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Building Credit FAQs

Building Credit can be a bit confusing. We’re taught that credit is crucial, and being able to have “good” credit is crucial to financial stability.

Yet, for all the information available, Americans have over $13 trillion of different kinds of loans as well as credit-debit card balances. Let’s review the fundamentals.

What does it mean to have a credit score?

Credit is the term used to describe money you borrow from a lender repaid over time and with interest. The credit score is “how you’re judged in the world of finance,” said Laura Adams, who hosts The Money Girl podcast.

The issue is the credit score that lenders use to assess the riskiness of lending you money and the likelihood of repaying them.

What is a “good” credit score?

“The reality is that there is a myriad of credit scoring models used by credit reporting agencies,” Adams said. “Lenders are all using an individual method to evaluate you. And one of the methods they employ in many instances is the credit score.”

The most widely utilized score is FICO. 90% of credit lenders utilize this FICO score system in order to assess the risk of an applicant.

VantageScore was developed by the three credit bureaus – Experian, Transunion, and Equifax. VantageScore is growing in popularity; however, FICO remains the standard in the market.

What does a FICO score mean?

The FICO scale is between 300 and 800. Ted Rossman, industry analyst for, explained that 740 or more is typically thought of as “excellent.”

The definition of a “good” score falls within the range of 670-739, and anything between 660 and 669 can be considered “fair.” Any score lower than which is “poor.”

“The reality is the majority of people have excellent to good credit,” Rossman said. “Experian has discovered that the median credit score is 704.”

Why and when does credit have an impact on your life?

The lenders examine your credit past in deciding whether to loan you. This also affects the rate of interest you will pay if you be approved for the loan.

“The large majority require to be able to access loans to finance things like cars and houses,” said Jose Quinonez, who is the founder and CEO of Mission Asset Fund.

This non-profit focuses on integrating communities with lower incomes and financial disadvantages in our economic systems.

Your credit history could affect more than the ability to obtain a loan: it is also viewed by insurers, landlords, or utility providers.

How do you begin building credit?

There are several basic methods to get started with your credit report. Secured cards, aka credit cards with a prepaid feature that allows you to give the bank the amount you’ll be able to credit you’ll receive on the card, are a way to start your credit history.

You may become an approved user of an account belonging to someone else. This is an excellent method for parents to begin the process of building a credit record for their kids and any other youngsters. Private institutions may also provide a specific credit-building loan.

If you’re considering any of these options, ensure that your lender is reported to credit bureaus to ensure you’re creating a credit history.

What could I do to boost my credit score?

We’ve already known that the source of the numbers is an algorithm that draws information from your credit report. But what exactly does it look for, and how does it weigh it?

Your credit history is responsible for 35 percent of your score. Did you make payments on your loans in time? The length of your credit history makes up 15 percent.

New credit that opens many credit lines in one go is 10% of the total. The credit due is 30 percent of the total credit score.

Credit utilization, which is a measure of the amount of credit being used concerning the amount of credit you’re able to access, is the next crucial aspect.

If you have a credit line with a maximum of $5,000 limit and you’re using just $1,000 of the credit every month, you’ll have a 20 percent credit use rate. Rossman suggests that a rate below 30% is the best rate.

How frequently should I take a look at my credit report?

You can access your credit report once a year from each of the three credit bureaus at

Rossman of suggests spreading the reports of all three bureaus throughout the year. You should request reports every four months.

The process of checking your credit report won’t hurt your score. Requests for information from you are not a factor in your score. The hard inquiry is from a lender who is interested in you and can reduce your credit score over a short period of time.

What should I look for in my credit report?

When you review your credit report, you should look for any items that don’t look correct. If you come across any errors, ensure that you file a complaint as soon as possible.


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