Credit Score Simulator: What It Is And How to Use It

ByG. Dautovic
December 29, 2021

Keeping an eye on credit scores is an important part of monitoring your financial health, and using a credit score simulator is an easy way to gain valuable insights into your future eligibility for credit cards and loans.  

A credit score simulator is an educational online tool capable of estimating your current and future credit scores based on a series of actions and events. Many credit score simulators function similarly to online surveys, where they ask you for information and give you a credit score based on your answers. 

Read on to find out how you can use a credit score simulator to improve your credit score and learn more about the key factors that affect your score. 

How Are Credit Scores Calculated?

Credit scoring models use a number of algorithms to calculate your credit score. They typically look at your payment history, the number/types of credit accounts, and the length of your credit history. Declaring bankruptcy, missing payments, and a range of other factors can have a negative impact on your score.  

The product is a three-digit number, usually on a scale from 300 to 850, which serves as an indicator of how likely you are to pay back borrowed money. Naturally, the scores impact your ability to secure everything from a credit card to any future loan.  

The models used to calculate credit scores are highly sophisticated data analysis methods that rely on credit reports from one or all three major credit bureaus: Experian, TransUnion, or Equifax.

These reports don’t always have the same information, and the bureaus use different scoring models such as VantageScore 3.0 or the FICO score. The scoring models generally consider the same factors, but the weight given to each factor differs. As such, credit scores from different sources aren’t the same.

The Content of Your Credit Report

Your credit report is impacted by a long list of financial actions. For example, opening checking accounts and settling bills for your credit cards are all added to your report and affect your score.  

Multiple Scores Considered

We’ve already touched on the fact that there are many different scoring models. But there are also different versions of the same credit scoring model, which can produce different scores. Many lenders, and even simulators that offer a credit score estimate, can use multiple versions of your credit score when conducting their assessments.

Creating a Good Credit Score

It’s important to remember that despite the different scoring models, the results are still based on the same fundamental credit factors. Below are the key factors used by models such as VantageScore and FICO.

Responsible Borrowing

Applying for a new loan can impact your credit scores. A new credit account can make up approximately 10% of your FICO score. Making prompt payments after assuming any new debt can help your score rebound within a few months.

Moderate Debt Balances

It goes without saying that debt has a substantial impact on your credit score, which is why you need to keep a close eye on your payments. To make assessments about the future, you can turn to a credit score simulator.

Paying off debt and understanding your credit utilization ratio are critical factors in this equation because the amount you owe to creditors accounts for approximately 30% of your FICO score.

If the figure exceeds 30%, either on one individual card or the sum of the balance divided by the sum of the borrowing limit, this could have a detrimental effect on your credit score. 

A Longer Credit History

Many people avoid getting credit cards, thinking that this protects their credit score. But you have to use credit to build it. People with longer credit histories will have a higher credit score, and the age of your credit accounts makes up approximately 15% of your FICO score. 

Having a Good Credit Mix

Blending different forms of credit, including cards or loans, shows prospective lenders you are responsible for your borrowing. This accounts for approximately 10% of your FICO score. 

Paying Bills on Time

This is the most important thing you can do for your credit score. Your payment history makes up approximately 35% of your FICO score. Having payments that are 30 days overdue on one loan or card can have a detrimental effect on your credit score.

What Can a Credit Score Simulator Do? 

Generally, credit score simulators can help you recognize how different decisions will influence your credit score. Some simulators make approximations using your actual credit score. However, simulators that help you compare scenarios will only consider one action at a time.

And since your credit score is influenced by many actions and factors, a credit score simulator cannot predict your future scores with absolute certainty. 

When Should You Use a Credit Score Simulator?

The best time to use a credit score simulator is when you’re assessing the consequences of different actions. For example, if you want to get a mortgage, you can use a credit score simulator to see how that would impact your credit score. 

Additionally, it can give you insight into how to raise your credit score before applying for something like a mortgage. Understanding what your current credit score is can help you understand the factors that impact your ability to get a loan or a mortgage, especially if you've been turned down in the past.

Conclusion

Consulting a credit score simulator to help you make estimates about your score can be very useful. If simulators have access to free credit scores, they’ll use your actual score when making estimates. These simulators are usually available on sites like AnnualCreditReport.com, where you can also get access to free credit reports from the three major credit bureaus.

FAQ

How accurate is the credit score simulator?

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Credit score simulators can be very accurate. But no simulator can predict your future score with absolute certainty. It offers valuable insight into your credit score and how various debt-related factors will affect it.

Is a 700 FICO 8 score good?

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Most consumers have a credit score that falls between 600 and 750. As the FICO score system ranges between 300 and 850, a score of 700 or above is considered good.

How do I get my true FICO score for free?

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You can get a free FICO score from many financial service companies such as banks and credit unions. You can also get it for free from the three major credit bureaus. Once you have access to your score, you can use a credit score simulator to help you make estimates about your future score based on your planned actions.

About author

I have always thought of myself as a writer, but I began my career as a data operator with a large fintech firm. This position proved invaluable for learning how banks and other financial institutions operate. Daily correspondence with banking experts gave me insight into the systems and policies that power the economy. When I got the chance to translate my experience into words, I gladly joined the smart, enthusiastic Fortunly team.

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