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Factors influencing your credit report
Factors Influencing Your Credit Report

The following five factors collectively determine your ability to get credit and affect your credit report and credit score.

1.  Payment History

Your payment history typically has the most significant weight in your credit rating. This refers to your ability to pay on time, over time. Even though an overall strong credit score profile may help to cancel out a few late payments over the years, it is still vital that you pay all of your bills on time, each and every month.

2.  Amounts Owed

This refers not to owing money, but owing money to a lot of different accounts. If you do have many accounts, a prospective creditor may question your ability to handle yet another monthly payment.

3.  Length of Credit History

Generally speaking, the longer your credit history, the better your credit score. If your credit history is relatively short, other strengths in your profile can help to offset this.

4.  New Credit

Opening several credit accounts in a short period of time can represent greater risk, especially if you have a short credit history. Fortunately, your credit report can distinguish between a search for many new credit accounts versus the more innocuous practice of recent rate shopping, which in itself does not make you a higher risk.

5.  Types of Credit in Use

A healthy mix of credit cards, mortgage loans, finance company accounts, and retail accounts will improve your credit score, but keep in mind that it's not necessary to have one of everything. Never open a credit account that you won't use simply so that it appears on your credit report.

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