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How do my actions impact my credit score?

Regardless of the financial milestones you’re reaching, when it comes to financial progress and credit, it’s important to understand the factors that may impact your credit score. Consider the following:

  • How many credit accounts or “tradelines” do you have? Credit scoring models look at the mix of different types of credit you have, credit cards, installment loans, mortgages, and store accounts. If you have too many different credit accounts, it could affect your credit score.
  • How many new credit accounts have you opened? Be mindful of opening too many accounts at once. Scoring models look at how many new accounts you have as well as how many new accounts you've applied for recently. This may indicate you are planning on taking on lots of new debt which could indicate a greater credit risk.
  • How old are your credit accounts? In general, creditors and lenders like to see that you’ve been able to properly handle credit accounts over a period of time.
  • Do you have enough different types of credit accounts? Creditors like to see that you’re able to handle multiple accounts of different types and the credit score reflects this.
  • Are your balances too high relative to your total available credit limit? Creditors and lenders prefer to see a lower ratio of how much debt you’re carrying compared with how much available credit you have on a particular account.
  • Do you have any liens, foreclosures, bankruptcies, short sales, or delinquencies that have been reported  to creditors? Having this type of information on your credit history may impact your credit score. If you have gone through a reversal of fortune, and had to file for bankruptcy or completed a foreclosure, your credit score will reflect this negative information for several years.

What are some factors that might affect a credit score?

There are several factors that might affect a credit score, and it’s important to note that lenders view these factors in different ways.

Here are some examples of those factors:

  • Missing payments or making late payments
  • Having home foreclosures
  • Going over your credit limit on credit cards
  • Receiving collection notices
  • Having a poor debt-to-credit ratio
  • Declaring bankruptcy
  • Applying for credit too frequently in a short amount of time