Credit Basics

What’s in your credit score?

There is no one way to calculate a credit score and your score may differ between credit bureaus because of timing differences of when credit events are reported and variances in the calculation used. And, credit scores can change over time.

The credit score provided by Black Book is an estimate based on the answers you provide and does not use actual data from a credit report. We use a score range which should closely match the credit score provided by a national credit bureau.

The general factors that affect your credit score are:

Your credit score is not affected by non credit-related information such as:

  • Race, color, religion, national origin, sex and marital status
  • Public assistance information
  • Income or employment history
  • Place of residence
  • How much savings you have
  • Interest rate(s) charged on your credit card or other accounts
  • Child or family support
  • Rent payments
  • Inquiries regarding your credit report that are made for promotional, administrative or informational purposes (applications for a new loan or credit, however, are considered.)

Your credit score is not the only consideration in making a loan decision, but it does provide to a credit provider a strong indication of your likelihood to repay a debt. Lenders will have other loan decision guidelines which may include your employment history and your ability to make the payments, among other things. If you don’t qualify with one lender, you may very well meet the criteria for another lender’s program.

Why Your Credit Report Is Important

If you will be applying for credit or a loan anytime soon, it’s important to make sure your credit report is accurate and up-to-date.

A credit report is record of your past borrowing and repayment history. The file is maintained by a credit reporting agency and includes information on the credit you have been granted and how you handle your credit responsibilities. Credit reporting agencies will use this information to produce the credit score they provide to lenders. Your credit score will determine whether they will offer the loan or credit and on what terms.

By federal law, you are entitled to request one free credit report every 12 months from each of the three credit reporting companies. is the official site that provides this free service or you can call 877-322-8228. If you need to dispute or correct any information, you should contact the bureau that provided the report.