- The Basics of Credit Scores
- The Five Components of a Credit Score
- How to Build Good Credit
- How to Improve Your Credit Score
- The Bottom Line
Credit Score Start?’ style=”display:none”>Checkout this video:
The Basics of Credit Scores
Credit scores are designed to give lenders an idea of how likely you are to repay a loan. A good credit score means you’re a lower-risk borrower, which could lead to a lower interest rate on a loan. A credit score is based on your credit history, which is a record of your borrowing and repayment activity. The information in your credit history is used to generate your credit score .
What is a credit score?
A credit score is a numerical expression based on a level analysis of a person’s credit files, to represent the creditworthiness of an individual. A credit score is primarily based on credit report information, typically from one of the three major credit bureaus: Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. Lenders use credit scores to evaluate the probability that an individual will repay loans in a timely manner.
Here are some basics about credit scores:
-Credit scores range from 300 to 850
-The higher the score, the lower the risk to the lender
-A score of 700 or above is generally considered good
-A score of 800 or above is considered excellent
-Most people have a score between 600 and 750
-A score below 600 is considered poor
There are many factors that go into a credit score, including:
-Payment history (35%) – This refers to whether you have made your payments on time. It is the most important factor in determining your credit score.
-Amounts owed (30%) – This looks at how much debt you have relative to your credit limits.
-Credit history length (15%) – This looks at how long you have been using credit.
-Credit mix (10%) – This looks at the types of credit you have, such as revolving debt (such as credit cards) and installment debt (such as car loans).
-New credit (10%) – This looks at how many new accounts you have open and how often you are seeking newcredit.
What is a FICO score?
Your FICO® score is the most important factor in your creditworthiness, and lenders use it when making credit decisions. FICO® scores are three-digit numbers that range from 300 to 850, with a higher number indicating better credit. The vast majority of people have FICO® scores between 600 and 750.
There are many different credit scoring models, but the most popular is the FICO® score, which was created by Fair Isaac Corporation in 1956. FICO® scores are used by 90% of lenders to make credit decisions.
Your FICO® score is based on five factors: your payment history, your credit utilization, the age of your accounts, the mix of accounts you have (e.g., revolving versus installment), and any new credit accounts or inquiries.
What is a VantageScore?
A VantageScore® is a type of credit score that uses a range from 300 to 850, with 850 being the best possible score. Like other credit scores, the VantageScore® is used by lenders to help them make decisions about whether or not to lend money to you.
Your VantageScore® can be influenced by many of the same factors that affect your FICO® Score, including your payment history, the types of credit you have, how long you’ve had credit accounts open, and how much of your available credit you’re using.
One key difference between the VantageScore® and the FICO® Score is that the VantageScore® model allows for greater flexibility in how recent late payments are factored into your score.
TheVantageScore® 3.0 model was introduced in 2013 and is used by many lenders today.
The Five Components of a Credit Score
One of the most important factors in your credit score is your payment history. This includes whether you make your payments on time, and if you have any late payments, collections, or bankruptcies. Payment history makes up 35% of your FICO® Score, so it’s important to keep track of your credit and make sure you’re making all your payments on time.
Your credit utilization is one factor that makes up your credit score—it’s the second most important factor, in fact. Credit utilization is simply the amount of debt you have in relation to your credit limits. For example, if you have a $500 balance on a credit card with a $1,000 credit limit, your credit utilization would be 50%.
A high credit utilization ratio could indicate to lenders that you’re struggling to pay off your debts, which could lead them to believe you’re a higher credit risk. That’s why it’s important to keep your credit utilization low—experts recommend keeping it below 30%, but the lower, the better.
You can improve your credit utilization ratio by paying down your debt or by requesting a higher credit limit from your lender.
Length of credit history
One of the five components that make up a FICO® Score is your length of credit history, which is also factored into your credit mix and account for 15% of your score.
A long credit history demonstrates to lenders that you’re an experienced borrower who has managed different types of credit responsibly over time. It’s one indication that you’re likely to repay a future loan on time.
Your length of credit history includes the age of your oldest account, the age of your most recent account and the average age of all your accounts. The longer your history, the better it is for your score.
If you have a limited credit history, there are a few things you can do to build it up, such as:
-Opening new accounts only as needed and keeping them open even if you don’t use them often.
-Paying all your bills on time, including utility bills, rent/mortgage payments, cell phone bills and other monthly obligations.
-Keeping balances low on revolving accounts, such as credit cards.
-Avoid closing old accounts, even if you no longer use them, because doing so could shorten your credit history.
Types of credit
There are five main types of credit: installment loans, revolving lines of credit, single-payment loans, open-ended credit, and closed-ended credit.
An installment loan is a type of loan that is repaid in equal monthly payments. The borrower repays the loan over a set period of time, typically two years or more. Installment loans can be used for a variety of purposes, including auto loans, mortgages, and personal loans.
Revolving Lines of Credit
A revolving line of credit is a type of credit that allows borrowers to borrow up to a certain amount and then repay the debt over time. The borrower can use the line of credit again once it is repaid. Revolving lines of credit can be used for a variety of purposes, including home equity lines of credit (HELOCs), credit cards, and business lines of credit.
A single-payment loan is a type of loan that is repaid in one lump sum. Single-payment loans are typically used for short-term purposes, such as car loans or payday loans.
Open-ended credit is a type of credit that allows borrowers to borrow up to a certain amount and then repay the debt over time. Open-ended credit can be used for a variety of purposes, including home equity lines of credit (HELOCs), business lines of credit, and student loans.
Closed-ended Credit is a type where you borrowed money with the intention to pay it back in full with interest by an agreed upon date. A common example would be most installment loans like mortgages or auto loans where you make regular payments until it’s paid off.
One of the five components that make up your credit score is new credit. This factor takes into account the number of new credit accounts you’ve opened, as well as any recent inquiries made on your credit report.
Opening too many new credit accounts in a short period of time can be a sign of financial stress, and inquiries can indicate that you’re trying to take on more debt than you can afford. As a result, both can have a negative impact on your score.
If you’re looking to improve your new credit score, one thing you can do is make sure you only open new accounts when necessary and avoid making multiple inquiries in a short period of time.
How to Build Good Credit
Credit scores are important because they show how likely you are to repay a loan. A high credit score means you’re a low-risk borrower, which could lead to a lower interest rate on a loan. A low credit score could lead to a higher interest rate and could mean you won’t be approved for a loan at all. If you’re just starting out, you may not have any credit history at all, which would give you a score of 0.
Make your payments on time
Your payment history is the most important factor in your credit score—it accounts for 35% of your score. So, if you want to improve your credit score, you should focus on making your payments on time.
If you have a history of late or missed payments, you can still improve your credit score by making all of your future payments on time. Eventually, your payment history will reflect this positive behavior and your credit score will begin to improve.
Keep your credit utilization low
Your credit utilization makes up 30% of your credit score—a solid reason to keep it low.
Your credit utilization rate is the amount of debt you have divided by your credit limits. So, if you have $3,000 in debt across two cards with a $5,000 limit and a $10,000 limit, your credit utilization rate would be 50%.Ideally, you want to keep your credit utilization below 30%, but the lower, the better.
Use a mix of credit types
When lenders look at your credit report, they not only want to see how you’ve managed debt in the past, but also want to get a sense of the different types of debt you’ve had. This is why it’s important to have a mix of different types of credit—such as revolving credit (like credit cards) and installment credit (like car loans)—on your credit report.
Lenders like to see that you can handle both types of credit responsibly. And having a mix of different types of credit can also help you qualify for lower interest rates on loans and better terms on credit cards.
Don’t open too many new accounts at once
When you open a new account, the credit bureau will do a hard inquiry on your report. This could temporarily lower your score by a few points. So, if you’re going to apply for several new lines of credit in a short period of time, do them spaced out over several months. Also, try to keep the balances on any new accounts low until your score goes up.
How to Improve Your Credit Score
Your credit score is a number that reflects the risk you pose to lenders. It’s used by lenders to determine whether to give you a loan and how much interest to charge. It’s also used by landlords, utility companies, and insurers to decide whether to do business with you. You can improve your credit score by paying your bills on time, maintaining a good credit history, and using a credit monitoring service.
Check your credit report for errors
You’re entitled to one free copy of your credit report every 12 months from each of the three nationwide credit reporting companies. Order online from annualcreditreport.com, the only authorized website for free credit reports, or call 1-877-322-8228. You will need to provide your name, address, social security number, and date of birth to verify your identity.
Inaccurate information like misspelled names and incorrect addresses can be removed from your credit report if you can prove that the information is not yours. If you find an error on your credit report, contact the credit reporting company and the company that provided the information to dispute it. It’s important to file your dispute as soon as possible so it can be resolved in a timely manner.
dispute any errors you find
If you find any errors on your credit report, you should dispute them with the credit bureau. You can do this online, by mail, or by phone. You should also include a copy of your credit report with the disputed items highlighted, and a letter explaining why you believe the items are incorrect.
If you have a good credit score, you should try to keep it as high as possible. You can do this by paying your bills on time, not using too much of your available credit, and not opening new credit accounts unless you absolutely need to.
Pay down your debt
If you’re looking to improve your credit score, one of the best things you can do is focus on paying down your debt. Your credit score is partially determined by your debt-to-credit ratio, which is the amount of debt you have relative to your available credit. So, if you have $10,000 in credit but owe $7,000, your debt-to-credit ratio is 70%. Focus on bringing that number down by paying off debt. The lower the ratio, the better for your score.
Use a credit monitoring service
Regularly monitoring your credit report and credit score is an important part of maintaining good credit. By doing so, you can catch errors and signs of identity theft early. Consider using a credit monitoring service to help you keep track of your credit.
The Bottom Line
Your credit score is important
Your credit score is important because it is one factor that lenders will look at when considering you for a loan. A higher credit score means you’re more likely to get approved for a loan and could get a lower interest rate. A lower credit score could lead to a higher interest rate and could mean you won’t get approved for a loan at all.
You can improve your credit score
There are a number of ways you can improve your credit score, but the most important thing is to make sure that you make all of your credit payments on time. If you have any outstanding debts, try to pay them off as quickly as possible. Additionally, you can try to keep your credit balances low in order to improve your credit score. Finally, if you have any negative marks on your credit history, try to get them removed.
You should monitor your credit report
You should monitor your credit report for accuracy and to help prevent identity theft. You’re entitled to a free credit report from each of the three major credit reporting bureaus every year. To get your free annual reports, visit www.annualcreditreport.com or call 1-877-322-8228. You can also get yourreports by requesting them from the credit reporting bureaus.