Information you as a consumer should know about Credit Bureaus. The Credit Bureaus make money selling your information. The three major Credit Bureaus are in business for two main reasons only and those reasons are to make money, and be profitable for their shareholders. They make their money by selling consumer information to other businesses who lend money. With this information those businesses can assess the risk level of potential borrowers. Many of those businesses are:
Credit Card companies
Employers (with your permission only)
The Bureaus enjoy greater financial success if you have low scores. As a rule, credit card companies do not spend nearly as much money buying the personal information belonging to people that have good credit.
Accumulation of new debt is the remaining 10% of your credit score. It is comprised of how much new debt you are applying for. It takes into consideration how many accounts you currently have open, how long it has been since you opened a new account, and how many requests (Inquiries) you have for new credit within a 12 month time period. If you go out today and apply for credit, that creditor requests information from the Credit Bureaus. This counts as a Hard Inquiry on your report. If you have a lot of Inquiries in a short period of time, your scores will be impacted. If you request your own report, that is considered a Soft Inquiry and doesn’t count against your score, or show up on your report.
A healthy mix of credit accounts, represents 10% of your credit score. The Credit Bureaus take into account the “mix” of credit items you have on your report. This part of your credit score is affected by what kinds of accounts you have and how many of each.
The Bureaus will score you higher if you have an open mortgage, 3 credit cards, 1 auto loan, and a small amount of other open accounts. This mix tells the Bureaus that you can handle any type of loan. If you have a ton of credit cards, your scores will be lowered. If you have several mortgages, your scores will be lower. Any, “unhealthy” account mixes lower your scores. The preferred number of credit cards is 3. This means you will actually have a higher credit score if you have 3 open credit cards than if you have two or less. BUT, don’t run out and cancel your cards just yet. REMEMBER, 30% of your score is comprised of your balances in relation to your maximum credit limit. So keep your cards open, but focus on having 3 LARGE balance cards for ultimate impact. Maintain a healthy mix of accounts and your credit score will be golden.
The three major Credit Bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, all work off of a similar scoring system. This system is based on a singular postulation: will you become 90 days late in the next 2 years? The scoring system they all use, (with minute variables) can be broken down into 5 categories; or 5 pieces of a pie. I will discuss the first part of that credit pie today.
Your payment history is the largest aspect of your credit score, as you might expect. In total, your pay history accounts for 35% of your total score. This portion of your total score calculation is based on your prior payment history with your creditors. Late payments, defaulted accounts, bankruptcies, and all other NEGATIVE information on your credit report have the greatest effect. The more recent the late payment, the greater the damage is to your credit score. If you go late on your mortgage this month, the Mortgage Industry Option scoring model could drop your scores over 120 points. That is with only one 30 day late payment!