Credit Card Tips: Understanding Your Credit Score

Credit is a word that freaks out some people. What’s worse, some people treat it as a curse word. And that’s because they equate credit with owing individuals’ and organizations’ money. Since most of us were brought up knowing debt is a bad thing for our financial health, we may approach the issue of credit – and credit cards – with cold feet if not outright prejudice. Learn about your credit score in this article.

Navigating the world of credit cards can seem daunting and complex. One key element that frequently leaves cardholders puzzled is the concept of a credit score. What is it? How is it calculated? Why does it matter?

Having a good credit score – vis-a-vis your credit card – is an essential part of your financial health, and understanding your credit score is the first step. In this article, we will answer some of the frequently asked questions, which, hopefully, will make you understand how your credit card and credit scores are intertwined.

10 Smart Ways to Make the Most of Your Credit Card | Finance Dissected – Watch on YouTube

What’s a credit score?

A credit score is a three-digit number that is based on the information in your credit report, which includes data from creditors on how you’ve managed your credit accounts.

A higher credit score shows lenders that you are a responsible borrower, while a lower score may mean that you are seen as a higher-risk borrower. Knowing your credit score is important because it can help you understand your financial standing and can help you make decisions related to borrowing money or applying for credit cards.

READ MORE: Waya Vs Chime: Which is the Best App for Sending Money Home?

How is a credit score calculated?

Your credit score is primarily calculated using five key factors: payment history, credit utilization, length of credit history, new credit, and credit mix. The most important element is your payment history, accounting for 35% of your score. This reflects whether you’ve paid past credit accounts on time.

Next is credit utilization, which considers how much of your available credit you’re using. This makes up 30% of your score. Length of credit history accounts for 15%, evaluating the age of your oldest account, the age of your newest account, and the average age of all your accounts. New credit, making up 10% of the score, looks at how many new accounts you have, how many recent credit inquiries you have, and how long it’s been since you opened a new account.

Lastly, credit mix, also accounting for 10%, assesses whether you have a mix of different types of credit, like credit cards, retail accounts, installment loans, mortgage loans, and so on.

Which agency calculates a credit score?

In the United States, credit scores are calculated by three main credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. These agencies gather financial data and use it to create credit reports, which form the basis for your credit score.

It’s crucial to note that each agency might have slightly different information about your credit history, resulting in minor variations in your score across bureaus.

Understanding how these agencies calculate your credit score, considering factors like your payment history, debt levels, length of credit history, and the mix of credit types, can enable you to take strategic steps toward improving your credit health.

Why does your credit score matter?

Your credit score is an important number that impacts the way lenders view you when you apply for credit cards, loans, and other types of financing. A good credit score helps lenders determine how likely you are to repay borrowed money and, therefore, how likely you are to receive favorable interest rates.

Improving your credit score can help you qualify for better loan terms or higher credit limits. Paying your bills on time and keeping your credit utilization ratio low are two of the key ways to improve your credit score. Additionally, checking your credit report regularly and disputing any errors you find can help ensure that your credit score is accurate and up to date.

Who cares about credit scores?

The short answer is everyone that you will have financial dealings with, especially if it involves the exchange of goods and services. In the old days, folks doing business transactions would shake hands and say, “You’re good as your word”. Nowadays, the saying could as well be: “You’re as good as your credit score.”

Your credit score is a numerical representation of your creditworthiness, and it is used by many companies to make decisions about you. Banks and lenders will use your credit history to assess your eligibility for loans and credit cards.

Employers may check your credit history to decide whether or not to hire you. Insurance companies may use your credit history to determine the amount of premium you will be charged for insurance policies.

Landlords may also check your credit history to determine whether or not they will approve you as a tenant. Utility companies may also use your credit history to decide whether or not to approve you for service.

What’s a good credit score?

Generally, a good credit score is considered to be around 700 or higher. Knowing your credit score is a great way to ensure that you are making smart financial decisions and taking control of your finances.

Why are there so many different credit scores?

Different credit scores are calculated by different companies using different methods, and it can be confusing to understand how the scores are calculated. Each company has its unique algorithms and methods for scoring a person’s creditworthiness, and some credit scoring models may place more emphasis on certain factors such as payment history, while others may focus more on other factors such as utilization.

Different credit scores can also be affected by different factors, such as the types of accounts a person has, the length of their credit history, and the amount of activity on their accounts.

Taking the time to understand your credit score and the factors used to calculate it can help you take control of your credit and make sure you have the best score possible.

How often should you check your credit score?

It’s recommended to check your credit score at least once a year. This will help ensure that there are no sudden changes that could affect your ability to obtain credit. If you’re planning on applying for a loan or credit card, it’s a good idea to check it more frequently.

You can also consider signing up for a credit monitoring service. These services will keep track of your credit score and alert you if anything changes. This can be useful if you want to stay on top of any changes in your score.

Before making a major purchase, such as a car or home, it’s important to check your credit score. This will give you an accurate idea of what kind of loan you can qualify for and how much interest you’ll pay.

Credit card tips

Your credit score is used to determine your eligibility for loans, credit cards, and other financial services, so it’s important to understand how your credit card usage can affect your score.

Always use your credit cards responsibly.

Avoid applying for too many credit cards or loans as this can hurt your credit score.

To maintain a healthy credit score, make sure to pay the full balance each month and stay within your credit limit.

By understanding your credit score and taking the time to manage it responsibly, you can improve your chances of getting approved for credit cards and loans and save yourself money in the long run.

How does credit card usage affect a credit score?

Every time you use your credit card, the amount used and the balance remaining will be reported to the credit bureaus, so it’s important to pay your credit card bill on time and in full. This will help to keep your credit score in good shape.

Carrying a balance on your credit card from month to month indicates to the credit bureaus that you’re using more credit than you’re able to pay off, which can hurt your credit score.

To prevent this, keeping your credit card utilization rate low is key. This means that you should keep the balance on your credit card below 30% of the credit limit. Not only will this help maintain a good credit score, but it will also help you keep track of your spending and ensure that you don’t fall into debt.

What happens to my credit score if I don’t have a credit card?

If you don’t have a credit card, your credit score can be impacted in several ways. Lack of a credit card means you’ve fewer chances to build a positive credit history. 10% of your credit score is determined by the types of credit you have, which include credit cards. Without this, creditors may find it difficult to assess your creditworthiness.

Moreover, a credit card provides an opportunity to create a consistent record of on-time repayments–a factor that significantly influences your credit score. It’s not necessary to incur massive debts on your card; small, regular payments can make a considerable difference.

Therefore, while it’s possible to maintain a good credit score without a credit card, possessing one and using it responsibly, can surely enhance your credit profile.

Can frequently applying for new credit cards hurt a credit score?

Having the right credit card for your lifestyle and spending habits can be beneficial, but it’s important to be aware of the potential impact that applying for too many credit cards can have on your credit score. Hard inquiries, the kind that occurs when you apply for a loan or credit card, stay on your credit report for up to two years and can ding your credit score for up to one year.

Lenders may also take into consideration the amount of available credit you are using when determining your credit score. Applying for too many credit cards in a short amount of time can increase your total available credit, which may lower your credit utilization ratio and in turn, harm your credit score.

Understand the consequences of applying for too many credit cards in a short period. Doing so may indicate to lenders that you are in financial distress and can hurt your credit score.

To ensure that your credit score is not negatively impacted, be sure to review the credit card terms and conditions carefully before applying. This will help you make an informed decision and ensure that the credit card you choose is the right one for you.


Credit isn’t a bad thing. It’s not a curse word. If well managed – by making responsible financial decisions while using your credit card – it could be the very thing that could help you to live a healthier financial life.



Waya is a financial technology company, not a bank. Waya’s Banking services, debit cards, and bank accounts are provided by our banking partner, as set forth in the account agreement. The Waya Mastercard® is issued by our banking partners pursuant to a license by Mastercard International Incorporated. The Waya Card may be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted in the U.S. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circle design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated. Waya is a product of Wayapay Limited, Inc. Wayapay, Waya, and associated names are registered trademarks of Wayapay Limited, Inc. All other trademarks and brand names mentioned belong to their respective owners. Standard data rates from your wireless service provider may apply. By clicking on some of the links above, you will leave the Waya website and be directed to a third-party website. The privacy practices of those third parties may differ from those of Waya. We recommend you review the privacy statements of those third-party websites, as Waya is not responsible for those third parties’ privacy or security practices Ⓒ 2024 Waya. All Rights Reserved.