What factors affect your credit scores?

TransUnion TransRisk. FICO®. VantageScore®. These are just some of the credit scores creditors may have at their disposal when they’re evaluating your credit. Which one (or ones) they use to help predict what kind of a borrower you’ll be is up to them—and each credit score flavor has its own secret recipe. While you can’t find out exactly how credit score creators craft those 3-digit numbers, you can familiarize yourself with the 5 ingredients most scores have in common.

1. Your payment history

You know how food packaging labels list the ingredients in the order their amounts are found in the food? For many credit scores, payment history is at or near the top of the ingredient list. And for good reason. Whether or not you’ve paid on time is pretty useful when it comes to figuring out whether you’ll be a responsible borrower. Accounts showing late payments or charge-offs, delinquencies, accounts in collection, bankruptcies, tax liens and many other pieces of payment data generally make their way into credit scores in some shape or form.

Nugget of wisdom: Pay your bills on time and pay off delinquent accounts as soon as possible.:

2. Total debt

This is another big ingredient. Credit scores will generally factor in how much you owe across all your accounts. They’ll also look at your utilization rate. Even though it sounds like those hard-to-pronounce food ingredients, it’s neither harmful nor too complicated. Your utilization rate is how much credit you’re using compared to how much is available to you. So if your credit limit is $10,000 and you’re using $1,000, your utilization rate is 10%. Scores will generally get into all sorts of other details about how much you’re borrowing, things like how many accounts you have, how much you owe on installment accounts versus credit card accounts, etc

Nugget of wisdom: Don’t overextend yourself—only take out debt you can comfortably pay off.

3. Credit history length

This credit score ingredient is pretty straightforward: how long have you been using credit? Credit scores typically factor in how far back your first account was opened and the average age of all your accounts.

Nugget of wisdom: Think twice about closing accounts. We’re not saying closing accounts is bad, but just be aware that if you’ve had the account open for a long time and you close it, your credit score may take a dip.

4. Inquiries

When you apply for new credit, the creditor will almost always pull your credit report when evaluating your application. That credit report request to a credit bureau is known as a hard inquiry. Credit scores tend to incorporate how many recent hard inquiries you have on file. The idea is this: if you’ve applied for credit a lot within a short period of time you may be struggling to get credit.

Nugget of wisdom: Be conscious about how often you’ve been applying for new credit. Credit scores will generally take a hit if you apply too often within a short period of time.

5. Variety of accounts

This ingredient usually plays a small role in the crafting of a credit score, but it’s usually in there. Creditors like to know that you can handle paying a variety of different kinds of accounts. So you may get a small boost when you establish a different kind of credit account—installment loans vs. revolving, for example—and start making regular payments on time.

Nugget of wisdom: Don’t go buy a car or take out a mortgage just for your credit score’s sake. But if you’re at that point in your life, you’re financially ready and your credit’s the same in all other respects, branching out may give your credit scores a small positive nudge.

Credit scores are really just different takes on your credit health. So while you can’t control how credit scores are calculated or which ones are used, you can control your borrowing, payment and debt management habits. Because whether it’s what you eat or what your credit score is, healthy ingredients make for a healthier product and a healthier consumer.

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This article was originally published on truecredit.com.

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Absolutely The Most Essential Ways To Safeguard Your Business 100%

More than just money goes into setting up and running a successful business. In fact, its effort, time, and emotional investment as well. Of course, with so much being involved, protecting your business is always a chief concern for owners and managers. Although, with so many varied factors that can become potential threats, it isn’t the easiest thing to do. Happily, you can find some advice on how to best safeguard the success and longevity of your business below. Read on to find out more. 

Picture located at Pexels – Licence CC0 

Crime

No one wants to believe that their business is vulnerable to crime. However, you can never guarantee that the people that work for you, or that those buying your products will treat your company with the same respect as you do. Sadly, that means on occasion, your business can be a victim of crimes such as theft, vandalism, and even fraud. 

Of course, because each of these issues is so different, they do need a range of preventative strategies to be put in place. For example, if the concerns with theft, you have centre around shoplifting by people in-store, boosting your business’s security is a must. Something that you can do by installing CCTV cameras at key points, as well as investing in security tag readers for all of the exits. Some stores even find it helpful to employ security guards as well, especially if shoplifting has become a significant problem. 

Unfortunately, not all thefts are committed by outsiders in a business. In fact, sometimes, a company can be targeted for this sort of crime from the inside by its own employees. Of course, if you are concerned about internal theft, there are some strategies you can use to minimise the risks and protect your business. 

The first is to install lockers and ask everyone to leave their bags and personal belongings in there. This being an action that reduces the ease of getting stolen items out of the building undetected. Additionally, CCTV cameras in critical positions such as by the tills can help to prevent any mishandling of money or returned goods as well. You may even want to introduce random checks as a way to discourage theft too.

Cybercrime 

Then there are the issues with cybercrime that you need to defend your business against. Something that can be a serious problem, with so much of everything companies do now being online.

In particular, it’s crucial that you make sure to implement tactics that will help to protect our company from Malware. This being any software that has a malicious intent such as Ransome wear, viruses, and spyware. 

Recently issues with Ransome wear have come to the foreground because many smaller businesses have been targeted. A situation that often involves the freezing of online resources and systems, and the threat to delete them if a ransom isn’t paid. Of course, paying the ransom is nearly always a bad idea as it just perpetuates this form of criminality and could even make your business into a further target. Although, if you do choose to pay, be sure to negotiate your terms with the criminals first. Something that is often possible because they provide details of how to contact them to make the payment! 

Picture found at Pixabay – License CC0

Alternatively, depending on the type of ransomware you are affected with, it may be possible to cleanse your system. Something that you can try and so yourself, although it’s probably a better idea to get your IT company to handle this for you. 

Of course, doing this will only get rid of the Ransome wear and not give you access to any data that is lost. This means that you will need to reboot your system from any backups you have. A situation that means regular server or cloud backups are essential if you are to protect your business from harm. 

Another type of cybercrime that can threaten the safety of a business is fraud, mainly the stealing of customers financial details to use elsewhere. In fact, this can create a double issue because it does not just present a challenge to the trust you have built up with your customers. It can also cause a potential PR nightmare as well. Something that we will discuss in more detail later in the post. 

The good news here is that there are some things you can do to prevent the theft of customer’s financial details in your business. One is to avoid the use of any USB sticks, as then data cannot be downloaded and taken off-site. Additionally, not allowing the use of mobile or smartphones in the workplace can prevent any pictures of financial details being stolen or recorded too. 

Finally, making sure that your IT security is robust as possible is essential because such a threat can also come from outside your business as well as inside. An issue that your IT provider should be able to advise you on. 

PR / complaints 

Effective safeguarding of your company also requires that you pay attention to public relations. That is how the public at large, and particularly your targeted demographic perceive you. After all, if those you are hoping to sell to do not hold your brand in high regard selling enough units will be a real uphill battle. 

With that in mind, there is a range of tactics you need to put in place when it comes to protecting your company’s reputation. One is to do all that you can to encourage positive reviews, especially on independent sites like TrustPilot. The reason being that these are seen as more authentic and so will have a more significant effect on customers buying decisions. 

Happily, doing this isn’t as laborious as it may seem at first. In fact, it is mostly about paying as much detail to the customer’s experience as possible. From when they first step into your business or search for your website all the way through to aftercare. In particular, making sure your buying process is easy and intuitive for your customers is essential. Oh, and being able to guarantee you can provide the products you need, within the time frame they want is important too. Additionally, providing an easily accessible customer service, that is focused around solving any problems is crucial. The reason being it will help you to go above, and beyond customers expectations to not just deliver, but delight as well. 

Mistakes and oversights most definitely come under the banner of PR and complaints as well. Whether they are from clients or employees, mostly because they have the potential to severely impact on the public’s opinion of your business negatively. 

To that end, you must minimise the chances of any mistakes occurring. Something that you can do by having transparent processes and procedures for any possible eventuality. Quality control is another vital aspect of preventing errors and oversights as well. Lastly, making sure you are covered even if things do go wrong is crucial here. After all, you can minimise the likelihood of mistakes but never eliminate them entirely. 

Happily, by investing in products such as Business Insurance from Krywolt if something does go wrong, your company will be protected and covered. Something that means you won’t have to find the money to fight a court case or pay compensation if things do not go in your favour. A situation that could not only damage your business’s reputation but wipeouts its bank account as well, causing further catastrophe and the inability to continue trading. 

Competition 

Another essential way that you can help to safeguard your business is to make sure you stay ahead of your closest competitors. In fact, without an edge in the marketplace, your business can be left in the dust, even if your product and concept is sound.

Luckily, there are a range of methods you can use to stay ahead of your competition. One of these being to take pains to safeguard your intellectual property. In fact, with the exchange of information being so instantaneous now the spread of ideas happens at lightning speed. Of course, this is excellent news in terms of marketing, but not so useful if you want to stop plagiarism or cheap knock-offs being generated for a quarter of the price in China. 

With that in mind, making sure you protect your intellectual property is vital here. Something that you can do by applying for a copyright or a patent on your product or asset. Additionally, you can further protect your products by branding them in such a way that anyone buying cheap fakes will miss out on the entire experience. This being something that can be surprisingly effective, as, for many customers, the lifestyle that a product represents is just as important as the item itself. 

Summary

In summary, if your goal is to protect your business, there are several things you need to consider. The first is safeguarding it against crime and cybercrime. While the second is making sure you maintain a positive public image. Lastly, you need to be able to keep up with your competition. If your business is to be successful and to continue trading over the long term. 

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Keeping It Cool: The Rise Of Modern Temperature Control

strawberry ice cream bottle inside container covered in ice

(Image Credit)

There is a very fine range of temperatures in which humans will feel comfortable. Even a slight variation can result in health issues which are impossible to overcome, with both heat and cold putting your body under a lot of stress. As time has gone by, people have slowly mastered this, with shade and fires being used in the past, and HVAC systems being popular in the modern world. Of course, though, temperature control has gone far further than simply keeping humans comfortable. To give you an idea of where technology like this is used, this post will be exploring some of the key uses for temperature control in the modern world.

First, though, it’s a good idea to have an understanding of how these systems work, as they aren’t too complicated. There are a few main components which can be used to create a basic temperature control system, and most people would be able to piece something like this together for their own home with just a small amount of research. You can find some examples of the pieces you’d need below.

Thermostat: Most homes use a thermostat to keep themselves at the right temperature. These small devices act like automatic switches, turning on and off when specific conditions are met. This will usually be a minimum or maximum temperature. These enables people to control the temperature of their home, while also saving the effort of turning heating on and off whenever they want to make the place more comfortable.

A Heater: Modern heaters have been around for a long time, though there are several methods which are used to achieve higher temperatures. The most common of these will involve some sort of heating element. This will be a piece of metal with very low resistance which electricity is passed through to create heat, and they are very easy to control. Along with this, though, gas burners are also very common, though these are less accurate.

A Cooler: Cooling something down is a lot more complicated than heating it up, as you have to take the heat and put it somewhere else. Liquid-filled radiators are often used for this, with air being pushed through a grid with a very high surface area to lower the temperature of the water inside. Of course, there are other ways to cool things down, with a liquid spray also having a big impact, though this is most commonly found in server applications. 

An Insulated Chamber: There isn’t much point in trying to control the temperature in an outdoor space. Instead, when approaching something like this, engineers will often start with an insulated chamber, whether this is a room, the inside of a fridge, or even a computer. This makes the process of changing the temperature far more effective, while also ensuring that proper measurements can be taken.

Where Is It Used?

Temperature control has many uses, though most people will only be able to think of one or two of them. As time has gone on, the need for this sort of technology has only been increasing, with people across the world looking for ways to take control of their environment. There are some examples of where this tech is used below, giving you the chance to develop an insight into this complex market.

In Homes: Controlling the temperature in your home is crucial if you want to stay healthy. People can’t live in places which are too hot or cold, and this is especially so for the young and old. In some places, heating is used the most, as the weather outside will be very cold. In others, though, people will use air conditioning to cool the air around them, but this is mostly in hotter places.

Fridges & Freezers: People have been using ice to keep food from going off for a very long time. In fact, long before the use of electricity for this task, people would work extremely hard to create spaces which could be kept cool, usually relying on spaces beneath the ground for this. A modern pharmacy fridge is far more complicated than this, giving medical professionals the chance to control temperatures to an incredibly fine degree. This isn’t used for food, though, instead holding samples and treatments.

Servers & Computers: Computer processors produce a lot of heat and can easily destroy themselves if they are left to their own devices. This makes it crucial that they are kept cool, and air is often used for this job. In more complex or powerful systems, though, this can get a lot more complicated. Liquids are often used, flowing in a system similar to what you’d find inside your car. Unlike a car, though, these loops have to be carefully designed, as the machines ability to work will be largely based on their temperature.

Transport: Finally, as the last use of temperature control, it’s time to think about transport. There are a lot of goods which have to be kept hot or cold during transit, and this makes moving them very difficult. To overcome this, some trucks are built like freezers, with think insulating walls, and a compressor which can be used to lower the temperature. Control is crucial for this, as it enables the companies which rely on these machines to keep their products from being wasted.

Temperature control is a lot more important than a lot of people realise. While this field isn’t anything new, there are advancements being made all the time, and this is something which most people know little about. This technology keeps your food in the right conditions, can provide you with great comfort, and, most importantly, could even save your life, making it far more crucial than you might think. Of course, though, the best tools aren’t used in homes, and you have to look further if you want to learn more about this field. Hospitals and food places are a great place to start, though you could also think about the devices you use each day.

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