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Mastering the 5 Building Blocks to Demystify Your Credit Score

Feel like your credit score is a cryptic gatekeeper, controlling access to your financial castle? Loan denied! Mortgage application rejected! No approval for that shiny new credit card!

It may seem like your credit score is a mysterious three-digit number, judging your financial worthiness by some secret formula. But having a great credit score isn’t magic—it’s understanding the 5 core building blocks that shape it: 

Master these 5 blocks, shore up any weak spots, and you can transform your credit from dungeon to palace in no time. Read on to unlock the secrets to credit success!

Here's what you need to know.

Your Payment History: The Cornerstone of Creditworthiness

Payment history refers to your track record of paying bills and debts on time. This includes everything from credit cards, mortgages, student loans, medical bills, utilities, cell phone plans, and more.

Payment history is the most important factor in calculating your credit score, accounting for a whopping 35% of your total rating.

Every time you make (or miss) a payment, it’s reported to the credit bureaus. Timely payments signal responsibility and reliability; late or missing payments suggest higher risk. Too many strikes, and your score suffers significantly.

Here are key strategies for fortifying your payment history pillar:

Setting up automatic payments or payment reminders can help.

Temporary hardship programs may be available.

Provide documentation to the credit bureaus.

Ask for “pay for delete.”

With a strong payment history foundation, building the other credit blocks becomes much easier.

“It’s fine to celebrate success, but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.”
Bill Gates

Here's what you need to know.

Balances Owed: Keeping Credit Utilization Low

The next most important factor is your credit utilization rate, or the amount of credit you currently have compared to your total available credit. This accounts for 30% of your overall score.

Specifically, experts recommend keeping your utilization below 30% across all your credit cards and lines of credit.

For example:

-You have 3 credit cards

-Card 1 has a $1000 limit, with $300 balance

-Card 2 has $2000 limit, with $700 balance

-Card 3 has $5000 limit with $1500 balance

-Total credit limit = $1000 + $2000 + $5000 = $8000

-Total balances owed = $300 + $700 + $1500 = $2500

-$2500 current debt / $8000 total available = 31% credit utilization

Here, this fictional borrower is slightly over the 30% ideal utilization threshold. By paying down card balances and/or requesting higher limits, they could improve this vital score factor.

Other tips include:

Keep your castle drawbridge high by carefully limiting the balances storming your credit fortress!

Here's what you need to know.

Length and Depth of Credit History: Prove Your Consistency

Length of credit history refers to how long you’ve been managing and paying off debts and accounts. The depth of history looks at specific types of loans and diversity of accounts.

Together, this factor contributes 15% towards your Kingdom of Creditworthiness.

In general, the longer your history, the higher your score. Opening new accounts doesn’t weaken your score as long as you continue using your older, seasoned accounts too.

Here are useful strategies related to credit history length and depth:

While you can’t rewrite history, you can build positive patterns going forward. Consistently using credit while keeping utilization and payments in check is key.

Here's what you need to know.

New Credit Applications: Easy Does It

When seeking a castle expansion via new credit, take care not to incite a villager revolt…I mean credit score plummet!

The score factor related to new credit measures both the quantity of recently opened accounts, and the breadth of credit inquiries made. This factor accounts for 10% of one’s credit score.

Opening numerous new accounts in a short timeframe can signal higher risk and temporarily ding your score, though the exact thresholds aren’t publicly defined. Shopping around for the best rates via multiple loan inquiries can also lower scores temporarily.

However, used judiciously, targeted new credit can strengthen your financial kingdom long term:

With time and good behavior, new accounts ultimately deepen your history and build your FICO fortune. Patience, Grasshopper!

Here's what you need to know.

Credit Mix: Successfully Juggling Account Types

Think of your credit mix like the royal court in your financial kingdom—the greater the diversity, the greater the harmony!

Credit mix refers to managing different types of loans and accounts simultaneously: credit cards, retail accounts, installment loans, mortgages, student loans, etc.

This building block accounts for 10% of your creditworthiness score. Having experience with multiple account types shows bankers you can handle variety in your kingdom.

Strategies for improving credit mix diversity include:

Growing your mix of account types takes finesse, wisdom and time just like cultivating trusted advisors. But done properly, your diverse credit kingdom will flourish for years to come.

We are here to help!

March Towards Credit Mastery

And there you have it—the 5 building blocks governing the credit score like stone supports holding up a mighty castle.

With focus and effort, you can shore up any vulnerabilities, reinforcing your entire credit foundation in the process. As you master each area, your once modest credit cottage will transform into a financial fortress over time, weathering any storms that come its way.

However, we understand completely if your current debt feels less like a minor nuisance, and more like a fire-breathing dragon ravaging your countryside! You tried your best, but the bills and interest charges just kept piling higher.

Luckily, even with credit damage, all is NOT lost. At DebtBlue, our financial veterans have decades of experience helping everyday people battle unsecured debt through compassionate debt resolution programs. We help you conduct siege warfare on those crushing interest rates to consolidate or resolve what you actually owe—and structure manageable monthly payments you CAN handle. 

For more information on how to keep yourself protected contact us for additional strategies.