Out of all the things that affect your financial well-being, your credit score is at the top of the list. The single most important factor affects the types of loans you can get, your interest rates, and the terms and conditions you’re offered. Having a good credit score can benefit you in many ways. And having a poor credit score can negatively impact you for years. Read on to learn more about how to maintain good credit.
What Is a Good Credit Score?
If you’re unfamiliar with credit scores, credit reports, and how it all works, then you may be wondering what we’re even talking about. What is a good credit score? How do credit scores work? How can I improve my score and credit history?
These are all great questions to ask, and once answered, you’ll have the tools and knowledge you need to take control of your credit score.
Your credit score is a three-digit number representing how trustworthy you are when you borrow and manage money, sometimes called “creditworthiness.”
Your credit score and creditworthiness will reflect payment history, credit utilization rate, overall debt, and more. Then, companies called “credit bureaus” review this financial information and give you a score.
There are a few different credit bureaus out there, and each will have slight differences in how they assess your information and rank you. These ranking systems are known as credit scoring models. The most common model is known as the FICO score. FICO stands for Fair, Isaac, and Company, and it’s one of the credit bureaus that track your financial information.
Your FICO score ranges from 300–850, and the ranking system is as follows:
0–580: Poor Credit
580–669: Fair Credit
670–739: Good Credit
740–799: Very Good Credit
800–850: Exceptional Credit
Any credit score above 670 is considered “good” and will yield better loans and interest rates. Of course, again, the other credit bureaus may have slight differences in their rankings or information. But this is the most common credit-scoring model, and it’s likely your scores with the other bureaus will be similar to your FICO score.
How Are Credit Scores Calculated?
Your score is determined by reviewing the financial information within your credit report. Your credit report is a document that tracks your financial behavior. For example, each credit bureau tracks how you use and manage money and compiles that info into a report.
So what kind of stuff is in the report? Another great question!
Well, your credit report will include information like:
- Your payments history. Do you have any late or missed payments?
- Credit card accounts, credit card debt, credit card bills, your credit limit, and credit card balances
- All outstanding debts you still owe
- How much credit you’re currently using
- Your credit utilization ratio
- Bank account activity
- Length of credit history
Each credit bureau will compile this information and give you a score based on how well you manage it. This is how your credit score is calculated. These items can provide some insight if you’ve ever been left wondering “why did my credit score drop for no reason?”
What You Need To Know About Your Credit Report
Your credit report is the running document that contains all of the information that creates your credit score. Thus, it’s crucial to check your credit report periodically to ensure that all of this information is up to date, and more importantly, correct.
You can get access to your free credit report once a year using annualcreditreport.com.
The most important thing to remember is that sometimes there are errors in credit reports. If you find an error or any information that seems incorrect, you should report it to the credit bureau immediately. Leaving incorrect information on your account could negatively impact your credit score.
Reporting and fixing an error on your credit report could be a quick way to improve your credit score. Luckily, there are ways to correct errors on your credit report without going crazy.
5 Tips To Maintain a Good Credit Score
Maintaining a good credit score is crucial for receiving great financial products and services in the future. We’re not going to lie; it can be a lot of hard work. But it’s worth it in the long run if you ever want to buy a home, a vehicle or receive the best rates and terms.
Here are CreditNinja’s top 5 ways to improve your credit score!
1: Make Your Payments On Time
Your payment history has, by far, the most significant impact on your overall credit score. If your credit history shows consistent on-time payments for things like credit cards and bills, then you’ll likely have a decent score.
When you make utility payments, rent payments, credit card payments, or pay other bills, the companies you’re paying may report that to the bureaus. And if they do, it will go into your report.
Your payment history makes up a whopping 35 percent of your total credit score based on the FICO scoring model.
It’s the most important thing on your report, and you should do everything you can to always make payments on time.
2: Pay Off Your Debts
Your overall debt is the second most crucial factor affecting your score.
The total amounts you owe make up 30 percent of your score. So if you want to improve your credit, focus on paying off your credit card balance, outstanding medical bills, outstanding loans, and anything else you still owe.
Easier said than done; we get it. But if you have any leftover cash after you do your monthly budget, then it should go toward paying down your debts. Some people even pick up part-time work or side hustles and put all that money toward their debts.
3: Continue To Maintain Credit Accounts
The length of your credit history is the third most important factor, making up 15 percent of your overall score. Unfortunately, you may not be able to do much about this one.
This factor considers how long you’ve had a credit file, loans, and other financial products. The longer your credit history, the better it looks on your report.
The best advice we can give you is to continue maintaining your accounts, paying your bills, and using credit wisely throughout the years. If you’re young and haven’t opened a credit account with any credit card companies or haven’t had a loan, the sooner you start, the better your credit history will look later.
That being said, we would never recommend opening a credit card account or getting a loan that you can’t manage. So be cautious, and use credit and loans wisely.
4: Avoid Too Many Accounts
Opening new credit accounts is tied for the fourth most crucial part of your credit score. It makes up 10 percent of your overall score.
A lender or credit card issuer would typically be wary of a borrower who has opened too many accounts in a short amount of time. It may show them that you’re struggling, and they might not want to work with you.
Another thing to consider here is your credit utilization ratio. This is the amount of credit you’re using compared to how much is available to you. If you have a lot of credit available to you, but you’re only using a small amount, you’re managing your money well.
For instance, if you have one credit card with a credit limit of $1,000 and a balance of $200, your credit utilization ratio is 20 percent. Therefore, it helps your score to keep it below 30 percent.
So keep an eye on your credit card balances and make sure they don’t get out of hand. And try only to open new accounts when you need to.
5: Maintain a Diverse Credit Mix
This factor is also tied for the fourth-place spot in terms of importance to your overall score. Your “credit mix” makes up 10 percent of your score.
Having a few different types of credit in your report looks better to a potential lender than having only one kind of loan or credit card. It shows them that you can manage a wide array of accounts and balances.
Work on having different types of accounts, credit cards, and loans within your portfolio. This will show lenders that you can manage a diverse array of credit and financial products. Just remember that it’s very important to know how to manage a credit card wisely, as well as other types of financial products.
The work it takes to maintain a good credit score is not always easy. It will take time, effort, and dedication. But it’s also necessary to improve your financial well-being and create better opportunities for yourself in the future. But even if you have a low credit score, there are online no credit check loans available.
A strong credit score can open doors that otherwise would be closed. You will see better loan offers with reasonable rates, flexible terms and conditions, and repayment options that work for you. You’ll see an increase in your credit limit and perks associated with credit cards. And you’ll have better access to loans and financial products that can set you up for success in the future.
If you currently have a low credit score, don’t worry. There are plenty of ways to improve it. Especially now that you’re familiar with the credit score algorithm. Work hard and follow the steps listed above to maintain a good credit score, and one day you’ll see your score increase.