My credit score came back with a statement saying, "too few accounts paid as agreed." I was wondering what that means since I have never paid an account or bill late.
"Too few accounts paid as agreed" does not necessarily mean you have late payments or accounts you did not pay according to your contract with the lender.
It could simply mean you don't have very many accounts in your credit file. Even if you've always paid on time, you may see this risk factor statement if you have a short credit history, a "thin" credit history, or both.
What Impacts a Credit Score?
While it's true your payment history is the most important factor in credit scores, credit scoring systems also consider the length and depth of your credit history:
- The length of a credit history is a matter of time. A short credit history may include accounts that have been open for a few months or years. A long credit history may span decades because open, active accounts remain indefinitely.
- The depth of a credit report considers the types of accounts you have as well as how many. A credit history with one or two accounts could be considered thin, even if those accounts are many years old. A "thick" file would have several accounts of different types, such as credit cards, installment loans or a mortgage.
Usually, though, a short credit history and a thin file go hand-in-hand because the person just hasn't been using credit long enough to have a number of accounts of different types. This means lenders and credit scoring models may not have enough information to go on to determine your ability to manage credit.
How to Improve Your Credit Scores
Time is the key. Continue to skillfully manage your existing accounts by making all payments on time and keeping your credit card balances low. In time, you will have opportunities to open new accounts. As the length and depth of your credit history grows over time, your credit score will likely improve and that risk factor will disappear.
To help you start to improve your score right away, Experian now offers a free service called Experian Boost™† that can be especially helpful for those with thin credit files. Experian Boost allows you to add your on-time cellphone and utility payments going back as far as 24 months. The entire process takes only minutes, and you will receive an updated FICO® Score* after the payments are added.
Always remember, though, your risk factors may sound bad because they describe the information that is most negatively affecting the credit score. But you'll see risk factors even when you have a very good credit score, and they're not necessarily a cause for alarm.
Thanks for asking.
Jennifer White, Consumer Education Specialist