Credit Basics

What is a Credit Score?

A credit score is a number ranging from 300 to 850 that predicts the likelihood that a borrower will be able to repay a loan. Your credit score can help determine how much a lender will loan to you and what the terms of the loan will be (APR).

How Credit Scores are Calculated

FICO® vs VantageScore

Your credit score is formulated using one of two algorithms, FICO® or VantageScore.

Lenders are more likely to use your FICO® score when evaluating your applications for credit, while you are more likely to be given your VantageScore when you request your score from the three major credit bureaus (Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax).

For more information about the differences between FICO® and VantageScore, visit

FICO® Score Factors

35% Payment history
30% Amount owed
15% Length of credit history
10% New credit
10% Credit mix

See more at What’s In Your Score.

How to Raise Your Credit Score

Many things have changed over the years, but the keys to building a good credit score have not. If you want to improve your credit, consider doing the following:

  • Continue, or begin, making on-time payments

  • Keep your credit balances low

  • Only open new accounts when needed

Frequently Asked Credit Questions

Why are there two ways to calculate credit scores?

FICO® scores have been around for decades and are used in 90% of lending decisions by major lenders. In 2006, the three major credit bureas (Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax®) worked together to create their own algorithm, named VantageScore. There are numerous differences between the two scores. While your FICO® score and VantageScore will often be similar, there are cases where one score might be considerably higher than the other.

Why do I have different credit scores from each bureau?

While all three bureaus commonly give consumers scores that are calculated using VantageScore 3.0, the bureaus might not have the exact same credit profile for a consumer, causing minor discrepancies. Hard inquiries, often reported as a result of applying for credit, are one of the most common places to see discrepancies between the three bureaus.

How do I check my credit score?

The three major credit bureaus (Experian, TransUnion and Equifax®) have worked together to build a website named Through this site you can request a free copy of your annual credit report from each agency.

How do I avoid multiple hard inquiries when applying for credit?

Applying for the same type of loan from multiple lenders within a 14-day window will only result in a single hard inquiry on your credit history (source: Experian). This means that you can complete an application with us and also shop for an offer elsewhere without any additional points taken off your credit score.


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