In a 5-part series, Credit 101, Ilyce Glink, an award-winning personal finance columnist and CEO of the financial wellness platform Best Money Moves, details important information you need to know about your credit reports and scores. Create a myEquifax account (at to receive six free Equifax credit reports every 12 months. Watch our video to learn more about how credit scores are calculated.

Credit 101, a credit education series by Ilyce Glink, ThinkGlink

Video: How are credit scores calculated? 

Credit scores summarize your credit history in a number, using information from your credit reports. Lenders and creditors may use credit scores to help determine whether to approve you for credit and on what terms. 

Contrary to what many consumers believe, you don’t have just one credit score. The nationwide consumer reporting agencies, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, as well as other credit scoring companies such as FICO and VantageScore, each have their own methods for calculating credit scores. 

Most models usually consider the same information from your credit reports: 

  1. Your payment history. 
  2. The amount you owe vs. total available credit. 
  3. The types of accounts you have. 
  4. The total number of accounts you have. 
  5. The length of your credit history. 

Credit scores usually range from around 300 (the lowest) to 850 (the highest). Higher credit scores usually suggest that you’ve been responsible with past credit, which may make lenders more confident evaluating a request for new credit. You can request credit scores from each of the 3 nationwide reporting agencies, or from other reporting companies. 

Through Equifax Core Credit™, you can get a free monthly Equifax credit report and a free monthly VantageScore 3.0 credit score, based on Equifax data. Visit to create a myEquifax account, and click “Get my free credit score” to enroll in Core Credit. 

Credit 101 is sponsored by Equifax.

Read more from our Credit 101 series: 

Credit 101: What’s in Your Credit Reports? 
Credit 101: How Are Credit Scores Calculated?