How Does Payment History Affect Your Credit Score?

Payment history is your track record of paying your credit accounts. It's the most important factor in your score.
Amrita JayakumarApr 15, 2019

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Your payment history is a record of your payment behavior on all credit accounts, such as credit cards and loans. It is the single biggest factor that influences your credit score.

Payment history gives lenders a snapshot of how you paid your bills — did you pay on time, did you , were you sent to ? If you often miss payments, for example, your score suffers and you are deemed a higher risk by lenders.

This factor is so important that it alone accounts for 35% of your FICO score, while VantageScore calls it “extremely influential.”

The best way to keep your accounts in good standing is by making at least your minimum payments on time on all your credit accounts. If you want to , go a step further: Pay on time and use of your credit limits on all accounts.

Payment history is a collection of information listed on your credit reports. Credit scores are generated from the information in your reports.

According to , payment history consists of the following items on your credit reports:

VantageScore 3.0, which is a FICO competitor and the  that NerdWallet offers, says payment history is made up of a person’s repayment behavior — namely whether on time or delinquent, and whether they have on their reports such as accounts in collections.

Late payments can go on your credit reports and affect your score only if you are at least 30 days past due. You may have to pay your lender or card issuer a late fee before then, but it can't legally be reported to the credit bureaus.

Once you go past the 30-day mark, the late payment will show up in your payment history. The longer you go without paying, .

Conversely, if you pay all your bills on time, you will have a good payment history and your score will benefit. There are other , too, such as how much of your you use and the types of credit you have. But because payment history is the most influential credit factor, it’s very hard to have a without a solid payment history.

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