Your consumers’ credit score plays an important role in how lenders and financial institutions measure their creditworthiness and risk. With a good credit score, which is generally defined as a score of 700 or above, they can quickly be approved for credit cards, qualify for a mortgage, and have easier access to loans with lower interest rates. In the spirit of Financial Literacy Month, we’ve rounded up what it takes for consumers to have a good credit score, in addition to some alternative considerations.
Pay on Time
Life gets busy and sometimes your consumers miss the “credit card payment due” note on their calendar squished between their work meetings and doctor’s appointment. However, payment history is one of the top factors in most credit scoring models and accounts for 35% of their credit score. As the primary objective of your consumers’ credit score is to illustrate to lenders just how likely they are to repay their debts, even one missed payment can be viewed negatively when reviewing their credit history.
However, if there is a missed payment, consider checking their alternative financial services payments. They may have additional payment histories that will skew their creditworthiness more so than just their record according to traditional credit lines alone.
Limit Credit Cards
When your consumers apply for a new loan or credit card, lenders “pull” their credit report(s) to review their profile and weigh the risk of granting them credit or loan approval. The record of the access to their credit reports is known as a “hard” inquiry and has the potential to impact their credit score for up to 12 months. Plus, if they’re already having trouble using their card responsibly, taking on potential new revolving credit could impact their balance-to-limit ratio.
For your customers that may be looking for new cards, Experian TAPSSM can be used to accurately estimate your consumers spend on all general-purpose credit and charge cards, so you can identify where there is additional wallet share and assign their credit lines based on actual spending need.
Have a Lengthy Credit History
The longer your consumers’ credit history, the more time they’ve spent successfully managing their credit obligations. When considering credit age, which makes up 21% of their credit score, credit scoring models evaluate the ages of your consumers’ oldest and newest accounts, along with the average age of all their accounts. Every time they open new credit cards or close an old account, the average age of their credit history is impacted.
If your consumer’s score is being negatively affected by their credit history, consider adding information from alternative credit data sources for a more complete view.
Manage Debt Wisely
While some types of debt, such as a mortgage, can help build financial health, too much debt may lead to significant financial problems. By planning, budgeting, only borrowing when it makes sense, and setting themselves up for unexpected financial expenses, your consumers will be on the path to effective debt management. To get a better view of your consumers spending, consider Experian’s Trended3DTM, a trended attribute set that helps lenders unlock valuable insights hidden within their consumers’ credit scores. By using Trended3DTM data attributes, you’ll be able to see how much of your consumers’ credit line they typically utilize, whether they tend to revolve or transact, and if they are likely to transfer a balance.
By adopting these habits and making smart financial decisions, your consumers will quickly realize that it’s never too late to rebuild their credit score. For example, they can potentially instantly improve their score with Experian Boost, an online tool that scans their bank account transactions to identify mobile phone and utility payments. The positive payments are then added to their Experian credit file and increase their FICO® Score in real time.