by Kevin Rutherford of Driving Force
You may have heard a new term lately referring to your credit score; in fact you may have heard a few new terms. It used to be that credit scores were only known by the creditors and the credit bureaus, but now your individual score is available to you. It can be referred to by a couple of different terms such as FICO or BEACON score.
FICO Scores are calculated from a lot of different credit data in your credit report. This data can be grouped into five categories as outlined below.
These percentages are based on the importance of the five categories for the general population. For particular groups - for example, people who have not been using credit long - the importance of these categories may be somewhat different.
Lenders look at many things when making a decision about your credit.
Length of Credit History
Types of Credit Used
Number of (presence, prevalence, and recent information on) various types of accounts (credit cards, retail accounts, installment loans, mortgage, consumer finance accounts, etc.)
Please note that:
For some people, a given factor may be more important than for someone else with a different credit history. In addition, as the information in your credit report changes, so does the importance of any factor in determining your score. Thus, it’s impossible to say exactly how important any single factor is in determining your score - even the levels of importance shown here are for the general population, and will be different for different credit profiles. What’s important is the mix of information, which varies from person to person, and for any one person over time.
Your FICO score only looks at information in your credit report. However, lenders look at many things when making a credit decision including your income, how long you have worked at your present job and the kind of credit you are requesting.
Your score considers both positive and negative information in your credit report. Late payments will lower your score, but establishing or re-establishing a good track record of making payments on time will raise your score.
Who uses credit scores and how are they used?
Banks, credit card companies, auto dealers, retail stores and most other lenders that issue credit or loans use credit scores to quickly summarize a consumer’s credit history, saving the need to manually review an applicant’s credit report and provide a better, faster risk decision. Although many additional factors are used in determining risk, such as an applicant’s income vs. the size of the loan, a credit score is a leading indicator of one’s basic creditworthiness.