Large purchases often require a credit check. This will tell the company selling or leasing you the product how financially stable you are. The higher the credit score, the better off you are. It also usually means that youâ€™ll have a lower interest rate if one applies.
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Knowing what makes up your credit score is very important. Often, companies will pull your score from the top 3 credit reporting bureaus, which are TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax. An average credit score will be calculated to give you a single number. The higher the number, the better your financial stability.
What Goes Into Your Score
There are many things that make up your score, including:
- How much open debt you have. If you have several credit cards, all with available credit, this can actually hurt you.
- Too many credit cards that are at their limit
- Too much new credit
- Payment history
All of these components make up your credit score. The credit score, or FICO, is broken down to consider all of the different features of past history. It's important to know that all of these things are able to be changed to help your score go up. Each of the credit reporting bureaus will calculate a slightly different score because they may pull more credit or credit further back in time.
When a company pulls your credit score, they may pull from one of these bureaus or all three. If they pull from all three, an average is taken. You can contact any of these bureaus for a copy of your credit report so that you can ensure all the information is accurate.
Improving Your Score
Your credit score is completely capable of changing. Pulling a credit report from all 3 bureaus is a good idea to do once every few years. This will ensure that they have the correct information and that nothing strange has occurred. By looking at this report, you'll get to see if there are any aliases on your credit that don't belong to you. It will also tell you if there are any accounts that have gone into collections that shouldn't have.
Prior to buying a car or a house, it's a good idea to improve your score at least six months before having them pull your score. After analyzing the credit report, you'll be able to see if the score needs to be improved. The maximum score a person can get is 850, but that is nearly impossible. A good credit score is in the range of 650-750.
The following are ways to improve your score:
- Close accounts that you aren't using. The more available credit you have open, the more likely it is to have a negative impact on your score
- Pay bills on time.
- Pay down the balance on cards
- Avoid opening too many credit accounts in a short amount of time
- Look for flaws on your report, including small collections from previous addresses
Each of the three bureaus have separate databases. While some cross utilize the same data, others might have access to credit that the others don't. This is why many companies will pull from all three. A credit score from Experian might be as much as 100 points higher or lower than Equifax or TransUnion, or the other way around.
Individuals with low credit score have options. They can take the time to raise their credit score, which will typically take a minimum of six months to show a significant impact. They can also take the higher interest rate that is associated with low credit scores, which includes finance rates for credit cards (APRs), cars, and even mortgage rates. They can also use a co-signer who has a credit score higher than their own which will bring financial stability to the equation.
Understanding credit scores will help you qualify for many different things with better rates. Looking at credit reports from Equifax, TransUnion and Experian will ensure that you know everything about your credit and how to make changes that will improve your score.
It's important to know what's on your credit score. It could mean the difference of a point for higher in interest rates or not qualifying at all. You can always improve your score by paying things on time, eliminating unnecessary open credit, and more.