As a credit adviser and financial expert, I understand the importance of credit scores. Your credit score is one of the most important factors that lenders consider when you apply for credit cards, loans, or mortgages. A good credit score can help you get approved for loans and credit cards with lower interest rates, while a poor credit score can make it difficult to get approved or result in higher interest rates.
So, how are credit scores calculated? Let’s dive into the details.
There are three credit bureaus in the United States: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. These bureaus collect information about your credit history, including your payment history, credit utilization, length of credit history, types of credit used, and recent credit inquiries. Based on this information, they calculate your credit score.
The most commonly used credit score in the United States is the FICO score, which ranges from 300 to 850. The higher your score, the better your creditworthiness.
Here’s a breakdown of how credit scores are calculated:
35% Payment History: Your payment history is the most important factor that lenders consider when reviewing your credit score. Late payments, missed payments, and defaults can have a significant negative impact on your score.
30% Credit Utilization: Your credit utilization is the amount of available credit you’re using. If you have a credit card with a $10,000 limit and you’ve charged $5,000, your credit utilization is 50%. A high credit utilization can indicate that you’re relying too heavily on credit, which can negatively impact your score.
15% Length of Credit History: The longer you’ve had credit, the better. Lenders like to see a long credit history because it indicates that you’re responsible and reliable.
10% Types of Credit Used: Having a mix of credit types (such as credit cards, loans, and mortgages) can indicate that you’re able to manage different types of credit responsibly.
10% Recent Credit Inquiries: When you apply for credit, lenders will pull your credit report. Too many inquiries in a short period of time can indicate that you’re applying for credit too often, which can negatively impact your score.
Now that you understand how credit scores are calculated, it’s important to monitor your credit score regularly. You can get a free copy of your credit report once a year from each of the three credit bureaus at AnnualCreditReport.com. Review your credit report for errors and dispute any inaccuracies with the credit bureaus.
If you want to improve your credit score, there are several steps you can take. Make all of your payments on time, keep your credit utilization low, and avoid opening too many new accounts at once. Additionally, you can consider working with a credit counseling agency to develop a plan to pay off debt and improve your credit score.
In conclusion, your credit score is a crucial factor in your financial life. Knowing how credit scores are calculated can help you make informed decisions about your credit and improve your score over time. Keep your credit score in good standing and you’ll be on your way to a bright financial future.