First Bank encourages all of its customers to be active and vigilant when it comes to their credit!
A credit report is a statement containing information that calculates your credit score. There are five things that make up a credit score.
- Payment history – Lenders are most concerned about whether or not you pay your bills on time. The best indicator of this is how you’ve paid your bills in the past. Late payments, charge-offs, debt collections, and bankruptcies all affect the payment history portion of your credit score. The better your history of paying debts — such as loan payments or credit card bills — on time, the higher your credit score.
- Amount of extended (currently in use) credit – The amount of debt you have in comparison to your credit limits is known as credit utilization. The more money you already owe, the less flexible your spending is, which makes it riskier for you to take on new debt, which lowers your credit score.
- Length of credit history – Having a longer credit history is favorable because it gives more information about your spending habits. A longer history of reliable borrowing means your score will be higher.
- New credit – in general, people who open many new credit accounts in a short amount of time are seen as riskier borrowers. Too many applications for credit can mean that you are taking on a lot of debt or that you are in some kind of financial trouble.
- Credit mix – Having different kinds of accounts is favorable because it shows that you have experience managing a mix of credit. This isn’t a significant factor in your credit score unless you don’t have much other information on which to base your score.
Your credit score is a three-digit number that is calculated from the information within your credit report. It is important to remember that your credit score and credit report are separate.
Lenders use your credit score and credit history to determine how likely you are to pay back the money you borrowed. You want to maintain as high a credit score as possible; the higher your credit score is, the better chance you have at receiving a loan with terms you are comfortable with. This is very important when you go to receive financing for major purchases like a new house or a new car.
You should check your credit report once a year to ensure you are eligible in the event you need a loan. Credit reports can be checked for free at AnnualCreditReport.com.
There is some differentiation when measuring a credit score, but generally a low credit score is around 300 while a high credit score is above 700. Additionally, a lender might view having no credit as being worse than having a poor credit score.
Some tips on helping your credit score:
- The best way to build your credit score is to make your payments on time. This includes your credit card bill, your loans, and your other bills, like utilities on your home.
- Even if you are behind on bills, you can now build your credit back up by paying by the agreed date.
- You can also help build your credit by signing up for a store credit card or a secure credit card, which are both options for someone who is struggling to get approved for a regular credit card.
Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) any person who is denied credit, employment, housing, or insurance due to a credit report has the right to request a free credit report within 60 days. If you have an issue with credit reporting, you can file a complaint online with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). If you are unable to pay your creditors, contact them as soon as possible to explain the situation and discuss your options.
Your credit is very important, and First Bank wants to make sure you are always ready for life’s next big step!