Credit scores are complex, so we’re here to help break it down. There are a bunch of different factors of your activity that influence your credit score—so many, in fact, that we can’t list them all. But, we’ve expanded on a few of the key components, and have included some tips on how to manage it:
- Payment history. Late payments can lower your credit score and stay on your credit report for years, so it’s important to make payments on time, every time. We recommend using features like AutoPay to make sure you never forget to pay on time.
- Credit utilization. Just because you got a credit card doesn’t mean you should spend it all! It’s recommended to use less than 30% of your total available credit across all of your accounts to help boost your score.
- Number of hard inquiries. When you apply for a credit card or a loan, there’s generally a hard pull (or a hard inquiry) on your credit report, which shows that you applied to get credit. A hard pull can reduce your credit score by a few points and may stay on your report for about two years. Too many hard inquiries at once can decrease your credit score even more significantly, so it’s important to only apply for credit when you really need it, or once every few months.
- Average age of accounts. The average age of your credit can play a big factor in your credit score—it shows the length of your credit history, which can be important to potential lenders. Keeping your older accounts open and limiting the amount of new accounts you open may help raise your average age of credit, which may boost your credit score.
In general, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on your credit score. We pull your credit score from Experian every month, which we display on the Insights page of your account— you can view it as many times as you want, for free! Remember to keep an eye out on your credit reports, too. You can check out your credit report for free, once per year, per agency here. For even more details on the factors that influence your credit score, check out the CFPB’s FAQ page and this article from VantageScore.