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By Mandelman

PLAY

There’s no question about it… the whole credit industry is a real racket. They’ve got us over a barrel or under their thumb, pick the cliché you like, but there’s just no way out… we simply have to care about our FCIO scores, whether we like it or not. And if we don’t, it’s going to cost us a bundle.

I’ve always been frustrated by the whole FICO score thing… I just don’t think that a number assigned by a company after scoring a mysterious test is likely to be the end-all-be-all predictor of how you’ll pay your bills in the future. In fact, I know it it’s not.

I only started paying attention to the whole FICO score thing a few years ago, when I discovered, along with the rest of the nation, that credit card companies were allowed to increase your interest rate to usurious levels, or cut your available credit limit in half… unilaterally, and at any time they desired. And since then I’ve learned that a low FICO score doesn’t just stop you from getting loans, or cause you to pay higher interest rates, it also can mean paying higher insurance premiums, and it can even stop you from getting hired by some employers… it’s absolutely incredible how many ways that one number can either help or harm you.

Some are even recommending that you check your fiancé’s FICO before saying “I do.” And if anyone actually does that, please let me know how it goes… I’m dying to hear all about it.

In 2008, I know I wasn’t alone when I started receiving letters from credit card accounts that I’d carried for many years, informing me that my balance had been significantly reduced, like from $7,500 to $5,000. Why? No reason was given, except that Citibank decided to do it. And later, when I was forced to make a few payments later than I would have liked, I found out the hard way that credit card interest rates could go to 19.9% or even 29.9% overnight… and they didn’t even have to drop a postcard in the mail to let you know.

Here’s how I honestly think about this subject…

I’m 52 years old. If I miss a car payment or credit card payment next month, what does that say about my ability or willingness to pay my bills going forward? …read more

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