Credit scores typically range between 300 and 850 points and provide an indication of a borrower’s capacity r to repay their loans. There are two main credit bureaus in Canada – Equifax and TransUnion – that collect, store, and share information about how you use credit.
5 main factors used to calculate credit scores:
The most important factor in a credit score is whether a borrower has a good track record of repaying the money loaned to them. Payment history comprises up to 35% of a credit score. Remind clients that multiple late or missed payments, overdue accounts, bankruptcies and any written off debts will all lower their credit score. Paying back debt quickly can help repair their credit.
Credit utilization ratio looks at the percentage of debt used out of all credit limits available to the borrower. If your client has multiple credit cards, revolving lines of credit or other accounts that are maxed out consistently, it can lower their credit score. Help clients examine the type of accounts they hold and stress the importance of managing each of them responsibly.
The longer someone has an account open, the better for their credit score. Credit history is a window into how much experience a borrower has managing debt and their ability to pay it off. Work with clients to review active and inactive accounts. Suggest leaving credit card accounts open, even if they don’t use them much, as the age of the account might help boost their score.
New credit is another key input to a person’s credit score. Check with clients to see how recently and how often they’ve applied for new credit, as well as how many new accounts have actually been opened. When you apply for new credit, borrowers are subject to a “hard inquiry” so that the lender can check their credit information. If there have been many of these hard credit checks in a short period of time, it could impact their credit score negatively.
Types of Credit
Having more than one type of credit account (while managing them responsibly) can improve your credit score, such as credit cards, an auto loan, mortgages, and lines of credit. This makes up a smaller portion of a borrower’s score, but balancing different types of credit can be a way to raise your client’s score.