Credit Score Improvements: What You Should Know

January 1, 2014

credit scoreAs technology advances, and as credit score algorithms become more sophisticated, efforts are being made to measure more consumer behaviors, and to include the more subtle shadings of consumer credit use.

Changes being made to scoring models, as well as inclusions of non-credit data in your credit report, might help financial service providers get a more accurate picture of what sort of credit risk you really are.

Experian to Start Tracking Rent Payments

One of the major credit bureaus, Experian, has announced that it will start tracking rent payments. Those who make regular rent payments are not being recognized for their financially responsible behaviors.

Even though landlords can report them to credit bureaus when they are late paying, or skip a payment, there has not been a system in place to report on-time payments. This is changing with Experian’s RentBureau. Positive rent data could be a help to a consumer who is responsible, but who doesn’t have mortgage payment to help boost their credit profile.

FICO Expansion Score

In addition to being the foremost in credit scoring, FICO is also trying to widen its range offerings when it comes to consumer credit behavior. The company now offers the Expansion Score. The FICO Expansion Score factors in such items as rent payments, utility payments and other regular bills. This product also manages your checking account, so a bounced check can reflect on your consumer credit profile.

PRBC Reporting Agency

If you are interested in a credit reporting agency that focuses on non-traditional indicators of fiscal responsibility, you can consider the PRBC reporting agency. This agency collects information on bill payments, rent payments and more, and uses it to put together consumer credit reports.

PRBC makes use of the FICO Expansion score as well. However, you will have to request that the companies you work with report your good payment habits to PRBC; it doesn’t just happen.


On top of consumer credit profiles including information that isn’t normally considered to be “credit related,” it is worth noting that FICO has been tweaking its formula. FICO 8 is gaining popularity (even though it was released nearly two years ago), and it contains some new items that can help you improve your credit score.

Instead of penalizing you heavily for one-time missed payments, the new FICO score takes into account the fact that isolated late payments happen. If you have a generally good payment history, one missed payment won’t damage your credit score as much (although there will still be some damage done).

Additionally, FICO 8 will no longer take into account small collections. If the original balance was $100 on a bill that goes to collections, the new credit scoring model will disregard it. This should help consumers who might have forgotten about a small bill, or if a payment falls through a crack. FICO 8 is more forgiving in some ways.

Of course, some of the tweaks to FICO 8 will hurt consumer credit scores. The main downside to FICO 8 is that high amounts of debt can be more damaging. If you are close to maxing out your credit cards, it will have more of a negative impact on your credit score.

In the end, the quest is to reduce your financial habits down to an accurate number. In order to do that, credit agencies and credit scoring model developers seek to include more information.

Were you aware that the credit reporting agencies make these types of changes with time? Leave a comment!

This article was originally published March 2nd, 2011.


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Miranda writes about personal finance almost every day. An experienced freelance writer, she's covered your money online and in print from every angle and is always looking for new ones.

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5 Responses to Credit Score Improvements: What You Should Know

  • The Fire Finder

    I think it is wrong to change the credit score system now, particularly the part dealing with high levels of debt. It’s like their saying, “Let’s kick you when your down.” I think that they could of left it the same for debt seeing how most Americans are struggling right now and the last thing they need is a worse credit score than they already have.


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