Knowing your credit score means that you’re aware of how you appear to lenders and lets you take steps to improve your credit or to demand better rates from loan providers accordingly.
How Your Credit Score is Calculated
Your credit score is calculated as a number between 300 and 850. There are 2 main models for calculating your credit score – FICO and VantageScore. FICO is the most longstanding and widely used scoring system. Although the FICO Company won’t say exactly how it calculates your credit score, it has revealed that it considers 5 factors.
|Factor||Percentage of total score|
Length of credit history
Type of credit
This is the most important element in determining your credit score, making up 35% of the final number. Your payment history indicates whether you make monthly payments on time, how often you’re late in paying them, and how late you are if you do make a late payment. The higher your proportion of on-time payments, the higher your score will be. On the flip side, whenever you miss a payment, this will negatively impact your overall score.
About 30% of your score is based on how much debt you have overall as well as your debt-to-income ratio, how much credit you have left unused on your credit cards, and how many debts you have at the same time. Having a large amount of debt and lots of different loans to pay off will drag down your credit score.
Length of credit history
If you have a long credit history of making timely payments, you’ll have a higher score than if you’ve only applied for a loan or credit card recently. Your credit history makes up about 15% of your final credit score.
Just as having a long credit history helps your credit score, taking on a bunch of loans or applying for new lines of credit damages it. But, this is usually only temporary – after a few months of timely payments, your credit score should recover, unless you really took on a lot of debt. New credit makes up 10% of your score.
The type of credit
The final 10% of your credit score is based on whether or not you have a good mix of loans in your credit history. Being able to manage a variety of loans, such as mortgage, auto loans, and student loans, is good for your credit score.
What Your Credit Score Means
The higher your credit score the more options you have when it comes to taking out a loan because more lenders will be willing to give you an offer. Also, because with high credit you are considered less of a risk, your interest rates will tend to be lower. However, there are still plenty of lenders out there that are happy to provide loans to people with bad credit at favorable rates.
|Credit score rating||Credit score range||Average APR for market|
720 - 850
690 - 719
630 - 689
580 - 629
579 and below
Most lenders will not lend
Be Aware of Your Credit Score
Now that you understand more about the way in which your credit score is calculated, you can take care to do as much as you can to keep it high so that you can enjoy the best rates on loans, mortgages, and credit cards. Take some time to compare the best loan providers out there in order to find the one that suits your specific needs.