“[H]ow does my credit score get calculated?” It’s a question that has a surprisingly simple answer. Every credit bureau bases your credit score on five key variables. They are as follows.
The two largest factors of what goes into the calculation of credit scores are your payment history and how much you owe on your accounts.
- Making On-Time Payments (35%) – the single most important factor in maintaining a good credit score is making on-time payments. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a mortgage, car loan, student loan, or credit card, any open accounts that show a responsible history of payment will help your score.
- How Much Do You Owe (30%) – this tells a credit bureau how much available credit you have. If you have a credit card account, the credit bureau likes to see 70-90% of available credit, per open account. Not leaving yourself enough available credit could be a red flag for lenders. Likewise, as your balance on installment loans (e.g. a car loan) goes down, your credit score may improve.
What else goes into the calculation of credit scores?
- Average Age of Open Accounts (15%) – remember that credit card account you opened in college that you still use today? It could be helping your credit score more than you think. A long history with a creditor is considered a positive because this part of your score is based on the average age of your open accounts.
- Types of Credit (10%) – having a mortgage, car loan, and credit card is better than having just one. This can be confusing for some consumers. Isn’t it preferable not to have a credit card? Maybe, but a credit bureau likes to see that you have a history of using credit cards responsibly. Is it necessary for you to have all kinds of credit? No. And as you can see it’s not weighted that heavily, but still something you should consider.
- Have You Recently Opened Accounts (10%) – this is the one area where new is not better. Opening new accounts can affect your credit score because it lowers the average age you’ve had open accounts. So be careful not to open too many accounts at once.
Remembering these five factors that go into calculating your credit score can help you make more responsible decisions. It’s not a mystery. In most cases, it’s common sense.
[W]hether you are just starting out on your own or just starting over, one of the most important things you can do is learn how to budget. Many people think they know how to budget, but they fail to stick with it. So, the goal is to not just create a budget, but to create […]
[I]f you’ve been learning about credit, one of the first things you’ll hear is you can’t get credit if you don’t have credit. It often seems to be a Catch-22; no one will give you credit so you can’t get established with a credit history so you can get new credit. With diligent effort, you […]
[S]ometimes when you are filling out a rental or job application, you’ll come to a page that asks you to sign and authorize a credit check. Most people will sign it, hoping for the best if they have less than perfect credit. Even when you do sign it, you may wonder if that was the […]
[I]f you’ve applied for a job, you may have been asked to provide authorization for the potential employer to look at your credit report. While you signed it just to be considered for the job, you may wonder why they need to know about your credit history. What are employers looking at when they review […]
[Y]ou hear all about the minimum credit score needed to get a credit card or loan. It seems like this one magic number seals your fate. You wonder if creditors or lenders even look at the information in your credit report or if they just use that number to get a decision for your application. […]
[T]here’s a lot of information on a credit report. If you’ve ever requested a free copy of your credit report, you may have been overwhelmed at all of the stuff on there. It makes you wonder what creditors and lenders really look at. Do they read every line or do they skim? If they skim, […]
[A]fter the recession of 2008, more people have become conscious of debt. Some of them have decided to give up using credit cards or other forms of credit in favor of a cash-only approach. While this is a good idea for people with bad spending habits or those who have a tendency to live beyond […]