Your credit score is a numeric rating that ranges from 300 to 850, and it’s primarily based on your credit history, among other things. A credit score not only determines if you qualify for financing, but it will also determine your interest rates. That’s why it’s important to understand the basics of credit scores.
The Fair, Isaac, and Company score, also called the FICO score, is now used by the majority of banks and lenders. There are three separate credit bureaus that determine the score: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. The FICO credit score was first conceived by Bill Fair, an engineer, and Earl Isaac, a mathematician, in the 1950s as a way of scoring credit using automated systems. Though initially unpopular, the score became much more common after the 1970 Fair Credit Reporting Act (which created a system to dictate what information could be collected) and the rise of computers.
Credit scores are used by lenders to determine your creditworthiness, or how likely you are to pay your debts. If you have a high score you’ll get lower interest rates and you’re more likely to have loan applications accepted. Credit scores are primarily defined by your credit history, though it’s also influenced by the amount of debt you have, new accounts, different types of credit, and the length of your credit history.
The best consumers tend to have a credit rating between 700 and 850. Most of these people have never missed a payment, use no more than 30 percent of their debt to limit ratio, and have had credit for several years. It also helps to have multiple types of credit (i.e., installments, revolving credit like credit cards, consumer financing, and mortgages) and few recent searches for credit (also called “hard credit inquiries”).
Still have questions about credit scores? Stop by Pollard Used Cars to speak to an expert in our Finance Department. We can answer any questions you might have, and we can also walk you through the difficult jargon and details of auto financing.