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Improving your credit score: Payment history

Credit & debt, Credit cards

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Your payment history is an important factor in your FICO® score.*

Your past payment history is the biggest factor affecting your FICO® credit scores, according to Fair Issac Corporate, which generates FICO® scores. Making full payments on time, every time, is one way to improve your FICO® credit score. When you miss a payment, you may see a drop in your score and it can take time to restore.

What is a FICO® credit score and what goes into it?

A credit score is a calculation that indicates how likely you are to pay back debts. The FICO® score is the most common type, and is a three digit number (between 300 and 850), where a higher score means more likely to pay back a debt. It is calculated by a math formula that takes into account the following factors:

Learn more

Here are three ways to help ensure your payments are paid in full and on time:

  1. Make the payments you commit to, and don’t commit to things you can’t pay. Missing payments hurts your financial reputation. If you’re struggling to make your payments, develop a plan to resolve it. There are many non-profit financial counselors that may be able to help.
  2. Set up payment reminders. If you owe money to the same business on a repeating schedule, find out if they offer payment reminders. Often, they’ll send you an SMS text message, email, or a telephone reminder. Many banks also offer payment reminders—check your account settings.
  3. Set up automatic payments. If you have a bank account, many banks allow you to set up recurring payments through a tool called bill pay. Some businesses also allow you to connect your bank or credit card to your business account to make automatic payments. Check your online-portal, or call your bank or the business to ask.
    Making payments on time, every time is the most reliable way to build and maintain a good credit score. So spend a little time up front to make making payments as easy as possible in the future.

Struggling with your monthly budget? Do some research to find out if there are cheaper phone plans. Try calling your cable company to get a lowered bill. Your electricity company might be able to connect you to financial aid. Or, check out our database for local help from non-profits and government organizations that can get your finances on track (grocery assistance, employment training, counseling, and more).

*FICO® is solely responsible for its credit score calculation. Information contained on the FICO® website is its own content and is not managed, sponsored or endorsed by Oportun. Oportun does not require a credit score to qualify for its products nor does Oportun rely on this score.


The information in this site, including any third-party content and opinions, is for educational purposes only and should not be relied upon as legal, tax, or financial advice or to indicate the availability or suitability of any Oportun product or service to your unique circumstances. Contact your independent financial advisor for advice on your personal situation.

Credit cards through Oportun subject to credit approval. Terms may vary and are subject to change. The Oportun® Visa® Credit Card is issued by WebBank. The Oportun Credit Card is open to all consumers, except for residents in CO, DC, IA, MD, WI, and WV. See the Oportun Cardholder Agreement or the Oportun Cash Back Cardholder Agreement for details, including applicable fees.

Personal loans through Oportun subject to credit approval. Terms may vary by applicant and state and are subject to change. If you refinance, you may pay interest over a longer period of time or at a higher rate and the overall cost of your loan may be higher. Loans in CA, ID, MO, NM and WI are originated by Oportun, Inc. California loans made pursuant to a California Financing Law license. NV loans originated by Oportun, LLC. In AL, AK, AR, AZ, DE, FL, GA, HI, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MI, MN, MS, MT, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WA and WY loans are originated by Pathward®, N.A.. Terms, conditions, and state restrictions apply.

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