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What Determines A Person's Credit Score?

When you go to buy or lease a new car, credit score will be a huge part of determining whether you qualify and how much your monthly payment and interest rate will be. Your credit score is based on your credit history, which is made up of several factors.

The first and biggest factor that determines your credit score is payment history. Payment history is 35% of your credit score. If you make payments on time and don’t have past due amounts, lenders are much more likely to approve you for a loan than if you frequently get behind on payments or owe large amounts of money on your bills.
The second factor is your overall amount owed, which makes up 30% of your score. If you have installment loans, credit lines, and other accounts with balances, the amount still owed on them—e.g. having $50,000 left to pay on your $100,000 mortgage—will affect your credit score.

Length of credit history is also an important factor, making up 15% of your score. Applicants who have been building credit for years will do better in this area than younger people. This one is out of your control—if you have no credit at all, sometimes you have to wait it out. Plenty of car dealerships do have first-time buyer programs, though, so ask about it when you’re shopping for a car.

The last two factors, new credit and types of credit, make up 10% of your score a piece. If you’ve applied for several new lines of credit, this can negatively impact your score. Having a variety of types of credit, like a mortgage, credit cards, and installment loans, improves credit. These are the lowest-impact factors, though, so don’t worry too much about them.
Building credit is a long process, but if you budget well, keep up with payments, and wait it out, you’ll eventually have a score any lender will approve of.

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