There are several factors that go into calculating a credit score. These are the most common:
Your Payment History: If you’ve never missed a payment and have no negative public records (like collection accounts or judgments against you) your credit score will be much higher than those people who’ve had a less than perfect payment history. Of course, life can be unpredictable and creditors understand this—to a certain extent. If you’ve made a few late payments on one or two accounts over the years, your score may be lowered, but not enough to ruin your chances for the best financing options.
Your Credit Usage: Are you a chronic credit user? Are your credit cards maxed out? Do you make only the minimum payment every month? If so, then your credit score may be lower. However, if you have plenty of credit available but use it sparingly and responsibly, you’ll be rewarded with a higher credit score.
Length of Your Credit History: Have you been using credit responsibly for many years? If so, you have a proven track record and therefore will receive a higher score. On the other hand, people with less than seven years of credit history often receive a lower score.
Credit Applications: Are you tempted to apply for every credit card offer that comes your way? Don’t do it! Your credit report will reflect these applications and any lender that sees them may interpret the activity as an attempt on your part to take on too much credit debt. Instead, be selective and limit your credit account applications to the minimum you need to shop for the best rates and terms.
For information on obtaining your credit report, contact one of the three major credit-reporting agencies:
P.O. Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
P.O. Box 2104
Allen, TX 75013
P.O. Box 1000
Chester, PA 19022
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