What Makes Up A FICO Credit Score?

What Makes Up A FICO Credit Score?


Have you ever wondered how your credit score is calculated?  Consumers are often confused about how their credit scores are calculated and what affects their scores.  In an effort to educate, we will dive into the fundamentals of what makes up a FICO credit score.


To start, there are five factors that impact your credit score.  Within each of these factors, there are a number of things that influence your score.



Credit utilization makes up 10% of your FICO score and is based on the variety of credit accounts, such as credit cards, retail, installments/auto loans, mortgages, etc.  It’s not necessary to have one of each, especially if you don’t plan to use them, but having a mix of credit cards and installment loans with good payment history definitely helps to keep your credit score in good standing.  Those with credit cards managed responsibly are generally lower risk than those with no credit cards.




New credit makes up 10% of your FICO score and takes into account:

  • Number of recently opened accounts and proportion of accounts that are new – new accounts will lower average account age, so if you don’t have a lot of other credit info, it is best to avoid opening a lot of new accounts too rapidly.
  • Number of and length of time since recent credit inquiries – FICO only takes into account the past 12 months and generally have a small impact.
  • How long accounts are past due – late payment history can be overcome, reestablishing credit and making payments on time will raise your score over time.




Age of credit history has a 15% impact on your credit score.  Generally, the longer your credit history, the higher your FICO score.   It depends on the age of the accounts as well as the time since the most recent account activity.




Payment history has the biggest impact on your credit score, coming in at 35%.  This is an important one – it’s the first thing lenders check, to make sure all your accounts have been paid on time.  Payment history will show for credit cards, retail accounts, installment loans, finance company accounts, and mortgage loans.  Having bankruptcies, foreclosures, lawsuits, judgements or liens will negatively affect your score.  If you do have late or missed payments on your accounts, your credit score takes into account how late the payment was, how much was past due, how recent was it past due, and how many accounts are delinquent.  It also takes into consideration how many accounts have been paid on as agreed.




The number of accounts you have open has a 30% effect on your credit score, the second largest impact factor.  You aren’t necessarily high risk just because you owe money on credit accounts.  It depends greatly on what is determined to be too much for an individual credit profile.  Some of the influencing factors are:

  • How much you owe on all accounts
  • How much is owed on each specific types of accounts
  • How many accounts have a remaining balance
  • The ratio of credit utilization on open accounts-generally the higher the ratio, the more negative impact toward your credit score
  • Balances on installment loans



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