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How to Build Your Credit

The top 5 things that affect your credit score

Once you open your first credit account, it’s important that you practice good account management habits. Understanding what affects your credit score can help you take control of your credit.

How to Build Good Credit Video

How to build good credit

Building credit is a journey that takes time, so it’s best to start sooner rather than later.

How to build good credit (video)

What affects your credit score

Payment history

The most important thing is that you pay all of your bills on time every time. Any missed or late payments have a negative impact on your credit score. Keep in mind that this may apply to many of your bills, not just loans and credit cards.

How much you owe

Using your entire credit limit may have a negative impact on your credit score. It’s better to keep balances low.

Credit history

How long you’ve been using credit also matters. The longer, the better. So if you are new to credit or rebuilding credit, start building a good credit history now.

Types of credit

Your credit scores improve if you have different types of credit, such as auto loans, credit cards, student loans, and so on.

Debt-to-income ratio (DTI)

Your debt-to-income ratio (DTI) is the percentage of how much you make each month that you have to pay on recurring payments, like a credit card. When you apply for credit, lenders evaluate your DTI to help determine whether you can afford to take on another payment. If your DTI gets too high, it can negatively affect your credit score.  Standards and guidelines vary, most lenders like to see a DTI below 35% but some mortgage lenders allow up to 43─45% DTI, with some FHA-insured loans allowing a 50% DTI.  For more on Wells Fargo’s debt-to-income standards, learn what your debt ratio means.


Building good credit depends on your ability to pay back what you borrow. Start small with what you can comfortably pay each month along with your other obligations.