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Your credit score - more important than you think

Danielle Bly

Issue date: 10/2/09 Section: News
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Payment History - 35 percent of total score. Paying your bills on time can go a long way to increasing this vital aspect of your credit score. Any negative information about you (like late payments or defaults) can pull your score down.

Amounts Owed - 30 percent of total score. The amount of money you owe relative to your total credit impacts this area. For example, if you have $1000 of credit, and you spend $800 per month on credit (using 80 percent of total credit), your score will drop. However, if you have $1000 of credit, and you only spend $200 per month (20 percent of total credit), this number should remain high. This plays into the common misconception that you should close credit cards if you don't use them anymore. These cards increase your total credit limit, and therefore help keep your percentage of credit used down. So unless extra credit cards are a big spending temptation, it could help to leave them open instead.

Length of Credit History - 15 percent of total score. The longer you have had a credit history, the better companies can trust the reliability of the information on your credit report. Generally, three years of credit history is needed to fully optimize this percentage. If you don't have credit, obtaining some credit early can be extremely helpful for building your credit score in the future.

New Credit & Credit Inquiries - 10 percent of total score. Many people fall victim to this part of their credit score. They're in the mall, and want to purchase a lot of merchandise. The cashier asks if you would like to save 15 percent by opening a store credit card. Occasionally, this offer is okay to accept, but in general, resist this temptation, especially if you are a person who frequently opens these cards. Opening a large number of accounts in a short period of time can adversely affect your credit score. In addition to new credit, excess credit inquiries can adversely impact your score. For example, attempting to open a large number of credit cards, or applying for loans at several places can bring this number down.

Your credit mix - 10 percent of total score. This area involves the types of credit you have. A healthy mix of mortgage, credit cards, and loans is generally preferred to optimize this area of your score.

Now that you are armed with knowledge about your credit score, and how you can positively impact it in the future, it's time to take a look at your credit score right now to see what it entails and what you can do to improve it. gives you free access once per year to your credit report from all three credit reporting agencies. This is an easy and reliable way to manage your credit score now and into the future, and is also a great way to help prevent identity theft.
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In This Issue


  • Can you name this place?
  • Have you heard about Case Western Undergraduate Bioethics Society?
  • Homecoming at CWRU
  • Preparing for 2009's local and state elections
  • President Barbara Snyder engages the student body in first-ever student State of the University address
  • RAD classes aim to protect students
  • Six CWRU students test positive for H1N1
  • Students celebrate sustainability at campus-wide GreenFest


  • At least Anderson keeps it close
  • First round robin puts Spartans in driver's seat
  • Football Gameday: Case vs. Wooster
  • For Denison QB, first test is daunting
  • Judges bring Spartans down to earth

Fun Page

  • Combo Scramble Solution
  • Crossword Solution
  • Maze Solution
  • Sudoku Solutions


  • Drastic healthcare reform unnecessary, wasteful
  • Editorial: USG must take action, stem abundance of resignations
  • Moore's Capitalism: an undeserved bully pulpit
  • Recycling: getting to know your plastics
  • State sex education legislation provides needed overhaul
  • State your case: what do you do on a rainy day?


  • Acappella for Africa successful fundraiser for Global Medical Initiative, showcases CWRU's multiude of a cappella talents
  • Baker-Nord Center to hold student-run Flip Camera Film Festival
  • Botanical Gardens, Baker-Nord Center present compelling afternoon of poetry reading and composition
  • Cleveland Museum of Art opens Paul Gauguin: Paris, 1889 exhibit
  • Eldred Theater season opens with Heidi Chronicles
  • GLTF season opens with gut-busting Edwin Drood
  • Hitting the Spot: Cody Wood
  • Kid Cudi brings introspective musical perspective to Case Western
  • The Buzz
  • Thinking about summer jobs and real-world employment can never start too early

Cross Country

  • Women emerge from "mud pit" with title


  • Nicely catches 3 TDs in win

Sex and Dating

  • The real reason to get a flu shot


  • Streak snapped: Spartans get first UAA win since '06

Spartan Spotlight

  • Spartan Spotlight: Brian Evans

Worst Case Scenario

  • Cold season
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