Credit Scores


Your credit score, usually a FICO® score, is a measure of your creditworthiness. It offers a quick snapshot of what's in your credit report and helps creditors, landlords, and employers evaluate what kind of credit risk you are. The better your score, the more likely lenders are to give you credit.

Another way to say the same thing is that the better your score, the more creditworthy you are.

A credit score can range from 300 to 850. Any score over 700 is excellent. But your score will vary when you get it from different sources since not all credit reporting agencies have exactly the same information or use exactly the same formula for calculating it.

Five primary factors determine your credit score. The first two are the most important:

  1. Your payment history
  2. The total amount you owe
  3. Length of time you have used credit
  4. Types of credit you have
  5. The new credit you've applied for

IMPROVING YOUR SCORE

If your score isn't as high as you'd like — or as high as you think it could be — you can take the following steps to improve it. You won't see results overnight, but over time it should go up.

  • Pay off your current debt as quickly as you can
  • Make all payments on time
  • Show a history of making consecutive, on-time payments
  • Do not apply for any additional loans or credit cards
  • Use your credit card infrequently, but use it. If you don't use credit, you can't demonstrate you'll pay on time
  • Keep your oldest account open and also the one with the highest credit limit — even if you no longer use them