Many different mathematical formulas are used to calculate credit scores and most are based on the following factors, although each scoring model may weight these factors differently:
This, along with public records, generally accounts for approximately 35% of your score. A record of late payments on your current and past credit accounts will typically lower your score. Being consistent about paying on time can, over time, have a positive impact on your score.
Matters of public record such as bankruptcies, judgments, and collection items may lower your score. Be aware of these, even if you can't always avoid them.
In general, a longer credit history is better and can sometimes have a positive impact on your score. Credit history typically accounts for around 15% of your score.
Opening multiple new accounts in a short period of time may negatively impact your score.
An inquiry is recorded on your credit report whenever someone requests your credit report such as a lender, landlord or insurer. A large number of recent inquiries may negatively impact your score. Your new credit accounts and inquiries generally make up about 10% of your score.
The number of open accounts usually makes up approximately 10% of your score.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires each of the nationwide credit reporting companies—Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion—to provide you with a free copy of your credit report, at your request, once every 12 months. A credit report includes information on where you live, how you pay your bills, and whether you've been sued or have filed for bankruptcy.
The three nationwide credit reporting companies above have set up a central website for your to request your report. You can order your free annual report by visiting the website, calling the toll‐free telephone number, or by mail through the mailing address below.
Complete the Annual Credit Report Request Form and mail it to:
Annual Credit Report Request Service
P.O. Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348‐5281