Frequently asked questions

A credit score is a 3-digit number that lenders use to evaluate your creditworthiness. It helps lenders and creditors assess your risk as a borrower. The FICO credit score is the most widely used. FICO scores range from 300 to 850. The higher your score, the easier it is to get approved for financing.

Most credit scoring models use five basic factors to calculate consumer credit scores. Each factor carries a different “weight” for how much it impacts your score. Credit history 35% Utilization 30% Length of use 15% New applications 15% Types of credit in use 10%

A credit report is a profile of your life as a credit user. It captures the loans and credit lines you’ve maintained throughout your life. By law, positive and neutral information can remain indefinitely, while negative information is removed after set periods of time. The information contained in your report is what the credit bureaus and creditors use to calculate your credit score. Anytime you apply for a new loan or credit card, you authorize the company to run a credit check. This means they review your credit report to determine your risk as a borrower.

The short answer is yes. A friend or family member can add you as an authorized user on their credit card account and you will receive a card of your own connected to theirs. This is a great option if you don’t have much of a credit history because you can start using credit without having to go through an approval process. Remember, an authorized user is not the same thing as a cosigner or a joint account holder.

Many factors go into calculating your credit score. Your payment history has the most impact, so make sure you are paying your bills on time if you want a high score. Other factors, like the length of your credit history and your account utilization, also cause credit score fluctuations. To see why your credit score may be changing, it’s important to check your credit report. Luckily, any negative impacts will lessen over time as the derogatory item ages.

If you’re new to credit or you need to rebuild your score, you are probably wondering what you can do that will help it the most. Late payments have the biggest impact on your score, so catching up on past payments will really help. In addition, paying off credit card debt will improve your credit score.

Each credit bureau (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion) maintains its own proprietary version of your credit report. This means you actually have three reports instead of just one. Your reports generally contain the same information, although the way it’s reported in each version is unique.