Establishing good credit early on is important for your financial future and can help get you in the habit of spending responsibly. Find answers to questions you may have about your credit report and score so you can better manage your credit.

What is a credit score?

A credit score, like the FICO® Score, is a three-digit number calculated from the credit information on your credit report at any one of the three credit bureaus at a particular point in time. It summarizes information in your credit report into a single number that lenders can use to assess your credit risk quickly, consistently, objectively and fairly. Lenders use FICO® Scores to estimate your credit risk—how likely you are to pay your credit obligations as agreed. And it helps you obtain credit based on your actual borrowing and repayment history, without consideration of prohibited types of information such as race or religion. Most credit scores have a range from 300 to 850, higher being better.

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What is a credit report?

The three major credit bureaus — Experian, Equifax and TransUnion — collect information from companies you do business with and use that information to create a credit report. A credit report is a record of everything you borrow and repay using a form of credit. It also shows any late payments, history of payments, the amount of credit cards you have and if you’ve declared bankruptcy.

FICO® Credit Scores1 are a common credit score used by lenders to quickly assess credit risk.

Who looks at my credit report?

Credit card lenders will pull your report when you apply for a credit card or other line of credit. Other groups who may look at your credit report include lenders, insurance agents, utility companies, and even landlords. Some landlords do credit checks before renting a home to get a sense of your reliability.

What’s included in a credit report?

There are four major data points included in your credit report. Credit reports will identify your information (your name, Social Security number, address and date of birth) and your account history (how long you’ve had each credit line open). They’ll also tell you your credit limit, payment history and balance, as well as information from public records. Finally, they report on how many credit inquiries you and other agencies have made into your report.

Where can I get my credit report?

You can get a free copy of your credit report once a year from each national credit bureau by going to annualcreditreport.com.

How is a FICO® Credit Score calculated?

Your FICO® Credit Score is calculated using five categories of credit data in your credit report. These categories may vary in importance for different credit profiles. Based on the five categories for the general population, payment history accounts for 35% of the score, amounts owed 30%, length of credit history 15%, new credit opened 10%, and types of credit in use 10%.

Fico credit score calcuation pie chart.

How do I stay on top of my FICO® Credit Score?

  • Paying all bills on time is a key FICO® Credit Score driver
  • Amounts owed on credit cards can have an impact on the score
  • Applying for new credit cards can negatively affect the score
  • Consumers can access their credit reports yearly on annualcreditreport.com to check for report accuracy

 

Legal Disclaimer: This site is for educational purposes and is not a substitute for professional advice. The material on this site is not intended to provide legal, investment, or financial advice and does not indicate the availability of any Discover product or service. It does not guarantee that Discover offers or endorses a product or service. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, you may wish to consult a qualified professional.

Your FICO® Credit Score and key factors are based on data from TransUnion and may be different from other credit scores. This information is intended for and only provided to Primary cardmembers who have an available score. See Discover.com/FICO about the availability of your score. Your score and key factors are available on Discover.com and your score is provided on statements. You will see up to a year of recent scores online starting when you become a cardmember. Discover and other lenders may use different inputs, such as a FICO® Credit Score, other credit scores and more information in credit decisions. This benefit may change or end in the future. FICO is a registered trademark of the Fair Isaac Corporation of the United States and other countries.

Discover Financial Services and Fair Isaac are not credit repair organizations as defined under federal or state law, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act. Discover Financial Services and Fair Isaac do not provide "credit repair" services or assistance regarding "rebuilding" or "improving" your credit record, credit history or credit rating.

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