There is often confusion about the components that factor into someone’s credit score, but the basics are fairly straightforward.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia compiled the basic pieces of each of the 5 categories. The 5 umbrella categories which make up someone’s credit score are: payment history, amounts owed, types of credit used, length of credit history, and new credit.

These 5 umbrella categories each have smaller components:

Payment History

  • Number of late accounts
  • Number of accounts paid on time
  • Negative public records (e.g. bankruptcy, judgments, suits, liens, and wage attachments)
  • The amount past due on delinquent accounts or collection items

Amounts Owed

  • For credit cards and other revolving credit with credit limits, the percent of your credit limit that you currently are using. For example, if your credit card has a credit limit of $10,000, and your current balance is $1,000, your credit usage rate (often called your credit utilization rate) is 10 percent.
  • The amount owed on all accounts
  • The number of accounts with balances
  • The amount still owed on installment loans relative to amount originally borrowed

Types of Credit Used

  • The mixture of revolving credit (for example, credit card or a home equity line of credit) and installment loans (for example, auto loan or mortgage). A history of borrowing using different types of credit (for example, credit card, home mortgage, and car loan) increases your score.

Length of Credit History

  • Average time since the accounts were opened
  • Length of time since accounts were opened, by account type
  • How long since there was account activity

New Credit

  • Number of recently opened accounts and inquiries by creditors
  • Length of time since the last credit inquiry
  • Re-establishment of a positive credit history following past payment problems
  • Length of time since a new account was opened


Link to full article by the Philadelphia FED

Mastercard Consumer Credit Education Package