What a Credit Score Is
Your credit score is a three-digit number that is used to assess your creditworthiness – which is how the banks can guess if they’ll be paid back. It is based on your credit history and reflects your ability to repay loans and credit cards on time (that’s the important part). Your credit score can impact your ability to get approved for loans, credit cards, or even rental applications, and can also affect the interest rates and terms you receive.
In this article, we’ll explore the importance of understanding your credit score, how it’s calculated, and how you can improve it.
Why Your Credit Score is Important
Your credit score is important because it’s used by lenders, landlords, and other financial institutions to determine how risky it is to lend you money or extend credit. A high credit score indicates that you are a low risk borrower, meaning you are more likely to repay your debts on time and in full. This can lead to more favorable loan terms and lower interest rates, saving you money in the long run.
On the other hand, a low credit score can make it more difficult to get approved for credit, and can result in higher interest rates and less favorable loan terms. In some cases, it can even impact your ability to rent an apartment or get a job.
How Your Credit Score is Calculated
Your credit score is calculated based on several factors, including:
Payment history: Your payment history makes up the largest portion of your credit score, accounting for 35%. This includes whether you’ve made your payments on time and in full, and if you’ve missed any payments or had any accounts go to collections.
Credit utilization: Credit utilization refers to how much of your available credit you are using. It makes up 30% of your credit score. Ideally, you should aim to keep your credit utilization below 30%.
Length of credit history: The length of your credit history makes up 15% of your credit score. This includes how long you’ve had your accounts open and when your most recent activity occurred.
Credit mix: The types of credit accounts you have make up 10% of your credit score. This includes credit cards, loans, and other types of credit accounts.
New credit: Opening new credit accounts can impact your credit score, accounting for 10% of the total score. Too many new accounts can be seen as a sign of financial instability and can lower your score.
How You Can Improve Your Credit Score
Improving your credit score takes time and effort, but it’s definitely worth it in the long run. Here are some steps you can take to improve your credit score:
Pay your bills on time: Late payments can have a significant impact on your credit score. Make sure to pay your bills on time each month to avoid any negative marks on your credit report.
Reduce your credit utilization: Try to keep your credit utilization below 30%. If you have high balances on your credit cards, consider paying them down or requesting a credit limit increase.
Check your credit report regularly: Make sure to check your credit report at least once a year to make sure there are no errors or fraudulent accounts. If you do find an error, you can dispute it with the credit bureau.
Build a positive credit history: The longer you’ve had credit accounts open and the more positive activity you have, the better your credit score will be. Try to keep your oldest accounts open and use them regularly to build a positive credit history.
Don’t apply for too much credit at once: Each time you apply for credit, it can impact your credit score. Try to limit the number of credit applications you submit in a short period of time.
– Your Friendly Neighborhood Purple Alien