Potential lenders look at your credit rating to determine whether or not to approve you for a new credit line, how much credit to offer you and how much interest you will be charged. Credit scores range from 300 to 850 and the higher the number, the less of a credit risk the lenders consider you to be.
To get the best interest rates, you want the highest credit rating possible. Credit ratings consider numerous factors, but there are five major factors that you should focus on when trying to boost your credit score.
Contributing 35% to your credit score calculation, payment history is one of the most important factors when determining your credit rating. That`s because potential lenders need to know that you`ve paid your previous credit accounts in a timely fashion.
Make sure you pay all of your bills on time and send in at least your minimum payment. Late payments and delinquent accounts lower your credit rating significantly and those negative marks stay on your report for seven years.
But if you`ve had a late payment or two, time will heal the credit report wound. Older late payments don`t count against you nearly as much as recent payment problems. So, making one late payment four years ago won`t affect your score as dramatically as one that occurred just four months ago.
How much you currently owe contributes 30% to your credit score calculation. The fastest way to increase your score in this area is to pay down your existing credit card debt.
Having high balances can negatively affect your score. Keep your credit card balances below 30% of your total limit. If you can pay your balances in full every month, so much the better.
Length of Credit History
The length of your credit history makes up 15% of your credit score. In general, the longer your history, the higher your rating, although folks with younger histories also do okay if all of their payments have been on time.
The scoring system looks at the ages of your oldest account and your newest as well as the average age of all of your credit accounts. New accounts lower your average account age, so avoid opening numerous new credit lines within a short time period.
Types of Credit
The scoring system also rewards you for having a nice mix of credit, which contributes 10% to your overall score. Your credit score will be higher if you have a variety of credit card accounts, a mortgage loan and an installment loan, such as a car loan or a student loan.
Avoid opening new credit accounts just to get a better credit mix, however. New accounts will just lower the average age of your accounts and your credit score will take a hit.
New credit accounts make up 10% of your credit rating and, as mentioned above, opening new lines of credit negatively affects your credit score for a little while. The new credit category also penalizes you for any hard inquiries during the previous year.
Hard inquiries are performed by the creditors you gave permission to peek at your credit report. Soft inquiries, such as you looking at your own score, don`t affect your credit rating at all.
Keep in mind that the scoring system interprets numerous hard inquiries within a short time period as one inquiry. So, do your loan and credit card shopping within a focused time period to avoid having too many hard inquiries.
Keep those five factors in mind when trying to boost your credit score and when shopping around for a new credit card account. Use the free tools at reputable comparison sites such as simplyfinance.co.uk to help decide on a credit card that`s right for you.