Your credit report is a record of your history with debt and credit, compiled to create a credit score that tells potential lenders whether or not you’re creditworthy. Credit scores are made up of several different factors, but there are a few things you might expect to be included that actually aren’t. Here’s what not to look for in your credit score.
You may be surprised to learn that income isn’t included in your credit score, especially because it’s required on new credit applications. While your salary tells potential lenders how much you can technically afford to pay toward credit cards each month, it isn’t telling of your creditworthiness. Why? Because having a large income and spending it all without regard for your credit card bill is worse than having a small income but using it to pay your bills on time.
#2. Marital status
Spouses do share a home and a tax return, but they don’t share a credit report or credit score. Married or single, your credit is your own. But keep in mind, if you apply for credit together, both of your scores may be pulled to determine creditworthiness.
While you’ll see the liabilities associated with financed assets on your credit report, the things you own aren’t factored into your credit score. Like income, assets aren’t necessarily indicative of a person’s creditworthiness and, therefore, aren’t included on your credit report or in your score.
Your birth year is included on your credit report, but your age isn’t a factor in your credit. Unlike driving, voting, drinking adult beverages or renting a car, you don’t necessarily have to be a certain age in order to have great credit. However, length of credit history does make up 15% of your score and that can only be built with time. Therefore, if you’re doing everything else right, your credit score will probably improve as you age.
Where you live affects your property tax and auto insurance rates, but not your credit score. Of course, this only pertains to living within the United States. Other countries may have different scoring models, so if you leave the country and apply for credit there, your creditworthiness will be judged by a different system.
Wow, what is included in my credit score?
There are five factors that make up your FICO credit score:
Payment history (35%): Make all of your payments on time, every time
Credit utilization (30%): Keep your debt balance to credit limit ratio below 30%
Length of credit history (15%): Keep credit accounts open for a long time
Types of credit in use (10%): Have a mix of credit account types
New credit (10%): Don’t apply for too many new accounts at once
All of this data is taken from your credit report, so make sure it’s accurate. You can pull your credit reports annually for free to ensure all the information is correct.
Bottom line: Your credit score doesn’t factor in your income, marital status, assets, age or location. It is made up of payment history, credit utilization, length of credit history, types of credit in use and new credit. If you want to improve your credit score, focus on improving those five factors.
Credit score image via Shutterstock