Your credit score is calculated using a variety of factors, including:
- Payment history (35% of your score): Your payment history is the most important factor in determining your credit score. Lenders want to see that you have a history of making on-time payments.
- Amounts owed (30% of your score): Your credit utilization ratio, which is the amount of debt you have compared to your total available credit, is another important factor. Lenders want to see that you're not overextending yourself.
- Length of credit history (15% of your score): The length of your credit history is also important. Lenders want to see that you've had a long history of responsible borrowing.
- New credit (10% of your score): Lenders don't like to see a lot of new credit inquiries on your credit report. This can indicate that you're struggling to manage your finances.
- Credit mix (10% of your score): Lenders also like to see a variety of credit accounts on your credit report. This shows that you're able to manage different types of debt.
Your credit score is a number between 300 and 850. A higher credit score indicates that you're a more reliable borrower. Lenders use credit scores to determine whether to approve you for a loan, and what interest rate to offer you.
There are three major credit bureaus in the United States: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Each bureau maintains a credit report on you, which contains information about your credit history. Lenders report your credit activity to the credit bureaus, which then update your credit reports.
You can get a free copy of your credit report from each credit bureau once a year at AnnualCreditReport.com. You should review your credit reports for errors and dispute any inaccurate information.