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Credit Rating
What's in a credit Score or Fico?

FICO Scores are calculated from a lot of different credit data in your credit report. This data can be grouped into five categories as outlined below. The percentages in the chart reflect how important each of the categories is in determining your FICO score.

These percentages are based on the importance of the five categories for the general population. For particular groups - for example, people who have not been using credit long - the importance of these categories may be somewhat different.

Payment History 35%

  • Account payment information on specific types of accounts (credit cards, retail accounts, installment loans, finance company accounts, mortgage, etc.)

  • Presence of adverse public records (bankruptcy, judgements, suits, liens, wage attachments, etc.), collection items, and/or delinquency (past due items)

  • Severity of delinquency (how long past due)

  • Amount past due on delinquent accounts or collection items

  • Time since (recency of) past due items (delinquency), adverse public records (if any), or collection items (if any)

  • Number of past due items on file

  • Number of accounts paid as agreed

Amounts Owed 30%

  • Amount owing on accounts

  • Amount owing on specific types of accounts

  • Lack of a specific type of balance, in some cases

  • Number of accounts with balances

  • Proportion of credit lines used (proportion of balances to total credit limits on certain types of revolving accounts)

  • Proportion of installment loan amounts still owing (proportion of balance to original loan amount on certain types of installment loans)

Length of Credit History 15%

  • Time since accounts opened

  • Time since accounts opened, by specific type of account

  • Time since account activity

New Credit 10%

  • Number of recently opened accounts, and proportion of accounts that are recently opened, by type of account

  • Number of recent credit inquiries

  • Time since recent account opening(s), by type of account

  • Time since credit inquiry(s)

  • Re-establishment of positive credit history following past payment problems

Types of Credit Used 10%

Number of (presence, prevalence, and recent information on) various types of accounts (credit cards, retail accounts, installment loans, mortgage, consumer finance accounts, etc.)

Credit Monitoring Importance

Consumer credit reporting agencies offer to "monitor" your credit for a fee. Credit monitoring services can be costly. These services cost anywhere between $43.80 per year to nearly $150.00 per year depending upon the provider. Typically, these services say they will notify you if anything unusual or suspicious appears on your consumer credit report. Don't bother with credit-monitoring services. Instead, you should monitor your own credit.

How to Monitor Your Own Credit

You can monitor your own credit and make sure that your record represents you fairly and accurately by ordering and regularly reviewing your consumer credit reports from the three major reporting agencies. You can request a report from each of the three consumer credit reporting bureaus at the same time. The advantage of reviewing the three reports at once is that you can get a complete picture of your consumer credit report history that could be reported to others. However, if you want to monitor the accuracy of your consumer credit reports throughout the year, request your report from one bureau initially, then follow up with another bureau's report four months later and the third four months after that. This is an effective way to monitor your credit at no cost.

If you find errors, no matter how small, be sure you get them fixed, and make sure that you contact all three bureaus with your change. You should receive amended reports within a week after the changes take effect.

Be sure you close long unused accounts that are listed as still active on your consumer credit report. An unused account is an opportunity for an identity thief. If you close an account ask that it be listed as "closed at the request of the consumer."

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