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What is a Credit Score?

Credit score who?

A credit score is a figure that essentially summarizes how likely a person is to repay debt. Credit scores are personal and they are calculated based on a number of factors. There are a few ways to calculate your score, depending on which model you use. In this case, we’re going to use FICO’s scoring system.

Why should you care?

Credit scores play an important role in adult life because they are used by banks, loan providers, and even retailers to determine things like how much money your credit line has, if you can get a loan, and even the price you have to pay up front for that new smartphone you want.

Ok, what goes into a score?

Scores are calculated based on a few factors, which have different weights on how much they affect your score.

Factor Weight
Payment History 35%
Credit Utilization 30%
Length of Credit History 15%
New Credit 10%
Credit Mix 10%

So what does a good score look like?

A score over 690 points is considered “good”. You can see the ranges of scores in the image on the right.

Tips

Some good practices to keep in mind in order to build a good score are:

  • Keep your credit spending low; you want to keep your credit utilization under 20% (if you have a $1,000 credit line, make sure you only owe $200 when a payment period is closing)—you can pay part of your credit card bill before the payment period is over to make sure that you don’t exceed the 20% credit utilization number
  • Start early, the longer you have accounts that contribute to your credit history, the better
  • Don’t open a lot of accounts at the same time or close to each other; this will lower your credit history length
  • Be responsible! Don’t put yourself in situations where you know you are going to default on a payment, for example, as that will tarnish your record and make it more difficult to increase your score in the future

Learn More

You can read more about credit scores on the US Government’s official website.

Instructions

Set the my_score variable to whatever your score is to find out if you have a good score!

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