Length of Credit History: Brief Synopsis

  • The length of Credit History weighs in at 15% of the FICO score.
  • You will score better in this section as the age of your credit lines increase.
  • Generally, avoid closing a credit account.


Length of Credit History: Full Explanation

The length of a consumer’s credit history has a significant impact on their FICO score. As seen on the FICO chart, this factor weighs in at 15% of the total score. Unfortunately, this is one area of your credit score where you have very little control. The basis of this factor is very simple in comparison to some of the more dense and complicated algorithms of its counterparts. To put it concisely, this section takes into account the length of time you have had and been eligible for credit lines.

An ideal consumer would have a lengthy credit history. The newer your credit profile, the less positively you are viewed in FICO calculations. The idea here is that, a person who has a strong credit history for a long time (years and years) is a much more creditworthy person than someone who has a spotless record and has got his or her first line of credit a few months ago. The older your credit lines, the better you will score in this section.

While this section is largely set in stone, there is one tip that I can give for having a good length of credit history. Simply put; it is rarely wise to close a credit account. There are exceptions to this rule, just like any other. Extenuating circumstances can often make closing a credit account, the right thing to do. That said, closing an account does shorten the average length of your credit account and thus lower your score.

Checking your standing in this section of the FICO calculations is incredibly easy. All the information you need can be discerned from your credit report, or even in your own records. There are two factors to focus on in your analysis: the oldest item, and the average of all items. The oldest item will give you the length of your credit history. The average, similarly, will give you the average age of all of your accounts, and thus the average age of your overall credit profile.