Understanding how credit scores are calculated is essential for anyone looking to improve their creditworthiness. Your credit score is a key factor that lenders use to determine your creditworthiness and the interest rates you qualify for. There are several factors that are taken into account when determining your credit score. Let’s take a closer look at what aspects are factored into a credit score.
1. Payment History
Payment history is the most important factor considered in determining your credit score. It accounts for approximately 35% of your total credit score. Lenders want to see that you have a history of making payments on time. Late payments, missed payments, or defaults can significantly lower your credit score. Consistently making on-time payments can have a positive impact on your credit score over time.
2. Credit Utilization
Credit utilization refers to the amount of credit you are using compared to your total available credit. It makes up about 30% of your credit score. Lenders like to see that you are using a low percentage of your available credit, as it indicates responsible credit management. Keeping your credit utilization below 30% is generally recommended for maintaining a good credit score.
3. Length of Credit History
The length of your credit history accounts for about 15% of your credit score. Lenders like to see a longer credit history, as it provides a more comprehensive view of your credit behavior. If you are new to credit, it may take some time to build a strong credit history. Keeping older accounts open and in good standing can help improve your credit score.
4. Credit Mix
Credit mix refers to the different types of credit accounts you have, such as credit cards, mortgages, and loans. It makes up about 10% of your credit score. Having a diverse mix of credit accounts can show that you can responsibly manage different types of credit. However, it is not necessary to have every type of credit account to have a good credit score.
5. New Credit Inquiries
New credit inquiries account for approximately 10% of your credit score. When you apply for new credit, a hard inquiry is made on your credit report, which can temporarily lower your credit score. Multiple inquiries within a short period can raise red flags for lenders, as it may indicate financial distress. It is important to be mindful of how often you apply for new credit to avoid negatively impacting your credit score.
6. Public Records
Public records, such as bankruptcies, liens, and judgments, can have a significant negative impact on your credit score. These items can stay on your credit report for several years and may indicate financial instability to lenders. It is important to address any public records on your credit report and work towards improving your financial situation.
7. Factors Not Included In Your Credit Score
It is important to note that certain factors are not included in your credit score. These factors include your race, gender, religion, marital status, and income. Credit scoring models are designed to focus on your credit behavior and financial history, rather than personal attributes.
Understanding the factors that are factored into your credit score can help you make informed decisions to improve your creditworthiness. By focusing on making on-time payments, keeping your credit utilization low, maintaining a longer credit history, managing a diverse credit mix, and being mindful of new credit inquiries, you can work towards building a strong credit score. It is important to regularly monitor your credit report and address any discrepancies or negative items to ensure your credit score accurately reflects your creditworthiness.