There’s nothing more exciting than a new car. But before you decide whether to buy or lease, it’s important to know as much as possible about your credit history and credit score. After all, according to a recent CEB TowerGroup analyst report, credit scores are used in more than 90% of U.S. lending decisions.
Here’s how it works: National credit bureaus collect information about your borrowing and payment habits. Your credit history is compiled, and each bureau creates a score that helps lenders determine your credit risk.
Bottom line: A good score can help you qualify for financing and help you get the lowest rate possible.
While the formula to calculate a credit score may vary slightly between credit bureaus, here is a generally accepted credit score chart:
35% Payment History
Build your credit by paying your bills on time, every time.
30% Amounts Owned
Some experts recommend using 30% or less of your available credit.
15% Length of Credit History
The longer you show responsible use of credit, the higher your score may be.
10% Credit Mix
The type of credit you have makes a difference. For example, an installment loan is paid over time with a set amount of payments. Revolving credit, such as a credit card, allows you to borrow a certain amount. As you repay the money, it becomes available to borrow again.
10% New Credit
Build your credit by being careful about new credit, and only open new accounts as needed.
You can download one free copy of your credit report every 12 months from annualcreditreport.com. Although your credit score will not be on it, you can usually request that information from a credit bureau for a fee.
Download our credit education brochure for more information about how a credit score is calculated and steps you can take to manage your credit.
Ready to get in the driver's seat?
See if you pre-qualify for financing.