Understand Your Credit Score
What’s in a number? In the case of your credit score, a lot! It can affect your ability to buy a car, find a place to live or even get a job.
Credit Scores Explained
Your credit score is a number that rates your creditworthiness, or how likely you are to repay a loan.
Lenders review credit scores when evaluating loan and credit card applications.
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Other institutions may also look at credit scores as part of their application process, including insurance companies, cellphone providers, landlords and even employers.
Your credit score is based on information in your credit report, which is a detailed profile of all your credit accounts, credit history and activity.
Your score is based on:
- Your payment history
- Your credit utilization
- Types of credit used
- Length of credit history
- Recent hard credit pulls
Want to learn more? Check out these frequently asked questions for more about credit scores and credit health.
How to Improve Your Score
The higher your score, the more likely you will be approved for loans and qualify for the best rates, so it’s important to maintain a positive credit history.
Factors that help your score:
- Paying bills on time (including credit cards, auto loan, mortgages, most utility bills and more)
- Lower loan balances compared to the original loan amounts
- Lower credit card account balances compared to your credit limit
- A long history of responsibly maintained credit accounts
Factors that hurt your score:
- Missing or late payments
- Delinquent accounts
- Adverse public records (bankruptcy, liens, etc.)
- How much you owe compared to your available credit (the closer you are to your credit limits, the greater the negative impact)
- Too much new credit — rapid opening of new accounts can lead to uncertainty about your ability to handle payments