Before applying for credit, and at a minimum once a year, check your credit score.
Your credit score is a number that summarizes your credit risk, the likelihood you will repay borrowed funds and is based on a snapshot of your credit report at a point in time. Many lenders use your credit score to help determine the interest rate they will charge you on a loan.
A FICO® credit score is broken down into the following percentages:
- 35% of your score is based on your payment history . Late payments make a big impact. Try to make your payments on time for any existing loans you may have.
- 30% is based on the amount you currently owe . This factor also considers the amount per loan, including credit cards and installment loans. Try to keep balances low on credit cards and other kinds of revolving debt.
- 15% is based on t he length of your credit history . Your score considers the age of your oldest account, the age of your newest account and the average of all your accounts.
- 10% is on your new credit . Be careful about opening new accounts you don’t really need. Retailers will push store cards by offering discounts, but these cards and credit hits can negatively impact your overall score.
- 10% is the types of credit you are using . Your score considers the mix of credit cards, retail accounts, installment loans, mortgage loans and finance company accounts.
The FACT Act (Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act) makes all Americans over the age of 18 eligible to receive a free annual credit report from each of the three credit reporting agencies – getting your score might be an extra charge.
For access to your free online credit report, visit AnnualCreditReport.com or call them toll-free at (877) 322-8228.
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