You have probably seen plenty of commercials for ways to access your credit report, what the information on the report means, and ways to improve your credit. While some of the terminology may sound completely foreign to you, it is important that you have knowledge around how your credit score works and the steps that you can take to improve it if it is low or to maintain it if it is high.
Read on to learn five factors that influence your credit score.
Amount of Debt
Almost as important as your bill payment history is the amount of debt that you have, which, according to Investopedia, makes up 30% of your score. The debt factor gets decided by multiple things, including your overall amount of debt, the ratio of credit card debt to your credit limit, and how much of any existing loans you have paid off.
If you have access to some cash, this is an area that can typically be fixed pretty quickly. You can make arrangements to pay down some debt, which will immediately improve your score.
Bill Payment History
Every bill that you get each month has an impact on your credit score. It is easy to look at one that you have decided is insignificant and pay it whenever you have the extra cash on hand, but doing so will negatively impact your credit score. According to Investopedia, bill payment history determines an astounding 35% of your credit score. If potential lenders see a habit of late payment or even non-payment in your credit history, they are going to be reluctant to loan you money. This means that they will either refuse you outright or, at best, charge you astronomical interest rates.
If you do not feel like you can handle paying your bills on time every month, set up automatic payments with the companies that offer it. Take the chance of human error out of the equation to get your bills paid on time.
How long you have had credit accounts makes up the next 15% of your score. Essentially, those who calculate your credit score will look at the age of your oldest account, the age of your newest account, and the average age of any credit accounts in between those two. The longer you’re established credit history is, the higher your score will be.
If you want to see an improvement in this field, simply do not open up any new credit cards. Let your existing, newest card be your main one going forward. This will increase your credit age.
Any credit accounts you have recently opened or hard inquiries made by potential lenders appear on this portion of your report. Per Investopedia, this section makes up the remaining 10% of your score. If there are too many inquiries or too many new accounts, it will raise red flags to any potential lender. That means you need to be very deliberate about pursuing new credit accounts and signing off on hard inquiries.
Types of Credit
People with higher credit scores usually have a diversified portfolio of credit types. All of their credit is not tied up in credit cards or multiple properties that they own. Instead, they have installment loans, mortgages, store accounts, and credit cards. This component only makes up 10% of your score, so if you do not have a diversified credit lineup, do not go out and open up new accounts just to increase it. That will ultimately bring your score down by damaging other, more weighted factors.
Here at Truliant, we have a team of financial professionals who can help you go through your credit report to identify issues that need work and better understand why your score is where it is at. Contact us today to discuss a free credit review.