Your credit score is a numeric summary of the information on your credit report and is formulated to predict your repayment risk. The most commonly used scoring model is issued by the Fair Isaac Corporation. This is where we get the infamous FICO score from. It ranges from 300 to 850. Typically, those with higher scores are more easily granted credit and get better interest rates. The lower your score is, well, I think you know how that goes…
- Payment history (35%) – If you make a late payment, your score will take a hit. The more recent, frequent, and severe the lateness, the lower your score. Bankruptcies, judgments, and collection accounts have a serious negative impact. Pay on time, every time! This is easier said than done sometimes, so if you experience an unexpected hardship and cannot keep your payments current, contact the creditor/lender immediately and discuss payment arrangements before it ruins your credit. Communication with the creditor or lender is key!
- Amounts owed (30%) – Carrying large balances on personal loans and revolving debt, like credit cards, particularly if those balances are close to the credit limits, will lower your score.
- Length of credit history (15%) – The longer you have had your accounts, the better.
- New credit (10%) – This factor looks at the number and proportion of recently opened accounts and number of inquiries. While many inquiries on your report can lower your score, all mortgage or auto loan inquiries that occur within a short period of time are considered just one inquiry for scoring purposes. Accessing your own report is not damaging to your score nor are inquiries for pre-approval offers. If you have had a history of late or irregular payments, reestablishing a positive credit history will be taken into account.
- Types of credit used (10%) – Having a variety of accounts, such as credit cards, retail accounts, and loans, boosts your score because it demonstrates that you are capable of handling the responsibilities that come with each debt type.
The world of credit reports can be quite a mystery, so if you are still confused or curious, feel free to join us at our Understanding Your Credit Report seminar on August 25th!