What goes into a credit score?
Your score is figured by three separate credit agencies: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. Your scores are usually a little bit different from one agency to another, but they should be similar. Scores (also known as FICO scores) are based on several factors:
[35%] Payment History
Have you paid existing bills on time? How late were your payments? Do you have, or have you had, accounts in collections?
[30%] Total Debt
How much do you currently owe? What percentage of your available credit lines are you actually borrowing right now? Aim to use less than 1/3 of the total credit available to you. For instance:
- 2 credit cards
- Combined limit = $10,000
- Your goal debt < $3,300
[15%] Length of Your Credit History
How long have you been using credit? What's your oldest individual account? Your score will continue to improve as you make on-time payments over the course of months and years.
[10%] New Credit
Have you opened several new credit accounts, all within the last few months? Having multiple new accounts can be a sign of cash flow problems—and this can lower your score.
[10%] Types of Credit
Lenders like to see you using a variety of credit types. But it takes a while to build up from a single credit card, to obtaining car loans, mortgages, or other types of credit. So take your time, and don't focus on this element too much.