3 Feb 2016
All Things Credit Report
Any time you apply for credit in the form of a credit card, personal loan, auto loan, or cell phone, the company lending you money will want to access your credit report first. Your credit report is a snapshot of how you have repaid your financial obligations in your past. Lenders will use this information to verify details about you, see your borrowing activities, credit applications and repayment history. Part of this information is used to make up your credit score.
WHAT IS MY CREDIT SCORE?
Based on the information contained in your credit report, you will be assigned a credit score. What is my credit score, you ask? Your credit score is used by lenders to predict the probability that you will repay your future debt. Your credit score can change frequently based on multiple credit applications in a short time, missing payments and maxing out your available funds.
WHAT IS A GOOD SCORE?
Depending on which company is calculating your credit score, you can expect a range anywhere from 300 at the lowest end up to 900 at the highest end. The higher your score, the better the probability you will repay your loan.
As far as mortgages are concerned, each lender has their own criteria for what scores they deem acceptable. Generally speaking, anything over 680 is considered good in most lender’s eyes and will give you access to the most lenders and the best rates. A score between 600-679 will give you a limited number of options and might not be the best rates. Anything below 600 will leave you with very few lenders and higher interest rates to account for added risk.
5 KEY FACTORS CONTRIBUTING TO YOUR CREDIT SCORE
A number of different factors go into calculating your credit score. These factors are based on what someone does or doesn’t do with the credit they already have available. That is why the score changes frequently. Here are the 5 factors that determine your credit score:
1. PAYMENT HISTORY – 35%
The most important factor when calculating your credit score is your payment history. Creditors want to know if you will pay them back the money you are asking them to loan you.
Payment history reflects all the re-payments you make on your consumer debts. Your creditors will report (monthly) every time you make a payment to your credit cards, lines of credit, auto loans, personal loans, student loans, cell phone bills on contract and any other debts you may have. Interestingly enough, mortgage payments are not reflected on your credit report.
Your payment history shows information about whether or not you have re-paid your debts as agreed, have deferred or missed payments, any past due payments, a history of late payments and if you have any debts in collection as well as any bankruptcy, judgments, or liens, etc.
Your score also reflects how recent any late payments or collection activities are. The older the information gets, the less it will impact your score.
2. HOW MUCH IS OWED – 30%
When applying for new credit, how much you already owe is a big factor in determining your approved limit. Your current payments and debt obligations will help creditors access your level of debt and your ability to repay your debt obligations.
If you show multiple credit lines maxed out, say three credit cards and a line of credit, in the eyes of a lender the chances of you repaying new debt is low and thus you would be considered a high risk to default.
The amount of credit you use on an ongoing basis is considered as well. If you continually use 75% of your limit on your credit cards and lines of credit, this will affect your credit score negatively. Try to carry no more than 30% of your available credit on a month to month basis if practical.
3. LENGTH OF CREDIT HISTORY – 15%
If you’ve used credit for many years, your credit report should provide an accurate picture of how you use credit. For someone who has not used credit for a very long time, it is difficult to tell if they really know how to use credit responsibly.
Good or bad, most information will be automatically removed from someone’s credit report after 6 – 7 years, so the only way to keep a credit report active, is to use credit, at least very minimally, on an ongoing basis.
Time is needed to get a true picture of how responsible someone is with credit. This is why the length of your credit history is the third most important factor in your credit score calculation.
If you have recently obtained credit for the first time, your credit score will not be very strong. However, if you have been using credit responsibly for many years, this factor can work in your favour. If you need to apply for a low interest credit card to build your credit, apply online here.
4. NEW CREDIT APPLICATIONS – 10%
Applying for new credit in a short time span can signify financial stress. If you are a smart consumer, you should always shop around to get the best deal. You might walk into seven different banks and credit unions to shop your mortgage and hear what they can offer you. Smart move, right? – wrong!
Every bank will want to run your credit report to access your creditworthiness and having multiple “hits” to you credit report in a short period will reflect negatively. One of the benefits of using a Mortgage Broker is we use one credit report and shop your business to multiple lenders.
This part of your credit score takes into account the number of times your credit has been checked in the last 5 years, the number of credit accounts you have recently opened, how much time has passed since you opened any new accounts and the time since your most recent credit inquiries. This part of your credit score will also evaluate whether or not you are re-establishing your credit history following past payment problems.
5. TYPES OF CREDIT USED – 10%
Different types of credit shed light on how you manage your money overall. For example, deferred interest or payment plans can indicate that you aren’t able to save up for purchases ahead of time. Consolidation loans mean that you’ve had difficulty paying your debts in the past. A line of credit is a revolving form of credit, like a credit card, and it’s easier to get into trouble with a revolving form of credit than with an installment loan where you make payments for a set amount of years and then it’s paid in full.
If you focus on managing your finances wisely and only apply for credit as you need it, this part of your score should take care of itself.
WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR CREDIT REPORT?