Borrowing money today requires impressing an increasingly hard-to-please crowd. With creditors of all kinds more cautious than ever, you need an A+ application to land the best terms -- and that means an A+ credit score, the number lenders use to judge your risk of default.
The most commonly used credit scoring system, called FICO, rates people from a very risky 300 to a pristine 850. And right now we're in the middle of a credit score crunch: "You need a 750 or better today to have the same treatment you got with a 700 two years ago," says John Ulzheimer, president of consumer education at Credit.com.
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