HUNTINGTON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – Millions of Americans may soon be paying more to borrow money.

That’s because change is coming in the way credit scores are calculated.

How’s your credit rating?

“I make sure I pay on time, try to keep the debt down a little bit,” said Kaitlynn Rigel. She knows how important your credit score is, because she sells cars with could soon change.

The company that rates your credit, the creator FICO is changing the way it calculates your credit score.

That was a topic of discussion on CBS This Morning.

“It sort of creates a world of haves and have-nots. If your score, if you are a good payer, it’s OK, your score is probably going to improve. But if you are a little bit late, and that’s happened more recently, that’s going to hurt you,” said CBS News business analyst Jill Schlesinger.

Hurt you with higher interest rates for a car loan, a mortgage, a personal loan.

“This is just a new scoring model that is going to look at the previous 24 months history as opposed to just looking at a snapshot in real time. And it’s going to be called FICO 10,” said Paul Oster, Founder/CEO of Better Qualified.

Oster, a credit repair expert, says FICO 10 is a boon to those who pay bills promptly and carry little debt. But for the rest?

“Anyone who has a late payment, 30, 60 days late, and anyone who is carrying higher credit card balances, you need to start paying those credit card balances down below 30 percent of the credit limits,” he said.

Eighty million consumers will see their scores change by 20 or more points. Half will increase. Half will decrease. Experts say a drop of 20 points can cost a household hundreds of dollars a month. They advise to put a bill on auto pay so they’re never paid late.

“You have to come up with a debt reduction plan. You have to do the ‘b word’ – the household budget,” Oster said.

And if you were thinking of refinancing your home, do it soon before banks adopt the new scoring model. Roll all your debt into the new mortgage.

FICO says the change will reduce loan defaults more precise assessments of credit risk. That’s good for lending institutions, bad for consumers who were banking on a more lenient scoring.

You can check your credit report for free by clicking here.


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