What is a credit score intended to measure? Understanding what a credit score is intended to measure requires you to understand three key concepts: what is a credit score intended to measure, how do credit scores get calculated, and finding your credit score.
If you understand all three of these key concepts, you’ll know what a credit score from the credit bureau is intended to measure. It’s essential to understand the three key concepts that we’re going to talk about because they’ll help you work towards building a better score, which will help you build better credit.
If you don’t know what you can do to improve your credit score or why your credit score is essential, then you’re stuck dealing with bad credit. But if you follow what we say in this article, you can work towards having a great credit score and credit file that can open doors to great credit.
So, let’s get started with the three key concepts to understand credit scores so you can learn what you can do to improve your score and better understand the scoring model being used.
What Is a Credit Score Intended to Measure?
Credit scores are three-digit figures designed to measure the overall likelihood that someone will repay their credit and debt obligations. The system of credit scores was built to simplify the credit securing process.
Because of this, credit scores are such objective and standard measures that borrowers can be easily compared. Before there were credit scores, the credit lending due diligence was incredibly labor-intensive, meaning that that the standards for a credit profile were less clear, and it was much more challenging to get your hands on credit.
Two major credit score calculating systems are around today: Vantage Score and FICO credit score. Vantage Score was created in 2006 by major credit bureaus and has been worked on over the years to make it match the scoring range that FICO features. FICO was created in 1989 by the Fair Isaac Corporation, and the scores that FICO provides are used by 90 percent of the top credit lenders.
Both Vantage Score and FICO both range from 300-850 today. Below you’ll find a photo of what the credit scoring model and scale looks like:
How Do Credit Scores Get Calculated?
To begin, every significant financial institution feeds US consumer data to the three significant credit bureaus (Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian). Credit bureaus have the obligation of storing and compiling all of the credit data given to them. Then, Vantage Score and FICO pull the credit data from the three significant credit bureaus into their score calculating systems to create an individual’s credit score.
While there are a few subtle differences between Vantage Score and FICO scores, we’re only going to talk about the similarities. Five criteria are important when creating credit scores: inquires, diversification, length, credit utilization, and credit history.
Applying for new credit can have a bad reflection on a credit score for up to six months, which is 10 percent of the FICO score.
What can you do?
- Limit how often you interact with financial institutions and stay away from applying for credit and setting up a credit account.
- Have an understanding that when you allow financial institutions to run your credit score report, it can negatively impact your score. These are called hard inquiries and will show up on your overall credit report and impact your final credit score. However, there are also soft inquiries that don’t require your permission, will not show up on your credit report, and won’t have an impact on your final credit score. Some examples of soft inquiries are looking up your credit score or having background checks done.
When we talk about diversification, you need to ask yourself if you have a diverse mix of different types of credit. This will account for 10 percent of your FICO score.
What can you do?
- Be aware that having different kinds of credit can improve your credit score, but don’t go and add more debt at the expense of the other criteria we’re going to talk about below.
- Learn about what good credit is and what bad credit is; this will help you make more informed decisions about what kind of credit you should be going for.
How old are your credit accounts, and how long have they been opened? This accounts for 15 percent of your FICO score.
What can you do?
- Starting when you’re young, obtain credit when you can. Even starting as an authorized buyer on your guardian’s credit card, obtaining federal student loans, starting with a secured credit card, getting a credit-building loan, or getting a loan using a cosigner are great ways to start establishing credit at a young age.
- Try to keep these early types of credit active and open.
Credit utilization equals the sum of the credit you owe divided by the sum of the account credit limit. The lower the utilization number is, the better it is for your credit score. This accounts for 300 percent of your FICO score.
What can you do?
- Try to prevent your credit card balance(s) from getting too high all the time.
- Talk to your bank about if you can increase your credit card limit. This is an excellent solution if you find that you’re maxing out your credit cards all the time but are still able to pay them off.
- Keeping your credit cards open is an easy way to keep your sum of account credit limits higher.
Your payment history on your credit holds the most considerable amount of weight on the calculation of your credit score at 35 percent of FICO. What’s being analyzed here is if you’re making your payments on time. Because of this, any collections and bankruptcies that appear on your credit history will have a significant impact on your final credit score that is reported by the credit bureau.
What can you do to achieve a good credit score?
- Pay your credit bills on time
- Pay any of your late credit bills as soon as you notice that it’s late
- Take advantage of any automatic payments and reminders on your calendar because they can be powerful tools to help prevent you from missing a credit payment
- You should review your credit report annually. Your credit report is produced by the three main credit bureaus and will include all critical credit information. If you find any errors, you’re allowed to dispute them, and you should dispute them to make sure that your credit score is accurate
Finding Your Credit Score
Vantage Score and FICO don’t hand out credit scores to individuals, but several sources help you find your credit score. Several banks (Chase, Citi Bank, etc.), credit unions, and credit card providers (American Express, Chase, etc.), provide services that help you track your credit score. You must note that these services are usually offered for a fee.
You could opt to use free services, such as Credit Karma, which provides online tools to help you find your credit score and give you advice on what you can do to improve your score. This can all be done without impacting your credit score.
To truly understand what a credit score is intended to measure, there are three concepts that you need to know: what is a credit score intended to measure, how do credit scores get calculated, and how can you find your credit score?
What is a credit score intended to measure? A credit score is intended to measure your likeliness of repaying your debt obligations. It’s a significant number because it shows credit providers if you’re a good candidate for credit. Having a low credit score means that you aren’t great at paying off your credit, while a high credit score means that you’re great at paying off your credit.
By understanding that there are five different criteria for calculating your credit score (inquiries, diversification, length, credit utilization, and credit history), you’ll have a better understanding of what you can do to improve your final credit score.
You can find your credit score in a few different ways: through your bank, credit card providers, and credit unions. But these typically have a fee to use, so if you’re looking for a free credit score option, there are plenty online that will help you obtain your credit score for free.
Having a solid credit rating is a powerful tool that can be used at your disposal because it can help you qualify for a mortgage or car loan with low interest rates, which will, in turn, save you money. This is why understanding what a credit score is intended to measure is so important.
It can indirectly save you money and help you obtain amazing credit that you wouldn’t have been able to get before you learned what you could do to help your credit score.