When you apply for credit, lenders determine your credit risk by examining your credit scores, also known as FICO® scores because they are calculated with software developed by Fair Issac and Company. Each of the three main credit bureaus – Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax – keep credit information about you that is used to calculate your FICO scores. Such information includes your payment history, the amount of money you owe, the length of your credit history, and the number of recently opened credit accounts.
Your FICO scores guide lenders as to what your credit risk is. Scores range from 300 to 850. The higher your score, the lower your perceived risk to a lender.
Keep Your Credit Score Strong
- Complete credit applications carefully and accurately.
- Use your credit cards responsibly and don’t let them reach their limit or spend beyond your means.
- Attempt to pay your credit card balance in full each month, but at least make the minimum payment by the due date.
- Always pay bills on time.
- If you have problems paying your bills, contact your creditors. In many cases, they will work with you to figure out a payment plan.
- If you move, let your creditors know your new address as soon as possible to avoid losing bills or receiving them late.
- If your credit card is lost or stolen, report it immediately.
- Review your credit reports periodically for accuracy and report any errors immediately.
- Establish a consistent work history