So what makes up your credit score, anyway? It’s a question that gets asked a lot because there’s no easy, clear-cut answer.

That’s due to the fact that a litany of different kinds of credit data and information in your credit report is also factored into your credit scores.

On top of that, there are many different credit scoring models. And each one uses different data in different ways.

How Credit Score Factors Vary

Your credit history is as unique as you, and your credit score tries to rate it in unique ways for different lenders.

How important one factor is to your credit score depends on all of the information in your credit report.

One factor may have a larger impact for one person than it would for someone else with a different credit history. As an example, those with a short credit history will be factored differently than people with more than five years of active credit.

Also, as your credit report changes with time, so will the importance of different factors to your credit score.

The FICO Score Breakdown

Most creditors and nearly every lender uses FICO, so we’ll address your credit score in terms of your FICO Score.

There are actually dozens of Credit Score models, but with all of their models and the whole population taken together, the most influential factors break down like this:

  • 35% Payment History
  • 30% Amounts Owed
  • 15% Length of Credit History
  • 10% Mix of Credit Types
  • 10% New Credit

How a FICO Score Breaks Down by

Payment History

Your payment history typically the first thing lenders and creditors look for.

This is because they want to know if you have a history of making your credit payments on time. The more late payments you have, the more likely you will be to default on your credit or loans.

That is also why your payment history usually makes the largest impact on your credit score.

Learn More About How Your Payment History

Amounts Owed

The amounts you owe, that is, your balances on your credit cards and loans, usually make up the next-greatest impact on your credit score.

Your amounts owed can help lenders predict whether you have too much debt already. And this, in turn, indicates how likely you will be to repay your debts.

Learn More About Amounts Owed

Length of Credit History

Usually, the longer your credit history, the higher your credit score. But this varies depending on the health of your other credit factors like late payments or high balances.

People with high credit limits, low usage, and all payments made on time stand a good chance of having higher credit score, even with fewer accounts than those with a longer credit history that includes late payments, collections, etc.

When it comes to your FICO score, in particular:

Your FICO Score take into account:


• how long your credit accounts have been established, including the age of your oldest account, the age of your newest account and an average age of all your accounts


• how long specific credit accounts have been established


• how long it has been since you used certain accounts

See “What’s In My FICO Score” by

Mix of Credit Types

“Credit mix” simply means the variety of types of accounts that you hold. According to credit scoring company FICO:

FICO® Score will consider your mix of credit cards, retail accounts, installment loans, finance company accounts and mortgage loans. It’s not necessary to have one of each, and it’s not a good idea to open credit accounts you don’t intend to use.

Your mix, or variety, of credit types, will make a greater impact if your account history is short. On the other hand, if you have a long credit history, credit mix becomes less of a factor.

Learn More About Credit Mix

New Credit

Inquiries, aka new accounts or applications, are records usually found at the end of your credit report. They show any request for access to your credit report.

When a lender “pulls” your credit report during the application process, this will result in a “hard inquiry” on your credit report. Each hard inquiry causes a reduction of your credit score by a couple of points.

Learn more about new credit


Credit score are often a mystery for consumers. They confusing and vary greatly from model to model and lender to lender.

But this explanation gives you the starting point you need for understanding what factors, generally, are included in scoring your credit, and how much each factor tends to matter.

Is it still unclear? Are you wondering what to do next? Our credit professionals are ready to help! Just give us a call or send us a message today.

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