Hi, I'm Valery!

I’m a milennial latina, mama of two boys, wife, coffee addict, lover of all things aesthetics, dreamer, and money expert.

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Credit Score 101: Everything You Need to Know

Welcome to the world of credit scores! I know it can be a bit intimidating, but trust me, having a good credit score is one of the keys to unlocking financial opportunities and achieving financial freedom. And, I’m here to help you get there! In this blog, I’ll demystify the components of a credit score and show you how you can improve your score and secure your financial future.

First, we’ll take a deep dive into what exactly a credit score is and why it’s so important. I’ll also give you a rundown of the key components that make up a credit score, including payment history, credit utilization, length of credit history, credit mix, and new credit. I’ll explain how each of these factors affects your score and what you can do to keep them in check.

Next, I’ll provide you with practical tips and strategies for improving your credit score. I’ll show you how to pay your bills on time, keep your credit utilization low, maintain old credit accounts, limit new credit applications, and regularly monitor your credit report. By following these simple steps, you’ll be well on your way to a higher credit score and a brighter financial future. So sit back, relax, and get ready to become a credit score pro!

What is a credit score ?

A credit score is a numerical representation of an individual’s creditworthiness and ability to repay debt. It is based on various factors, including payment history, credit utilization, length of credit history, credit mix, and new credit. The higher the credit score, the better the credit standing and the lower the risk to lenders.

The history of credit scoring can be traced back to the 1950s, when the Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO) developed the first credit scoring model. This model was based on data from a large number of credit applications and aimed to predict the likelihood of someone defaulting on a loan. Since then, credit scoring has become widely used in the lending industry to evaluate the risk of lending money to individuals. Over time, the scoring models have become more sophisticated and take into account a wider range of data, including credit utilization, payment history, and more. Today, credit scoring is an essential tool for lenders to determine an individual’s creditworthiness and make informed lending decisions.

Woman using a laptop and reviewing her credit score on the screen

How is a Credit Score Calculated?

Components of a credit score refer to the factors that make up a person’s credit score

The weight given to each component varies depending on the credit scoring model used, but they all contribute to a person’s overall credit score.

  1. Payment history (35% weight): Late or missed payments can significantly impact your credit score and remain on your credit report for up to 7 years.
  2. Credit utilization (30% weight): This refers to the amount of credit you use compared to the amount available to you. High credit utilization can indicate financial stress and lower your credit score.
  3. Length of credit history (15% weight): A longer credit history can demonstrate to lenders your track record of responsible credit management.
  4. Credit mix (10% weight): Having a variety of credit accounts, such as a mix of credit cards and loans, can show your ability to manage different types of credit.
  5. New credit (10% weight): Frequently opening new credit accounts can raise red flags for lenders and lower your credit score.

Easy Tips for Improving Your Credit Score

  • Pay bills on time: Making payments on time every month is essential to avoid late payments that can stay on your credit report for up to 7 years.
  • Keep credit utilization low: Aim to keep your credit utilization below 30% of your credit limit.
  • Don’t close old credit accounts: Keeping old accounts open and in good standing can help to extend your credit history length.
  • Limit new credit applications: Every time you apply for new credit, it shows up on your credit report and can lower your credit score.
  • Check your credit report regularly: Monitoring your credit report regularly can help you detect errors or fraud.

By following these tips, you can work to improve your credit score and maintain a good credit standing. Good credit opens up a range of financial opportunities and can help you secure lower interest rates on loans and credit cards. The two most critical components in a credit score, according to FICO, the most widely used credit scoring model, are payment history and credit utilization, which account for 35% and 30% of your credit score respectively. Keep these two components in good standing to improve your overall credit score.

Here’s a list of websites that allow you to check your credit score for free

  1. AnnualCreditReport.com: https://www.annualcreditreport.com/
  2. Credit Karma: https://www.creditkarma.com/
  3. Credit Sesame: https://www.creditsesame.com/
  4. NerdWallet: https://www.nerdwallet.com/credit-score
  5. Credit.com: https://www.credit.com/free-credit-score/

It’s important to regularly check your credit score to ensure accuracy and detect any potential fraud. Some of the websites listed above also offer additional credit monitoring services for a fee.

You're so much more than your past money mistakes.

It’s time to focus on now and making a plan that works for you in this season of life. I’ve been exactly where you are and trust me, I know it feels like an endless quest to get your money in order. Together, we’ll begin tending your money garden and planting the seeds for financial freedom.

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