The “credit score” has always been an interesting topic not only during one’s credit application process, but also during social encounters. People are curious to find out how the credit score works, how it can be improved and for those with good credit scores – they like to brag about it. The bottom line is, the better your credit score, the less money will usually have to come out of your pocket when it comes to finances.
The credit bureau is a detailed description of your credit records, past and present. For each credit facility, the report shows the date the credit was opened and closed, the most recent date it was used, the limit, the balance, the minimum or regular payments, and whether the payments are or were made on time.
On another note, the credit score is a snapshot of your credit history at a particular point in time – a numerical summary of how you are using or have used your credits. The two major Canadian credit bureaus, Equifax and Trans Union Canada, call this credit score a Beacon Score and Emperica, respectively. This score is used as a reference by lenders to determine the risk that you pose to them. It also determines the interest rate that you will pay on the credit that you’re applying for
Although the full analysis of factors that affect your credit score is beyond the scope of this article, here are some of the most important points that you should be aware of.
Past Payment Performance
The less late payments you have on your credit facilities, the better your credit score will be. When you’re making a payment on your credit card, it doesn’t really matter if you’re making a minimum payment or paying it out in full. As long as you make the minimum payment by the due date, your credit will not be negatively affected. And if you’re forgetful in making your payments by the due date, you can arrange the minimum payment to be automatically taken out of your personal account – this way you won’t have to think about it.
Utilization of Your Credit Facilities
It’s better to have a few cards with lower balances than a couple of cards with near-to-limit balances. Having near-to-limit balances on your credit cards suggests that you might be in a financial difficulty, which could affect lenders’ decision in granting you additional credit. On another hand, having too many cards with high limits could also affect you negatively as you technically have access to a vast amount of credit, which, if drawn, would be subject to high minimum payments.
How Often Your Credit is Checked
Every time someone checks your credit, your credit score drops. If your credit is verified several times over a short period of time, your score could be severely affected. For example, if you’re shopping for a mortgage and submit pre-approval requests at several banks, chances are each bank will check your credit history, which could negatively affect your credit score.
How Long You Have Had a Credit History
The longer you’ve been taking proper care of your credit obligations, the better your credit score will be. Credit building is an ongoing process and the sooner you start, the better for you. Even if you have to put up a security against your first credit card, I strongly advise you to do it, as it will be worthwhile in the long run. Use your credit card as often as possible and make your payments on time – this will help you build your credit faster. You will be surprised how fast you will start receiving offers from other lenders once they see how diligently you’re using your credit.
In order to maintain a good credit score, it is advisable that you monitor your credit history on a regular basis. Several experts in the field suggest that you check your credit history annually to verify no inaccurate information has mistakenly been attached to your personal credit file. For a small fee you can obtain a personal credit bureau report from Equifax or Trans Union web sites.