What Affects Your Credit Score?

  • Posted on: 25 Apr 2024
    what affects your credit score?

  • Your credit score is a three-digit number that serves as a financial report card, summarizing your creditworthiness to lenders. It significantly impacts your ability to secure loans, mortgages, and even rent an apartment. But what exactly determines this crucial score? Understanding the factors that affect your credit score empowers you to manage your finances strategically and build a strong credit history.

    Here, we unveil the 5 key factors that hold the key to your credit score:

    1. Payment History (35%)

    This is the single most influential factor, accounting for a whopping 35% of your credit score. It reflects your track record of repaying debts on time, including credit cards, loans, utilities, and even phone bills. Late payments, delinquencies, and charge-offs can significantly damage your score. The severity and frequency of late payments also matter – a single 30-day late payment has a less severe impact than multiple 60-day delinquencies.

    Making on-time payments consistently is the golden rule for building a good credit score. Consider setting up autopay for your bills to avoid missed payments. If you're facing financial hardship, communicate with your creditors proactively to explore solutions.

    2. Credit Utilization Ratio (30%)

    This credit utilization ratio measures how much credit you're using compared to your total credit limit. It essentially indicates your reliance on credit. Ideally, you want to keep your credit utilization ratio below 30%. Maxing out your credit cards or carrying high balances can negatively impact your score.

    A good strategy is to maintain a balance of utilizing your credit but keeping it well below the limit. Aim to pay your credit card balances in full each month, or at least significantly more than the minimum payment. This demonstrates responsible credit management to potential lenders.

    3. Length of Credit History (15%)

    The longer your credit history, the better it is for your score. This factor considers the age of your oldest credit account and the average age of all your accounts. Having a long and established credit history demonstrates your experience managing credit responsibly over time.

    Opening a new credit card or loan can provide a short-term boost to the length of your credit history, but be mindful not to open too many accounts at once. This can have the opposite effect and be seen as a sign of overextending yourself financially.

    4. New Credit (10%)

    Every time you apply for a new credit card, loan, or even some utility services, a hard inquiry is placed on your credit report. These inquiries can slightly lower your credit score, especially if they happen frequently. The impact is temporary, typically diminishing after a few months.

    Being strategic about applying for new credit is crucial. Space out credit applications and only apply for what you truly need. Consider pre-qualifying for offers before submitting a formal application, as pre-qualification inquiries typically don't affect your score.

    5. Credit Mix (10%)

    A healthy credit mix demonstrates your ability to manage different types of credit responsibly. This includes credit cards, installment loans (mortgages, car loans), and revolving lines of credit. While not as significant as the other factors, having a balanced credit mix can give your score a slight edge.

    If your credit history primarily consists of credit cards, consider applying for a small installment loan, such as a secured loan, to build a more diverse credit profile. However, prioritize building a strong credit history overall before focusing on this factor.

    Remember: Your credit score is a dynamic number that can fluctuate over time. By understanding the key factors that affect it and adopting responsible credit management practices, you can take control and build a strong credit score that opens doors to financial opportunities.

    Bonus Tip: Regularly monitor your credit report for errors and take steps to correct them if necessary. You can access free credit reports from each of the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) once a year.

    Call on (888) 803-7889 to know more about your credit score now!