Brenner Spiller & Archer

What is a Credit Score?

Your credit score can help you get larger loans, do business with more lenders, and allow you to purchase more expensive items. It can also be affected when you file for bankruptcy. Here’s a basic outline of what a credit score is and how it works.

The basics

A credit score is a number used to define how well you handle paying your bills. Banks and lenders use this number to decide whether or not to give you a loan, for how much, and at what interest rate.

Most citizens of countries with credit scores have one, though the details differ by country. For the US, the main credit-scoring model is the FICO score, which is a set of three separate three-digit numbers.

Each number comes from a credit bureau (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion), and ranges from 300 to 850, where the higher the score, the better the credit.

How a credit score is calculated

Your credit score is determined by five main categories:

  • Payment history: payment info including delinquencies
  • Amounts owed: how much you’re due to pay
  • Credit history length: including time since account activity
  • Types of credit used: revolving and installment, for example
  • New credit: credit inquiries and recently opened accounts

How to check your score

In the US, citizens are able to get one free credit report per year but must pay to see their credit scores. Scores can be purchased at or a reporting agency.

How bankruptcy affects your credit score

If you have trouble paying bills and paying them on time, your credit score may be very low at the time you consider filing for bankruptcy. Depending on each situation, bankruptcy can help and hurt your credit score in several ways, including an increase or decrease in score soon after filing.

Call us for more answers on how your credit score works and how we can help in times of financial burden.