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Understanding Credit History: Your Essential Guide

Credit history will play a crucial role in assessing a borrower’s creditworthiness. When you apply for a loan credit institutions use your credit history to determine the likelihood you will repay the loan. Without credit, history lenders are unable to make informed decisions to your approval which sometimes results in loan denials.

This would be a major setback for someone who needs the funds to cover emergencies. Building a credit history from scratch is possible and could be accomplished with some effort.

By taking the necessary steps you can build your credit history in no time.

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What is credit history?

Credit history is a record of personal credit activities such as borrowing, repaying, and financial behavior. Credit agencies will keep track of details such as the type of credit account the person has, balances owed, payment history, and the length of credit history.

Credit histories will be used by a financial institution to evaluate borrowers’ creditworthiness when they apply for a financial product. Having positive time payments will help borrowers qualify for better loans that will have more favorable loan terms.

On the other hand, having negative credit history with late payments can make it harder to obtain credit and can result in higher rates and fees. In summary, credit history is a crucial part of your credit account that can play a role in obtaining favorable credit terms, it’s important to maintain a positive credit history which will play a role in getting the best terms for your loan needs.

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Difference between credit score and credit history.

Many borrowers confuse credit score and credit history, they are both retaliated but have completely different concepts. Both of them are important factors that help lenders make decisions about borrowers’ creditworthiness.

Credit history will be referred to a record of persons credit related activities such as borrowing, repayment, and payment behavior. While credit score will be the three-digit number that summarizes personal credit activities based on past credit accounts.

It is extremely important to keep a good credit history and increase your credit score to get the best terms from the lender and increase your chances of approvals. Here is a table summarizing the similarities and differences between credit history and credit score:


Credit History

Credit Score


A record of a person’s credit-related activities, such as borrowing, repayment, and payment behavior.

A numerical representation of a person’s credit risk based on their credit history.

Information Included

Types of credit accounts, balances owed, payment history, and length of credit history.

Payment history, credit utilization, length of credit history, types of credit accounts, and recent credit inquiries.

Maintained By

Credit reporting agencies, create credit reports that can be accessed by lenders and other financial institutions.

Credit reporting agencies calculated credit scores, and provide them to lenders and other financial institutions.


Used by lenders and financial institutions to evaluate a person’s creditworthiness when they apply for credit.

Used by lenders and financial institutions to assess a person’s credit risk and determine what credit terms and interest rates they should be offered.


No set scale, but lenders may use credit history to assign credit scores or grade a person’s creditworthiness.

Ranges from 300 to 850, with higher scores indicating lower credit risk and lower scores indicating higher credit risk.


A positive credit history can help a person qualify for better credit terms, while a negative credit history can make it harder to obtain credit or result in higher interest rates and fees.

A good credit score can help a person qualify for better credit terms, while a poor credit score can make it harder to obtain credit or result in higher interest rates and fees.

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Why is credit history important?

Having a good credit history is important because it provides lenders and financial institutions with information about the borrower’s habits and their ability to repay loans. A credit history report usually includes the borrower’s credit score, payment history, balances, length of their credit accounts, and types of credit they have.

A good credit history will show the borrower’s history of paying their debts on time, managing their credit responsibly, and keeping their debts under control. If borrowers have a healthy credit history, they are considered less risky by lenders and more favorable.

On the other hand, having a poor credit history indicates that the borrower has missed payments, defaulted on loans, or has high outstanding balances. This usually indicates that the borrower is at high risk and is less likely to be approved by the lender or may receive higher interest rates.

Credit history is important because it affects the borrower’s ability to get approved for a loan.

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How to build credit history.

Building a credit history as a beginner can be a little changing but it is an important part of your financial account. There is no one right way to start building a credit history, here are some steps you can take to establish your credit history:

  • Opening a checking or saving account: While having a checking account might not give you any credit history it can show lenders that you are responsible with money. This can help establish trust with the lender and then you can proceed to apply for a credit account. 
  • Secured Credit Card: Secured credit cards will be backed by a security deposit which takes away from lenders risk. This type of card can help you build your credit history as it’s reported to credit bureaus. 
  • Authorized user: Having a family member or a friend with good credit history add you as an authorized user on your credit card will help you establish a credit history without applying on your own. 
  • Credit Builder Loan: Credit builder loans will be designed specifically to help borrowers establish a credit history. The lender will put your funds into a savings account and after you are done making payments they will release the funds to you. 
  • Make Payment on time: Making timely payments will not only help you build a good credit history but will also help you maintain it. 
  • Finance an item: Many store offer financing options that are usually simpler to get approved for because of the low amounts. Financing your next phone purchase can help you build your credit history.

There are many possible ways you can build your credit history. Having a lengthy credit history will be super beneficial, but it does take time and effort.

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Credit history Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is credit history?

Credit history is a record of an individual's borrowing and repayment activities. It includes details of all credit accounts, such as loans, credit cards, and mortgages, along with payment history, balances, and credit limits.

How is credit history used?

Credit history is used by lenders to determine an individual's creditworthiness when they apply for credit.

How can I check my credit history?

You can check your credit history by requesting a credit report from one of the three major credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax, or TransUnion.

How long does credit history last?

Credit history typically stays on your credit report for seven years. However, some types of negative information, such as bankruptcies or tax liens, can stay on your report for longer. Positive information, such as on-time payments, can also remain on your report for longer and continue to benefit your credit score.

What if I find errors on my credit report?

If you find errors on your credit report, such as incorrect balances or accounts that don't belong to you, you can dispute them with the credit bureau that provided the report. They will investigate the error and correct it if necessary. It's important to regularly check your credit report to ensure that it is accurate and up-to-date.

Disclaimer: We make every effort to ensure the accuracy and currency of our information. However, the information presented may differ from what you find when you visit a financial institution, service provider, or product site. We do not provide warranties for any financial products, shopping products, or services. When reviewing offers, please carefully read the terms and conditions of the financial institution. Pre-qualified offers are not binding. If you notice any discrepancies in your credit score or report, please contact TransUnion® directly. Our partners compensate us for featuring their products on our site, and this may affect the products we write about and their placement on the page. However, this does not influence our evaluations, and our opinions remain independent.

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