available credit. We're hearing from thousands of Americans who have had their home equity lines of credit reduced or closed. Not only does this make it difficult to access the credit you've so carefully preserved, but it will also tarnish your credit score.


If you don't take money out of your credit line, you may be one of those who ends up having the credit limit cut and later regret that you didn't take the money out when you could. But taking a sizable amount of money without the means to pay back the funds can put you in a precarious situation.

Let's think about how this would play out: If you tap 80 to 90 percent of your line of credit, you will hurt your credit score at least a little. But if your credit line is cut substantially, that too might hurt your credit score, as you'll have less available credit.

Optimally, you'd never tap more than 25 to 30 percent of a line of credit ... Anything more than that could lower your score a little, depending on other factors in your credit history. But since you might actually need the cash, it's better to take it now rather than want it later and not be able to get it.

The credit score is a messy area - and it is probably getting messier with the economic downturn. It is in desperate need of standards and regulation. Having access credit but not using it could harm your credit. Use your credit - but get the amount available reduced also harms your credit score. Not having enough credit activity or history also affects your credit score. It all seems so counter intuitive. But that is the way credit scoring works.

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