Great FICO Credit Scores Are Only Part of a Credit Card Application

Simon Zhen

By , Staff Writer
Posted on Thu Apr 7, 2011, Last Updated on Tue Apr 26, 2011

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As consumers become more curious about their credit profiles, it is common that FICO credit scores will be placed on a pedestal although there are many other factors when it comes to getting a credit card.

Many people guard their credit scores with overwhelming attention to the point where it may seem neurotic and excessive. The drive to build an impressive credit profile leads to constant scrutiny of how a certain move will impact an otherwise stellar credit history.

People tend to forget FICO credit scores, an industry-standard metric for consumer credit profiles, only offer a look into a person’s behavior with credit, which covers only a portion of that person’s financial situation.

Great FICO Credit Scores Are Only Part of a Credit Card Application

According to FICO, the following information is used to calculate credit scores:

  • Payment history
  • Amounts owed and credit limits
  • Length of credit history
  • Types of credit
  • New credit inquiries

In addition to FICO scores, other factors are considered before a credit card application is approved. These factors also play a role in determining the credit limit offered on the card — quite possibly the difference between a $500 credit limit and a $5,000 credit limit.

Here are other factors that play a role in a lenders decision to extend a line of credit:

1. Income

Individual income and household income levels indicate ability to repay and how much debt you can handle. Household income is relevant because lenders want to know that someone will be able to contribute to debt repayment in a time when you fall into financial distress.

Someone may have a FICO score of 800 (excellent) but have no income whatsoever. This person poses a high credit risk because there is no income to pay off debt even though he or she may be very responsible with credit.

2. Employment information

You will be asked to provide information about your employer and time at the job. Lenders don’t usually call your employer but they may do so just to verify your employment status. The length of your employment offers a sense of stability of your job and, respectively, your stream of income.

3. Housing status

For the majority of consumers, rent or mortgage payments make up a significant percentage of monthly expenses. Lenders will ask how much you are paying in rent or mortgage loan payments to see if you can handle the additional debt burden.

4. Other financial accounts

Whether or not you have another bank account is a common question asked on an application. It’ll ask whether that is a checking account or a savings account. In any case, card issuers like to see that you have a bank account for swift payment.

 

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