5 Surprising Factors That Affect Your Credit Score

Your credit score is a crucial factor that can impact various aspects of your financial life, from securing loans and mortgages to obtaining insurance and even renting an apartment. While most people know that payment history and credit utilization are key factors in calculating your score, there are a few surprising elements that can also play a role. Here are five of them:

**1. Credit Age**

The length of your credit history is a significant factor in determining your score. Longer credit histories indicate stability and reliability, so individuals with older accounts tend to have higher scores.

**2. Credit Mix**

Having a diverse mix of credit accounts, such as credit cards, installment loans, and mortgages, can boost your score. It demonstrates your ability to manage different types of debt responsibly.

**3. Hard Inquiries**

When you apply for new credit, lenders perform a hard inquiry on your credit report. Multiple hard inquiries in a short period can negatively impact your score, as they indicate to lenders that you may be overextending yourself financially.

**4. Public Records**

Bankruptcies, judgments, and tax liens are examples of public records that can damage your credit score. These negative items can remain on your report for years, significantly lowering your score.

**5. Debt-to-Income Ratio**

Your debt-to-income ratio measures the amount of debt you have relative to your income. High debt-to-income ratios indicate that you may have difficulty managing your finances, which can lower your credit score.

**Maintaining a Healthy Credit Score**

To maintain a healthy credit score, consider the following tips:

* Pay your bills on time, every time.
* Keep your credit utilization low (below 30%).
* Limit the number of hard inquiries you have.
* Monitor your credit report regularly for errors and potential fraud.
* Build a diverse credit mix over time.
* Avoid public records such as bankruptcies and judgments.
* Manage your debt-to-income ratio wisely.

By understanding the factors that affect your credit score and adopting responsible credit habits, you can improve and maintain a strong credit profile. This will open doors to better financial opportunities and peace of mind.

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