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  • Credit.com Free Credit Score and Credit Report Analysis

    • Credit.com offers a free Experian Credit Score, Report Card, Action Plan, and Expert Advice.
    • Get specific recommendations and a step-by-step action plan to improve credit.
    • Free monthly updates. No credit card required—ever.

Why monitor your credit score?

Monitoring your credit file and getting monthly updates to your credit scores can help you better understand your credit situation. It will also help you correct issues quicker and protect you from identity theft.

What is a credit score?

Credit scores are calculated using proprietary algorithms to assess information found in your credit file.

A credit score is a numerical representation of your credit profile. It makes it easier for lenders to make loan decisions systematically.

Credit scores reflect how you’ve handled credit in the past and are used to determine your potential credit relationship in the future.

What’s used to calculate credit scores?

  • Your bill-paying history
  • The number of accounts you have and what kind
  • How much of your available credit you are using
  • How long you have had your accounts open
  • Your recent credit activity
  • Whether you have had a debt collection, foreclosure, or bankruptcy, and how old these are

By law, the calculation of your credit score cannot use or take into account factors such as race or color, religion, gender, national origin, or marital status.

Credit score ranges

The most commonly used credit score is FICO. The name comes from the Fair Isaac Corporation, which developed the scoring model.

Credit scores predict the likelihood that a person will pay their debts. They use only information from credit reports.

  • FICO credit score range: 300 – 850
  • VantageScore credit score range (version 4.0 or later): 300-850

FICO’s credit score factors

The exact information used by credit scoring providers (such as FICO) to calculate your credit score is top secret, but there is some publicly available information. For instance, FICO has shared that 5 factors make up your credit score:

  • Payment History (35%) is the largest percentage because paying on time is important for lenders to know.
  • Amounts Owed (30%) is known as capacity. It’s based on the outstanding credit against your available credit limits.
  • Length of Credit History (15%) is how long you’ve had credit. It plays a role in your credit score. Longer credit histories are viewed positively. Adding new accounts can lower your overall credit history length.
  • Types of Credit in Use (10%) is based on the mixture of credit such as credit cards, personal loans, mortgages, auto loans, etc. A good variety is generally accepted as strengthening credit scores.
  • Account Inquiries (10%) involve applying for credit, which impacts your credit score. Having too many recent loan applications (or inquiries) can have a major negative impact. Apply for credit when necessary.

VantageScore factors

VantageScore 4.0 calculates credit scores based on these factors:

  • Payment history: 41%
  • Age/mix of credit: 20%
  • Utilization: 20%
  • New Credit: 11%
  • Balance: 6%
  • Available credit: 2%

Keep in mind that these are approximations, and a lot more goes into calculating your score than is publicly shared.

How to Check Your Credit Score?

The Federal Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) established a federal law that guaranteed access to your credit report but not to credit scores. Even if you get your free credit report through AnnualCreditReport.com, you’ll have to pay to get your credit score.

Recently applied for a loan?

  • Approved for a loan: Ask for your credit score from the lender.
  • If you’re denied a loan, you’ll receive an Adverse Action Letter from the credit bureau used, which will include a credit score.

Why are Scores Different?

You may notice your credit scores are different even though they came from the same credit bureau. Credit scores differ due to various factors, including incorrect or missing information in your report and the different algorithms used to calculate credit risk.

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