When you apply for credit one of the first things almost all credit officers do is check your credit score. Although not all of those officers explained to us what a credit score is, we are all rated according to it and the offers we receive were all dependent on that score. This is why understanding your credit score is of utmost importance, and for future reference at least basic knowledge should be acquired. In the following paragraphs we will tackle understanding your credit score, realizing what your credit score means and analyzing what you can do to improve it.
Credit score is actually computed as an average of several elements from your credit report. This report is typically broken into five different sections and each of these sheets will represent a piece of the final score. Each category of credit report information occupies a certain percentage in the final score. To begin with, it is essential to say that the highest percentage is taken by the category made up of credit and payment history. An issuer will look at all types of payments: credit card payments, retail accounts, installment loans and so on. He or she will particularly look at the number of delayed or not paid payments, time passed since the last skipped payment, number of problematic accounts as compared to accounts in good standing.
The next thing taken into account when computing the score is the total amount owed. These amounts are looked at in their absolute value and also in proportion to the credit limit. The number of accounts with balances is also relevant. The third thing issuers analyze is credit history, or how much credit you’ve had and for how long. Understanding your credit score is essential to you and you need to know that the length of all credit lines and their activity will be monitored and will matter significantly in the final credit score. Also, remember that all scores take into consideration recent credit activity. This category includes number of credit inquiries, new opened accounts, their amount, the time since they were opened and of course reestablishment of credit history if there were any issues in the past. Last, even if many people do not regard it as important the type-element is also significant – that means that the type of credit line you have (credit card, installment, mortgage) also plays a role (about 10% of the final score) in computing your credit score. You also need to understand that your credit financial report is the basis of computing your score. Each of the above mentioned elements is specific to every one of us, and as such if for some people amount owed is the major factor for others credit history is essential, therefore it is impossible to give exact percentages as to how much an element weighs in the final credit score.
Understanding your credit score, none the less, is not the only important aspect, managing it is also important. You will be able to improve your credit score if you follow a few simple tips. First of all, try to pay all the bills in time. This is more important than any of the other factors. If it’s not possible to pay on time you can usually get away with paying the bill within a 30 day window of the due date. If you miss this date it is almost certain to end up on your credit report. Keep balances low on your credit cards and other revolving credit and try to pay off debt. Also avoid moving credit from one credit card to another. The low intro rates many companies offer for balance transfers can be very helpful, but it takes a toll on your credit score. It is also recommended that if you plan for applying for important credit soon, avoid opening too many other new accounts. When in doubt, hire a financial consultant. Most people may see this as an expensive luxury that they can’t afford, but in reality financial consultant prices are fairly reasonable. Even a single visit can help you drastically improve your credit score, and if that results in a lower interest rate on a large loan it will more than pay for itself. A consultant will also be able to explain the credit score better.
All in all, what you need to know is that credit score influences depends on your credit report and it directly influences your credit payments and amounts. The higher the score the lower the interest rate and the payment will be. Taking into account the importance of this indicator, understanding your credit score will automatically mean you have more chances to improve and make it higher and therefore benefit from better loans.
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Author: Jeremy Zongker