01 Sep 2018

Key Credit History Components Impacting Your Score

The factors that are used to generate your FICO score are fairly well known, and one of the biggest of all, is length of time you’ve had accounts established. It can affect the type of credit you get, and how good the rates you get on that credit.

Length of Credit: One big question people often ask is, how can I extend the length of my credit history?

The answer is, not a whole lot (usually), as there aren’t many quick fixes for quickly boosting the age of your credit history. This is why the older accounts you have, even if you aren’t using them, are very valuable. It is a common misconception that closing credit you aren’t using will help, but it’s actually the total opposite.

According to CreditKarma, if you have credit longer than 8 years, this is the best, and if you’re handling it correctly (not using more than 30% of your limit month to month, paying it on time) you should have a score in the mid-upper 700’s. This is considered an A grade.

The longer the account is open, the more valuable it is to you.

Total number of accounts: Your total number of accounts is another major factor in determining your credit score. The hard-fast rule is that you have two open credit cards that you are using and paying off monthly, but generally the consumers who have more accounts usually have better credit scores as it means more lenders are willing to lend to them.

Credit inquiries: Any time you apply for credit you have what’s called a “hard pull” on your credit reports. This means that whoever you are applying with takes a look at your reports. When this happens frequently, it can quickly bring your score down. Think of it like a boat on the water. Every pull you get is another hole in your hull. If you have one or two, some leaks spring up and you don’t have too much of a problem. Get too many though, and you’ll sink.


Only applying for credit when you need it, and applying for credit that you are likely to get approved for, is the best way to keep this under control.