Credit Score Basics
Your credit score can have a big impact on your financial well-being. But what is it, how is it calculated and how do you build good credit?
A credit score is a numerical representation of your reputation as a borrower. When you apply for a loan, your credit score is used to determine your creditworthiness. Higher scores indicate to loan companies that you’re a more reliable borrower, meaning that you’re more likely to repay the debt (money) you borrow. Reliable borrowers tend to get better rates and terms on their loans.
Ranging from 300 to 850, credit scores are sorted into tiers:
- 720 and above are considered excellent credit scores.
- 680 to 719 are good scores.
- 625 to 679 are fair scores.
- 624 and below are low scores.
Your score will vary over time, depending on a few factors:
- Payment History: How often do you pay your bills on time?
- Available Credit: How of your available credit are you currently using?
- Age of Credit: How long have you’ve held credit accounts in your name?
- Credit Mix: Do you have different types of credit? Think of collateralized loans like your car versus unsecured loans like credit cards.
- New Credit: How often your credit has your credit been pulled in the last year or so? Regularly opening new credit accounts over short periods of time can be detrimental to your score.
You can check your credit, without impacting your score, in two ways. You can visit annualcreditreport.com and access one of the three free credit reports you’re entitled to each year or log in to Mobile or Online Banking and check your free FICO score.
If you’re looking to learn more about credit score basics, check out this video!