Your Credit Report
FICO Score

What You Don't Know
Can Cost You

Review your credit report FICO score...
The 1st of 11 essential steps in the car buying guide.

You do not want to let the car dealer be the first one to review your credit file.

If you head to the dealership with no idea of what your credit report and FICO score shows, then you may be setting yourself up for failure and opening a door for the dealership to inflate your finance rate.

This can potentially lead to the dealership profiting thousands of dollars at your expense.

Note: Below I'll show you two sources to get your free credit report. One is your free government credit report and the other is from

A typical auto lender will have a credit tier structure that looks similar to this:

  • A+ Tier usually - 740 to 900 score
  • A Tier usually - 700 to 739 score
  • B Tier usually - 660 to 699 score
  • C Tier usually - 581 to 659 score
  • D Tier usually - 520 to 580 score
  • F Tier usually - 300 to 520 score

and what may look like a small difference between A+ tier and B tier can equal a difference in your finance rate of over 7.25%. That means big money in finance charges that you'll have to pay each and every month.

FYI: In some cases it may be best to hold off buying a car for a month or two, get your credit report and FICO score, clean up whatever needs cleaning and then buy your new car.

This is a really important step
for both good and bad credit consumers.

For instance...

If you think you have a 720+ FICO score and will qualify for the low 2.9% rate, but in reality some $200 medical collection, that you knew nothing about, just recently dropped your score 80 points...well then I guess it will be quite the surprise when you're told the best rate they can get you is in the double digits.

What Determines
Your FICO Score

There are 5 main factors used to determine your credit report FICO score. Here they are along with the percentage of your score they account for:

  1. Payment History (35 percent)
  2. How Much Debt You Carry (30 percent)
  3. Length of Established Credit (15 percent)
  4. Applications For New Credit (10 percent)
  5. Your Credit Mix (10 percent)

On my FICO Score page I go more in depth as to understanding how lenders see you and how they use your information to assign you to one of their credit tiers.

Use the information you find there when reviewing your credit report and FICO score to determine if you're as solid as you thought, or if you may need to clean some things up in order to secure a better finance rate.

Free Government
Credit Report

The "free government credit report," is not actually from the government, but was a government mandate that the three major credit bureaus give out a free annual credit report to interested consumers.

The only bad thing with this free annual credit report is that you will have to pay if you want to see your FICO score. Outside of that it is a completely free credit report.

You can mail your request to:

Annual Credit Report Request Service
P.O. Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348-5281
Or you can call (877) 322-8228.

The fastest way to get access is here: Free Government Credit Report.

To get your credit score for free you'd need to use a service like With this option you will receive your credit score for free and all they ask is that you simply sign up for a free 7 day trial of their credit monitoring service.

If you don't like their service, then you can cancel within that 7 day period and it costs you nothing, but if you like it, then you simply stay with them and pay a small monthly fee. I personally recommend credit monitoring as it is a good way to prevent identity theft (sky rocketing these days), which can be a real nightmare!

Check your Credit Score - Fast, Free & Easy with Enrollment at

Either way you decide to go be sure to stay on top of your credit report and FICO score for now and into the future, trust me life is better with good credit.

Now that you've reviewed your credit report FICO score...
What would you like to do next?

Move On To Step 2 -
Pre-Approved Auto Loan

Or you can...

Review the Car Buying Guide table of contents by returning from -
Credit Report FICO Score to the Car Buying Guide

Go to Insider Car Buying Tips home

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