Sunday, July 29, 2012

Your Credit Rating and How It Works

Your credit rating plays many important roles in your life. It can dictate not only whether you get a loan, but also whether you qualify for insurance and, in some cases, a job. Today, comparing credit report providers at somewhere like may get you three different credit ratings, or scores, because each provider uses slightly different criteria. But for the most part, your credit score is based on five aspects.

Credit score criteria

1. The single most important aspect of your credit score is your payment history, which makes up 35% of your score. This includes whether you pay back your debts on time and whether you have any past due or charged-off balances.

2. The next most important criteria for your credit rating is how much you owe. Generally, the less you owe the better, although you are measured on how much you owe in relation to how much credit you have, rather than purely how much debt you have. 3. You generally need to keep your debt to less than 30% of your available credit. If you go over this ratio, it will negatively affect your credit score.

4. The next most important aspect of your credit score is your credit history. This measures how long you have had credit and the time since your last activity on each account. The types of credit you use and how much new credit you have both counts for the least amount of your credit score -10% each.

5. Types of credit measures whether you have more than one type of account. This could be credit cards, car loans, mortgages and so on. New credit measures how often you open a new credit account.

Improving your credit score

There are many ways you can improve your credit score or at least keep it from declining.

Making sure to pay all your bills on time is very important. Though many creditors won't report a single late payment to the credit bureaus, they will report payments that are 60 or more days past due or multiple late payments.

You should also try to pay credit balances in full each month or failing that, pay as much as you possibly can toward the debt. This keeps your balances low and also limits the amount of finance charges you pay.

Some people think it's a good idea to close credit cards that you no longer use. But this actually is of little benefit. Closing a card does not erase any negative history and it lowers the amount of credit you have available, which can raise your debt ratio.

One of the easiest things you can do to improve your credit and something many people overlook is to make sure there are no mistakes on your credit report. Reports suggest that up to 25% of credit reports could contain errors, so it's important to check your report at least annually to make sure your score isn't being unfairly affected.

This article was written by Karl Thompson

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