Your credit score is a rating based on your financial history. This is used by lenders, such as banks and other financial institutions, to determine how lend-worthy you are. A good credit score can not only get you approved for a loan, but it can also make you more likely to have lower interest rates.
Your score will range from 300 (worst) to 850 (best). It is measured by a weighted representation of your credit history, comprising of five components:
- Payment History
- Amounts Owed
- Length of Credit History
- Types of Credit
- Number of Account Inquiries
While lenders want to see that you have some history, they don't want to see late payments or an excessive number of loans. It's also important to note that old credit isn't necessarily bad, especially if you make payments on time - this just shows lenders you're responsible.
You may check your credit score at one of the three major reporting agencies - Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion - once a year for free by logging on to AnnualCreditReport.com or by calling toll-free at 1-877-322-8228.
You are also allowed to check your score for free within 60 days of the following: You were denied credit, you are on welfare/unemployment, or your score is inaccurate. Staying on top of your credit score is just as important as making on-time payments.