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How to Build Your Credit Score

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 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.

Brooke Howell
By Brooke Howell, GM Financial

GM Financial’s Brooke Howell is a writer specializing in financial literacy and a lifetime Chevrolet driver. She is red-haired, well-read and her fuel tank is always more than half full.


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