What you need to know about credit scoring: Part II

Part II: The Five Factors of Credit Scoring

There are five factors that comprise the credit score. They are listed below in order of importance, just as an underwriter would look at the score:

1. Payment History: 35% impact. Paying debt on time and in full has a positive impact. Late payments, judgments and charge-offs have a negative impact. Missing a high payment has a more severe impact than missing a low payment. Delinquencies that have occurred in the last two years carry more weight than older items.

2. Outstanding Credit Balances: 30% impact. This factor marks the ratio between the outstanding balance and available credit. Ideally, the consumer should make an effort to keep balances as close to zero as possible, and definitely below 30% of the available credit limit when trying to purchase a home.

3. Credit History: 15% impact. This marks the length of time since a particular credit line was established. A seasoned borrower is stronger in this area.

4. Type of Credit: 10% impact. A mix of auto loans and credit cards are more positive than a concentration of debt from credit cards only.

5. Inquiries: 10% impact. This quantifies the number of inquiries that have been made on a consumer’s credit history within a six-month period. Each hard inquiry can cost from 2 to 50 points on a credit score, but the maximum number of inquiries that will reduce the score is 10. In other words, 11 or more inquiries in a six-month period will have no further impact on the borrower’s credit score.

Remember, a computer that’s not taking any personal factors into consideration calculates these scores. When a credit report is generated, it is simply today’s snapshot of the borrower’s credit profile. This can fluctuate dramatically within the course of a week, depending on the individual’s own activities. The borrower should be made aware of this when they enter into the loan process, and know that it’s not in their best interest to go out on a shopping spree. They need to make sure they are not creating a negative impact on the score while the lender is reviewing their file.

Secondly, it is often beneficial to compile a duo-merge credit report. This provides scores from the two credit bureaus, TransUnion, and Equifax. The lender should be provided with this rounded profile beuse these two scoring systems can vary in their results.

Stay tuned for Credit Scoring, Part III: Dealing with Challenges 

By Danuta Levitzki

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