What Is Creditworthiness?
In the financial world, creditworthiness measures how likely you are to repay money you borrow. Your creditworthiness is based on your credit report, which lists all your previous and existing debts, credit score, and payment history.
Your creditworthiness significantly affects your ability to make financial decisions and how prospective lenders view you as an applicant. It could determine whether you qualify for a loan, your interest rates, and more.
Why does creditworthiness matter?
Whether you know it or not, your creditworthiness affects nearly every aspect of your life, both financial and non-financial. Here are just a few examples:
- If you have a bad credit history, you may not get approved for certain loans.
- Any loans you do qualify for will likely have higher interest rates.
- Loans affected by your creditworthiness include Personal Loans, Lines of Credit, mortgages, student loans, and other unsecured loans.
- You may not qualify for a traditional credit card if you have poor credit.
In addition to your finances, creditworthiness can impact other aspects of your life. For instance, employers might check your credit before hiring you to see if you're responsible. Landlords and insurance companies may pull your credit report to see how likely you are to pay your rent and premiums.
If you haven’t established credit or have poor credit, you may even have trouble getting your gas, water, and electrical utilities hooked up without paying a deposit.
How does creditworthiness affect your loan options?
Bad credit may result in less favorable loan terms, but establishing creditworthiness and a strong credit score can lead to more loan options and better interest rates.
Applicants with good credit are less of a borrowing risk to lenders because they have a proven track record of repaying their debts. Therefore, if you want lower interest rates, you need to focus on your creditworthiness.
What factors influence creditworthiness?
The three major credit bureaus — Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion — use different criteria to determine your credit score and creditworthiness.
Your payment history has the most significant impact on your creditworthiness. Payment history refers to whether you make monthly payments on time regarding loans and debts. Failing to make on-time monthly payments on mortgages, student loans, credit cards, and other loans and debts will negatively impact your creditworthiness.
Credit utilization ratio
Your credit utilization ratio is the second aspect of your creditworthiness. The credit utilization ratio applies to Lines of Credit, credit cards, and other types of loans with revolving credit. It refers to how much credit you have available versus how much you're actually using.
If you have a history of using most of your available credit, lenders may see you as less likely to repay your debts. Ideally, they would like to see credit utilization rates of 30% or less.
Length of credit history
While having a good credit score is important, lenders will also look at how long you've had one. Regardless of how good your score is, if you haven't been taking out debts for very long, lenders will see it as a red flag. They want to see that you have a long and proven record of repaying your debts.
Types of credit
In addition to reliability and longevity, lenders also like to see diversity in your credit history. For example, if you have a good credit score but the only type of credit you’ve used is credit cards, lenders may be hesitant to give you any type of loan that isn't a credit card.
Instead, lenders like to see that you can make on-time payments for mortgages, student loans, personal loans, and other types of debt.
New credit inquiries
Credit inquiries are when potential lenders, landlords, and other entities pull your credit report to examine it. Credit inquiries are performed anytime you apply for a new loan or credit card because the lender wants to assess your creditworthiness.
Unfortunately, credit inquiries can drop your credit score by as much as 10 points. Multiple new credit inquiries can indicate that you're applying for multiple loans or credit cards in a short amount of time, which can cause your credit score to take a hit.
How to build and maintain creditworthiness
Because creditworthiness is important, you should do everything you can to maintain it. Here are a few helpful tips to get you started:
- Check your credit report and credit score often.
- If you notice any irregularities, contact the lender and address them. If the lender made a mistake that negatively impacted your credit score, ask them to fix it.
- Enroll in autopay, when possible, if you struggle to make on-time payments.
- Consider applying for a secured credit card to improve your credit score.
- Don't apply for loans unless you know you can repay them in full.
- Keep your credit utilization ratio at or below 30%.
- Avoid credit inquiries whenever possible by not applying for loans and credit cards more often than you need to.
- Maintain a low debt-to-income ratio.
- Always make payments in full and on time.
Looking for a loan with bad credit? Advance America can help!
As you can see, creditworthiness is extremely important to your financial well-being and decision-making. While there's a lot to consider regarding your credit history, as long as you don't take on more debt than necessary, pay your debts as agreed, and show financial responsibility, your creditworthiness will speak for itself.
And if you need a loan while working to establish or improve your creditworthiness, we’re always here to help. Apply for a personal loan with Advance America today!