Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Credit rating can alter incentive

The Enquirer

Consumer advocates remind shoppers to read the fine print of a rebate offer - because not everybody will qualify for them.

"Rebates should be considered just another variable factor in your overall cost," the Web site advises.

Some incentives may require you to use dealer financing, for example.

Others may be conditional, based on your credit score.

Indeed, to get the lowest or zero-financing options, you'll most likely have to score high on the Fair Isaac & Co. (or FICO) credit rating.

That score is determined by a variety of factors, such as your loan history, total credit you carry and your bill-paying record.

Based on your unique factors, your score can be as high as 850 - the upper limit of the scale, in which case you are likely to get the best interest or zero-interest deal.

You'll probably get a less attractive interest rate if your score is on the lower end of the scale.

You can get an approximation of your FICO score by going to and using its free service.

For a more detailed credit rating, the three major credit-rating companies offer Internet services for a fee.

They are:

• Equifax -

• TransUnion -

• Experian -

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