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FICO Score Changes Can Vary Widely Depending on Your Credit Profile

FICO | May 9, 2019

Changing the Score

 

Here’s how five people with different FICO® Scores would see their scores impacted by a range of credit events:

 

  Rachel Sofia Mike David Maria
  A 43-year-old teacher who owns her home A 26 year-old nurse who rents her home and has had a 30 day late payment in the last year and a charge-off in the past 2 years A 51-year-old lawyer with 18 credit accounts who owns his home A 22-year-old sales associate with 2 credit accounts who lives with his parents A 40-year-old software engineer who owns her home and has never missed a payment
Credit utilization 22% 67% 51% 26% 12%
Revolving balances $20,500 $5,760 $14,000 $250 $6,500
Credit history 25 years 8 years 30 years 2 years 19 years
Recent inquiries None None 2 None 2
Delinquencies None 2 None None None
Current FICO® Score 9: 736 607 669 710 793
Credit Action          
Miss a payment by 30 days 685 - 705 570 - 590 625 - 645 645 - 665 710 - 730
Miss a payment by 90 days 655 - 675 560 - 580 590 - 610 530 - 550 660 - 680
Reduce revolving account balances by 25% 750 - 770 615 - 635 705 - 725 710 - 730 795 - 815
Take out a new $5,000 personal loan 710 - 730 590 - 510 655 - 675 675 - 695 770 - 790
Max out credit cards 650 - 670 560 - 580 640 - 660 615 - 635 665 - 685

 

Note that age, occupation and housing status do not factor into a FICO® Score.

 

Three Things to Know

 

1. Your payment history has the biggest impact on your score

 

Not surprisingly, missing a payment has a substantial impact on a FICO® Score. All five individuals see a substantial loss of points when they fall 30 days behind on a payment, and lose even more points when it hits 90 days past due.

 

What may be surprising is that the degree of point drop differs. Mike and David would lose more points for the same missteps as Sophia. That’s because Sophia’s lower score of 607 already reflects her riskier past behavior of missed payments. So, the addition of one more indicator of increased risk on her credit report is not quite as significant to her score as it is for Mike and David – who have no reported previous history of delinquency.

 

The impact is even greater for David, who has just two credit accounts and only two years of credit history reported. Since David has fewer accounts paid as agreed and a short credit history, he does not have as much positive information on his credit report to “soften” the negative impact of missed payments.

 

2. Your amount of debt matters too

 

Your balances and utilization (how much of your available credit is being used) are also heavily weighted in the score. Maria, Rachel and David see large score drops when they max out their credit cards – especially Maria, whose starting credit utilization percentage is relatively low. Mike and Sophia’s scores decrease as well, but less so since they already have medium to high revolving utilization percentages and that risk is already factored into their starting score.

 

Paying down debt is an opportunity to increase the score and all five individuals could see gains of additional points by reducing their revolving balances by 25%. Mike has the most to gain from this action given his higher starting credit utilization percentage, and lack of late payments.

 

3. Securing new credit can lower your score in the short term

 

Opening up a new credit account may affect your score as it usually results in an inquiry posting, a newly opened credit account being reported (impacting your average length of credit history), as well as potentially affecting your credit mix.

 

This action had the biggest impact on David, as he is bringing on a new credit obligation to an already thin and young credit profile. As David and the other individuals demonstrate over time that they can successfully manage the new credit account, the impact of opening the new account will decrease.

 

Are you like any one of these profiles? Take a look at your own credit report/scores and compare it to these profiles, you might be able to learn what to expect if you happen to encounter one of these credit events.

 

Remember, the best ways to keep your FICO® Scores healthy are:

 

  • Pay your bills on time
  • Keep credit card balances low
  • Apply for credit only when you need it

 

Copyright ©2019 Fair Isaac Corporation. All rights reserved. FICO is a registered trademark of Fair Isaac Corporation in the U.S. and other countries. The examples presented are for illustrative purposes only and meant to provide general guidelines of how a FICO® Score may change in different situations. The examples should not be relied upon as an indication of how your individual FICO® Score may change.

 

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