Do you know what your credit score is? Many people understand that they have a credit score, but they don't really know how it is actually calculated. If you want to improve your score or maintain good credit you should know how credit scoring works.
Credit scoring is the way that lenders determine how likely you are to pay back the money you borrow. It basically represents you risk level. The lower your score, the higher a risk you are to a lender. The higher your score, the less of a risk you will default on a loan.
With good credit comes low interest rates and favorable terms. Your credit score will determine much more than interest rates. Lenders, landlords, cellular companies and even your insurance company will look at your credit score in determining whether or not to do business with you. If you have a low credit score, you may pay higher insurance premiums and have a harder time borrowing money.
You've probably heard of your credit score called a FICO score. This is the score based on the Fair Isaac & Co. credit scoring model. These scores are based only on the information found in your credit report. FICO is not the only type of score out there. You can have a different credit score from each of the three major credit reporting agencies. It is possible to see as much as a 50 point difference between two scoring sources.
There are five major factors that go into your credit score. They are weighted differently, so some parts appear more important than others. However, they all will affect your final score.
1. Payment History
Your payment history makes up 35% of your total credit score. Your payment history considers whether you pay your bills on time or are late making payments. It will look at the frequency of late payments and how far behind you are on payments. How many accounts do you pay on time? Have you had major credit problems or filed for bankruptcy? Paying your bills on time each month will raise your credit score.
2. Amount Owed
The amount you owe will determine 30% of your total credit score. This section looks at the total amount you owe and what types of accounts you have open. Do you have large balances on all of your accounts? How much available credit do you have in comparison to the amount you owe? How much have you paid down on your accounts since they were originally opened? Paying your accounts down responsibly and not having high balances on your credit cards can raise your score.
3. Length of Credit History
The length of your credit history will result in 15% of your credit score. The longer your credit history, the higher your score. How long you've had certain credit accounts open will affect your score, as well as how long it has been since you've used your accounts.
4. New Credit Accounts
Ten percent of your score is based on how many new credit accounts you've established. How many new accounts have you recently opened? How many requests for your credit have been made? How long ago where you shopping for credit? Rate shopping usually will not hurt your score if they are made within a short period of time.
5. Overall Mix of Credit
The final 10% of your credit score is based on the mix of credit you have -- credit cards, installment loans, mortgage loans, secured loans, etc. The more balanced you are, the higher your overall score in this area will be. You want to have a mix of all types of credit.
There are several ways to improve your credit score. Start by paying your bills on time. This is the one factor that will make the most impact on your credit score. Pay down your debt and limit your applications for new credit. You should also check your credit report and take the time to correct any inaccuracies