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What Makes Up Your Credit Score?
Payment History
Credit payment history determines 35% of a FICO Score. The first thing any lender wants to know is whether you’ve paid past credit accounts on time. This is one of the most important factors in a FICO® Score.
Credit Age
Your credit age plays a role in your final credit score. It consists of factors such as age of oldest credit account, newest credit account, average of all accounts, types of accounts (mortgage, auto loans, etc), and last time each account was used.
Credit Utilization
Your credit utilization is the ratio of the amount of your credit card balances compared to the credit limits you have available. For example, if you have $500 credit balance while your limit is $1000, then your credit utilization is 50%.
Account Mix
Accounts mix (or credit mix) involves different types of accounts that you have, such as revolving accounts, installment accounts, or open accounts. Having a mix of accounts does have an impact on your overall credit score.
Credit Inquiries
When applying for credit, lenders will check your credit score (inquiry), which will impact your credit score depending on your account. A soft inquiry will not affect your score but a hard inquiry on the other hand will.
Credit score range
A Poor Credit Score
If you have a bad / poor credit score then it means you are sitting between the credit score range of 300 to 629, which is were about 22% of Americans are currently sitting. Having a bad credit score does have quite a significant impact on your ability to borrow credit from lenders. Getting anything from an auto loan to an excellent credit card at low interest rates will very difficult to achieve. Auto or home insurance can be higher along with utility deposits that those will higher credit score usually get to skip on will not be likely. Dipping to a bad credit standing usually means you forgot to pay some bills on your credit card or car loan but it isn’t the end of your ability to credit. You can find providers who will be willing to lend and if you continue paying your bills on time your credit can improve over time.
Credit score range
A Fair Credit Score
If you are sitting at fair credit then you are right between bad and good credit. This usually means that you are between the low and mid 600’s. At this credit score range you will have a lot more options available than those with bad credit score ranges. At this point you can start applying for mortgages which typically begin at the score of 620. Auto loans are quite common in this range as well. When it comes to credit cards you begin to have a lot more options as well but not quite to the point where you can enjoy 0% interest rates or high rewards. At this point the most ideal option is to continue to push for a good credit score to open up even more options when it comes to mortgages, loans, credit cards, and more.
Credit score range
A Good Credit Score
A good credit score ranges from 700 to 749 according to the FICO credit range while on a Vantage Score 3.0 you would end up at a B grade. You can check your credit score for free with Credit Sesame to see whether you fall inside the ‘good’ credit range. If you find yourself below the ‘good’ range then you can do several important actions to get yourself back up. First pay your bills on time, watch your balances, don’t go overboard applying for credit, live within your means, mix up your accounts, and finally, look into the future – credit history counts. With a good credit score range you will get a lot of great perks when it comes to applying for credit such as credit cards or loans.
Credit score range
An Excellent Credit Score
If you find yourself sitting at an excellent credit score range then you are on the range of 750 or above according to the FICO range or an A if you are measuring based on the VantageScore 3.0 range. Getting to this position in the credit scale means that your payment history, credit utilization, credit age, credit mix, and inquiries are at the perfect (or excellent) amount. Having excellent credit opens numerous doors to the top credit card offers, best rates of loans, and other offers offered by lenders. This doesn’t mean that you are ‘done’ building your credit, especially if you are on the low end of excellent. It is recommended to continuously improve your credit.

What can hurt your credit score

What can help your credit score

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Credit Report vs. Credit Score:
What’s the Difference?
FREE Credit Report FREE Credit Score
What is it? Your credit report is a summary of all of your credit history over time. Your credit score is a formula used by bureaus to determine how creditworthy you are.
Where can you get it? You can get your report with Credit Sesame or with a major credit bureau. You can get your credit score from Credit Sesame or other places such as myFico.
What kind of information does it show?
  • Name, address, and social security number
  • Types of credit you use
  • Dates of new credit lines
  • Balances & available credit
  • Accounts that are in collections
  • Any recent credit
  • Information related to bankruptcy, tax liens, and court judgements
  • The amount of debt you owe
  • The length of your credit history
  • What your credit mix is made up of
  • New credit
Who uses which? Your creditor will typically do a hard credit inquiry to see if there is risk to giving you credit. Your utility or phone company will do a soft credit inquiry before making a decision if you have to make a downpayment or not.
How often do credit scores change?
Example Timeline of
Credit Score Changes
More often than not, changes to your credit score will occur in
increments. Typically, you will only see changes of a few points each
month. Even though your credit score looks like it stays pretty
consistent month to month, it can add up to big changes over time.
When you open an account with Credit Sesame, we’ll show you your
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Starting to Improve
Your Credit Score
When you open a new line of credit, a few immediate changes are usually made to your credit report. Most instantly, a new hard inquiry will probably be added to your report, and your average age of credit history could drop. Due to these factors, opening a new account is likely to drop your credit score in the short term. However, as you begin to diligently pay off your bills, the additional on-time payments, the higher number of total accounts and your now-growing age of credit history will likely outweigh the initial downsides, and your score can benefit in the long term.
Credit Myths
Credit Myths
Checking your credit hurts
your credit score
Checking your own credit NEVER hurts your score. A self-check is a “soft
inquiry” and does not impact your credit. Other types of credit checks are
also harmless. When you receive a pre-screened credit card offer in the
mail, that’s the result of a soft inquiry. When an employer checks your
credit, also a soft inquiry.
No credit cards = the best
credit score possible
Unless you use credit, the bureaus have no basis for calculating a credit
score. Some alternative credit scores are calculated for people with
limited history with credit products. Those scores examine the consumer’s
history with utility bills, cell phone bills, rent payments and so on. But a top
score is only available for consumers who have had and used credit
products. Simply put, a cash-only lifestyle is great for the budget, but not
for your credit score.
Only some unpaid bills show up
on a credit report
Unfortunately, some bills don’t help you build credit even when you pay on time every month. Cell phones, utilities, rent and medical bills usually fall into that category. Let that account go delinquent, however, and it’s a different story. Even if a creditor doesn’t report your delinquent account directly, if your account is turned over to a collection agency you can bet it’ll show up on your credit report. The threat of bad credit is one way they try to motivate you to pay up.
Paying off debt cleans up
a credit report automatically
While it’s a great strategy to pay debt off and take care of those unpaid
bills, don’t assume that settling up those unpaid bills will automatically
clean up your credit history. Your credit report shows positive and
negative accounts, including collection accounts, discharges, late
payments and bankruptcies some of which can be on your report for up to
ten years.
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Got questions?
We’ve got answers!

Credit is simply the ability for a consumer to be able to borrow money in order to purchase a product or service. You can get credit from a grantor (for example, from a bank), to whom you will need to pay back the full amount and possible interest charges that might add up over the period of time. There are four different types of credit starting with revolving credit, charge card, service credit, and installment credit. When you get credit and pay it back on time, your credit rating improves over time and allows you the opportunity to borrow more from grantors. You have several credit scores you can check from the three top credit bureaus to see where you stand in the range. Check your credit often to see where you stand, and monitor your score.

The most popular credit scoring system in the United States is based on the FICO (Fair Isaac Corp.) range. This scoring range starts at 300 as the poorest score and goes up to 850 as the highest score possible, or excellent credit. Specifically, bad credit ranges from 300 to 629, fair credit ranges from 630 to 689, good credit ranges from 690 to 719, and finally, excellent credit ranges from 720 and to 850. Other popular credit score range formulas exist, such as the VantageScore, which is what TransUnion, our credit score provider, uses. It too ranges from 300 to 850. Checking your credit score with Credit Sesame is easy and can be done daily to see how your credit is performing.

Checking your credit score is easy with Credit Sesame and can be done in around 90 seconds. You can also refresh your credit check daily with your Credit Sesame account! Once you open your new account, you will get an instant credit check from TransUnion, using VantageScore 3.0, which has their own way to calculate credit scores. Other credit score models include the FICO score, which uses a different methodology to calculate your credit. You can use our reports to determine the types of accounts you have open, your credit utilization, and many other important metrics that you need to know in order to understand where you stand on the credit range. This will help you determine your financial health.

Checking your score with Credit Sesame is considered a soft credit check, so it has no impact on your credit score. When doing a soft credit check, you are only pulling your credit score to view how you are performing, not because you are applying for a loan or line of credit. You can check your score with Credit Sesame as many times as you’d like with any type of Credit Sesame account, and it will not affect your credit standing. If you plan on applying for a loan, then you telling the lender they can check your credit to see if you can be approved. This is considered a hard inquiry and it can impact your credit score.

A Credit Privacy Number (CPN) is a 9 digit number that is free and legal to get depending on how you use it. You will commonly find high-level business or government officials and members using this number because it allows them to protect personal information for security reasons. You still need to have a social security number, as the CPN number is not a replacement for it. A CPN number is used for business purposes and allows a business to build credit, while not affecting in any way your current or past credit history. You will still rely on your credit score for personal use, and it will determine your ability to get loans and other types of credit.

There are only certain factors that can affect your credit score. Some of those factors are your payment history, credit utilization rate, credit age, account types, and the amount of credit inquiries you have on your account. Just as important, the types of inquiries that occur also have an impact on your score. Soft credit checks, like checking your credit score using Credit Sesame, will not impact your credit because you’re only pulling your score to see where your credit stands. A hard credit inquiry, like applying for a loan or a line of credit, will reduce your credit score. Typically, the reduction in your credit score will be minor and rebounds afterwards.

We use Vantagescore 3.0 to calculate your credit score, which has a range of 300 to 850. When it comes to credit, everyone begins with a blank slate. If you do not have any data on your consumer report, you won’t have a credit score because there is nothing for Bureaus to calculate. The credit bureaus will begin collecting your data at the age of 18 if you begin to borrow credit. This means when you are getting your first credit card or loan, you’ll need to go to a bank or lender that will approve those with no credit history, and you may end up paying high interest rates starting off. Once you start paying off your credit balance, the lender will report your payments to the bureau and over time you will build your score. If you apply for the right credit products, and use them responsibly right from the beginning, your credit score can be higher than 300 to begin with.

Yes! You can check your score daily with your Credit Sesame account. It’s best to check your score occasionally so you can monitor any changes since your credit score can increase or decrease over time. There’s no need to worry about the frequency of checking your score as it will not affect your credit.

Checking your score with Credit Sesame is considered a soft credit check, so it has no impact on your credit score. When doing a soft credit check, you are only pulling your credit score to view how you are performing, not because you are applying for a loan or line of credit. You can check your score everyday with Credit Sesame, without impacting your credit.

1 Direct deposit and earlier availability of funds are subject to payer’s support of the feature and timing of payer’s funding.

2 Cash back offers are powered by Empyr, Inc. and Button, Inc. Cash back requires the activation of any active offer before payment is made. Offers vary by geographic location and are subject to change. Please review the full program terms for more details.

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5 Sesame Cash is a prepaid debit card issued by Community Federal Savings Bank (CFSB). Building credit with Sesame Cash requires you to also open a virtual secured credit card with CFSB that is reported to the credit bureaus. Use money from your Sesame Cash account to create a virtual secured credit card. Your debit card purchases are then added up to create a balance on your virtual secured credit card. As you make these purchases, an amount equal to the balance on your virtual secured credit card is also set aside in your Sesame Cash account to ensure you can make timely payments to pay off the balance on your virtual secured credit card at the end of each month, allowing you to build a positive payment history. Credit Sesame does not guarantee credit score improvement. Any predicted credit improvement from the use of your virtual secured credit card assumes that you will maintain healthy credit habits, including paying bills on time, keeping credit balances low, avoiding unnecessary inquiries, appropriate financial planning, and more.