How It's Measured
What’s My Real Credit Score?
You may find many businesses offering you a credit score, but be careful, there are many different scoring systems, which can lead to confusion. The most important score is FICO, designed by Fair Isaac, a company now known as FICO, and is the one used by most lenders. The scale ranges from 300 to 850, with the majority of people being in the 600-700’s. A score in the 500’s is considered bad, while a score in the high 700’s is excellent. Another popular scoring system is Vantage, but the range is completely different so they are not compatible, and it’s not the score that lenders use.
Most of the free credit scores being offered are not the true FICO score that lenders use. Thankfully, finding your FICO score is now much easier than even just three years ago. Many credit card companies, such as Citibank, provide the score on your statement. But even your FICO score will be different for different lenders and situations. For example, your score for a mortgage lender may be slightly different from your score for an auto loan or a credit card. Yes, it’s confusing. So even the true FICO score you get from your credit card company is not precise, but it’s a good approximation.
How Do They Calculate Credit Scores?
Although the exact details of the formula are not made known, we do know the general percentage breakdown of what goes into the score.
35% – payment history, which really just refers to whether or not you pay your bills on time.
30% – debt ratio. This is the total amount owed on all accounts compared to your total line of credit.
15% – length of credit history. Anyone new to the workforce will be at a disadvantage here, but there’s nothing you can do about it. Most older adults already have an established history, but for anyone with a short history, start establishing credit now.
10% – new credit. This includes how many new credit accounts and inquiries have been recently made.
10% – types of credit. Having various types of accounts (such as credit cards, installment loans, mortgage) is better.
Finally, your credit score is constantly changing and may even be different if you look at it next week. It’s meant to be a current reflection of your financial behavior, so just because you have a bad score today, it doesn’t have to stay that way. It can improve.
What Causes a Low Score?
Here are some examples of negative items on your credit report that will lower your scores.
-Overdue bill payments are one of the biggest factors affecting scores. Bills can include anything from your rent to medical bills to utility bills.
-Collection accounts. Even after you pay off the collection account, it can remain on your record for up to seven years.
-Tax liens. Unpaid liens remain on your record longer than paid liens, but both are negative.
-Inquiries. Every time you apply for any kind of credit, the inquiry is noted. Creditors want to know if you’re trying to get too much credit, which can be a bad sign that you plan to spend beyond your means.
Many of these items can stay on your record for seven years or even longer. And there are obviously many other negative items that can damage your credit score.
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At first I was afraid and wasn't sure they could help me because I'd heard lots of negative things about the credit repair industry. But Chris put me at ease right away. He explained everything clearly and based on his evaluation said he was sure he could raise my credit score. By the end of 6 months, sure enough it was even higher than I was expecting.
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I have had the pleasure of working with Lenise, Chris, and Jody for the past few years in getting my credit paid off. I am now on my way to rebuilding my credit back up with Lenise’s help and I know it will all work out with their help again.
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They really helped me get myself and, my life back on track. Having the professional guidance of Lenise and Chris totally put my mind at ease. Thank you both so much.
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