If you’re like millions of others, you’ve probably wondered, at least at some point, how to improve your credit score. My goal is to discover and pick apart all the moving parts to making up a credit score in this article.
But, your credit score is just one piece of your financial puzzle. However, it will likely be the most severe impact on your finances. The key to improving and maintaining a good credit profile is a sound financial plan. Indeed, improving your credit score comes down to your ability to responsibly use debt, says Jonathan Hess, with Hess Financial Coaching.
Why is your credit score important?
Your three-digit credit score determines two things. One, your credit score determines whether or not you’re a credit risk. For example, a higher number means you’re a lower risk. By contrast, a lower number indicates a higher credit risk. Second, your credit score has a direct correlation with the interest rate that the lender will offer. A score north of 750 will put you in the lowest credit risk category, thus allowing you to enjoy low-interest rates. However, a score in the 500’s means you’ll be paying far more in interest.
Credit reporting agencies
There are three credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, and Transunion). And, each credit reporting agency generates your credit score slightly differently. However, they are pretty consistent in viewing what factors get considered as higher and lower risk factors. As a result, you should have a similar credit score across the board.
The two highest-risk categories are your payment history and your credit utilization from the credit reporting agency perspective. These two factors, making up a combined 65% of your total credit score.
You can obtain your credit score from one of the three credit reporting agencies. However, it’s probably not the credit score that your lender will consider. Instead, the score your lender wants to know is your FICO score. FICO is a US company that sells their scores to lenders.
Your credit score gets created from just five simple things: