FICO Credit Score 101: Length of Your Credit History

This post is part of a continuing series on understanding your FICO credit score, where we delve into detail to explain each component of your credit score calculation.  In the first two parts of this series, you learned that payment history and amounts owed have the largest bearing on your FICO credit score. In this post, you’ll learn about the next largest factor in your FICO score, the length of your credit history.

Part 3: Length of Credit History (15%)

This one is pretty simple – having a longer credit history gives lenders more evidence of your creditworthiness.  A lender is likely to be more confident extending credit to someone who has demonstrated perfect credit for 10 years rather than someone who has done so for only 10 months.

Your FICO score takes into account both the age of your oldest account as well as the average age across all your accounts.  It also depends in part on how long specific accounts have been established, and how long it has been since you’ve used certain accounts.

In general, if you don’t have any credit history, get started now by opening a single credit card account. If you have been managing credit for a while, try to avoid closing your oldest account, even if you don’t use it very often.

Read Part 4 of the series on Credit Mix here.

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